9 Tips to Creating Great Parties on a Tight Budget

The end-of-year party season is fast approaching and it’s time to lock in the details. However, when you’re thrown the task of planning an amazing event on a less than amazing budget, what are you to do? To save the day, we’re here to share with you our top tips on being savvy with your budget and still producing epic parties that are worth attending. It’s all about thinking outside-the-box, using your contacts, being flexible and creative…

1. Find a unique space

Think outside the box to find a unique venue, a car park, the office rooftop, the loading dock or the park across the road.
Your chosen caterer can then help turn the space into an amazing party venue. Caterers know how to operate with limited power and water in the most remote locations.
The uniqueness of such a space with the addition of intelligent lighting supported by cleverly chosen (cost effective) “wow” props naturally provokes conversation. 

2. Interactive menus

Offering a themed food station, manned by a chef can help reduce costs and be the talking point for your event. 
There are many benefits including:
  • A limited menu involves less preparation than an intricate canape or plated menu, reducing the cost of labour and equipment. 
  • A themed food station can take the focus off the overall space reducing the need (and cost) to fully decorate the area.
  • Food stations offer theatre where the guest can view the preparation of their meal and interact with the chef.
  • The style of service creates a casual atmosphere and encourages guests to relax, step out of the work mind set and interact. 

Interactive Food Stations | Bayleaf Sydney

3. Personalise your package

Limit your beverage package by offering a signature cocktail rather than a full bar. This will personalise your event and save on glassware and other equipment.

4. Be creative with menu design

A skilled caterer will work within your budget to create a menu that will impress your guests without leaving a hole in the budget. A menu can be tailored to include a more economical cut of meat and seasonal produce, that when prepared the right way, will have your guests salivating. For example, a slow cooked beef rib can be a cost-effective alternative to eye fillet.

5. Source suppliers who are solutions finders

A good supplier will work with you to offer alternatives to suit your style of event and budget. For example, suggesting you use padded chairs with a cover as a cheaper alternative to a Tiffany chair.

6. Learn to negotiate… there’s no harm in asking (nicely)

Everything is negotiable, you just need to learn how to ask and for what. Caterers, venues and suppliers still need to make a profit, but there are definitely ways they can value-add to your event. Caterer’s profits are derived from food and beverage income - staffing and hire equipment is what it costs to deliver your event in a safe and professional manner.  Respect their costs and ask for advice on cost effective alternatives. 

7. Build partnerships

If you have a tight budget on one event and have other projects in the pipeline, create a synergy over multiple events which will be more attractive to your supplier. 

8. Project planning

Allocate the party planning to an existing member of staff or seek the assistance from your caterer.
Caterers have the experience and know how to assist in the planning of your event, not just the menu, or they can refer you to an appropriate supplier. 

9. Date Flexibility

Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays tend to be the popular days for Christmas parties. If you are flexible and opt for an earlier day of the week there is a greater chance to negotiate on price.


Header credit: Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash


Guest post by Chris Stubbs | Director, Bayleaf Sydney

Chris is founder and owner of a very successful portfolio of companies comprising of Bayleaf Sydney, Bad Betty Burgers and soon to launch, Food Geek Sydney. With over 20 years’ experience catering for celebrities, rock stars, the Summer Olympics Games, and some of the largest public events in the world, Chris now finds himself spearheading the private and corporate markets with a veracity not usually seen in this industry.