As much as I love to photograph special events, I especially love to host a good party! My dear friend is getting married this Summer so having her a bridal shower she will always remember was important to me. We've been close friends since our awkward middle school days so with almost two decades of friendship, this shower had to be special. But, I also had a budget - I told myself I couldn't spend more than $300.
But, that doesn't mean it couldn't be absolutely beautiful!
Always take the time of year into consideration. In SC we are experiencing a beautiful Spring season so an outdoor event would be perfect. But, there is always the chance for extremely warm weather or a quick Spring shower so I needed some sort of coverage. I looked into renting a tent but I quickly learned that spending $175 + $90 installation on a white tent from a party supplier was out of the question. I took to the internet and Amazon to the rescue - I found a pretty white party tent that was 10x30 feet for only $85!! And since I used my own backyard, the venue was free!
Now for decor...I had a lot of ideas in mind and I knew I wanted a soft, vintage feel to the shower. I wanted custom signs that highlighted their new life together and gave the shower a special feel. But, instead of ordering things - I took old wood and markers and went to work. I also have some old windows - those turned into the bar and food menus. Total cost for custom signs - $0!
Ask your close friends and family for things that you need. There was no need to buy or rent tables, chairs, or table cloths - I had several of those items and what I was missing, I borrowed. The mismatched seating and mix of lace and soft colored table cloths gave the feel I was going for. Total cost for tables, chairs, and table cloths - $0!
Fresh flowers make wonderful centerpieces and to be honest, these all came from Sam's Club...I purchased bouquets of flowers and split them up. Instead of using typical vases, I found items I had around the house - flour sifters, jars, tin measuring cups, etc and used those to hold the flowers (tip: use a plastic bag inside the containers that can't hold water so the flowers stay fresh). All the vases were free so total cost of fresh flowers - $14!
The items I did purchase I found at yard sales, thrift stores, on on the clearance aisles. I was able to pick up three glass containers for the bar, pretty framed floral prints and burlap banners for super cheap. I spent a total of $15 on purchased decor and seed packs for party favors. It doesn't take a lot of items to make a statement and always try to use what you already have first.
Last was food, drinks, and cutlery. I made sure to stick with foods that are in season so they are cheaper and I purchased in bulk (Sam's Club). I picked a party time that would allow for smaller portions and wouldn't need a full sit-down style meal. Ham + biscuits, pasta salad, fresh fruit, cheese & crackers, different dips, and a few other finger foods made up the menu. I also opted for a mimosa bar and lemonade for those who didn't want that. My total bill for all food, drinks, and cutlery - $185.
I also took the help that was offered. Two other close friends wanted to bring something and offered to get the cake and bring some food items, so I gladly accepted their offers. Other friends helped set up and decorate and that was also so appreciated. So when help is offered, take it, it's free :) The total cost of this shower - $300!