While putting together a holiday gathering, whether it’s a social event for family and friends or a corporate affair, is a no-brainer for a multitude of reasons, that doesn’t mean an unlimited budget and ample resources will magically appear once you decide to do so.
We’ve been in event planning in NY and NJ for over 17 years and we know a thing or two about how to put together an unforgettable holiday event without breaking the bank, so we compiled some tips to help you do just that.
Choose your food wisely.
Now, obviously, that doesn’t mean you should go the cheapest route possible and serve flat-out unappetizing dishes at your holiday event, but just that you can forgo the more costly options, like a prime rib carving station, for example.
You’d be surprised how much you can save by going with less expensive meats or cuts of meat, and you can also try to design a more unique dining experience while keeping costs low, whether you take the farm-to-table approach, use a certain ethnic theme, etc.
Portion control is crucial to saving money too, and while a buffet may seem like a smart alternative to serving a seated meal, know that you’ll lose control of how much food each person takes when going that route.
One alternative that is very effective, though, is to serve plenty of heavy appetizers. That way, you can eliminate the need for chefs and attendants, keep control of portions, and still fill people up, and you can take the same approach to desserts as well and serve mini, bite-sized portions.
Keep it short.
Another very important factor to consider when planning any type of holiday gathering on a tight budget, no matter if it’s a social or corporate event, is the duration.
Like mentioned above, seated meals are more costly because of the required attendants and chef(s), but those aren’t the only reasons. They can also go on forever. There’s typically a cocktail hour first, then the main course, then dessert.
So, you may want to think about putting together a cocktail party instead. You can serve food in stations or take the heavy appetizer approach and set up areas for people to mingle. Not only will you cut costs, it’ll also create a lively, jovial atmosphere.
Be resourcefully festive.
Then there’s the decor to think about, which is obviously an especially important element of a holiday event, and while any gathering during this season would benefit from wreathes, garlands, and fancy ornaments everywhere, these things get pricey.
So, try taking the DIY approach instead. The internet is full of ideas and tutorials on creating your own holiday decorations. Also, take it from us as longtime event planners in NJ and NY, you can cut costs significantly simply by sprinkling in certain decorative elements in the right places.
Think carefully about the venue or space you’ll be having your event at and where you can put your decorations so that they’ll add the right amount of cheer in the right area of the space. The good news is, you don’t want to appear excessive or wasteful during this time of year anyway.
All the budgetary basic apply.
From there, all the cost-saving basics apply and for more general budgetary tips for when planning an event during any season, check out this post, 3 Tips for Planning an Event on a Tight Budget.
We hope these tips help you put together a holiday event that’s festive and fun for all who attend yet doesn’t break your bank, because let’s face it, while it’s the season of giving, we all only have so much to give.
About Us: Absolute Events by Corrine is a full-service meeting & event planning company in NJ / NY. Whether it’s a corporate conference, a dinner party, or a wedding, Absolute Events by Corrine does it all so that our clients can be guests at their own events.