I have a confession: I’m addicted to Pinterest.
I’ve actually put a personal ban on using the site because what starts as a five minute check-in turns into a five hour vortex of lost productivity. So when I was recently planning a baby shower and trying to stick to a strict budget, it was tough not to immediately fire up my Web browser and head for the land of lost time. I’m not alone, either. Several of my friends – when I asked them for tips – just referred me back to the forbidden site. So I had to get creative.
The good news? Time was on my side. I had more than a month to plan and prepare. I did a lot of (occasionally productive) Googling and found tons of extravagant ideas, but many of the resources I thought would be useful ended up being fluffy and useless. I eventually decided to do it on my own.
I happen to have a pantry full of fine china that I rarely if ever use, so I decided to skip paper products altogether. I dusted off the dessert plates, serving ware, tea cups and crystal and decided to keep it a classy, afternoon affair. Best of all, I found these super cute miniature porcelain tea cups and these adorable stainless-steel tea infusers to give away as baby shower favors.
By hosting a Sunday afternoon tea party I knew I would save money and be kinder to the mom-to-be and here’s why:
- No need to serve an entire meal. Big savings here.
- The party would take place between lunch and dinner, so fewer supplies were needed.
- Since the lady of honor wouldn’t be drinking alcohol, the party would be dry. Again, big savings here.
- For decorations, I posted baby pictures of the mom- and dad-to-be around the house so everyone could get a good laugh.
- I only needed to provide enough food to keep people busy between the baby shower games. By keeping the focal point of the party the social interaction, I could keep the menu limited.
- I followed up on RSVPs so I had an accurate headcount and didn’t prepare too much food.
So, did I stick to my budget? You bet! I didn’t have to buy any paper products, and the novelty ones get expensive quite quickly. For drinks I served an assortment of hot teas, infused water and a sparkling fruit punch (in a pitcher, not a bowl). I figured that by offering a variety of teas I could cover anyone who didn’t like the cold beverages and there wouldn’t be any waste since I’d use the tea eventually, anyway.
For food, I skipped the kitschy, baby-themed foods, in favor of playing silly themed games. It was easy: I just selected the games I liked, downloaded, and printed them. I made my own vegetable platter and served it with Ranch dip and hummus. I made my own hummus, (I do this all the time) but store bought is quite reasonable and tastes great, too. A block of sharp cheddar cheese, jack cheese and two types of crackers made for a nice display of easy-to-eat foods. Lastly, I did a platter of sweets. I can bake simple items, so I made bite-sized peanut butter cookies and chocolate chip cookies. In the center of the dessert platter was my piece-de-resistance: chocolate peanut-butter no bake cookies from FoodNetwork.com.
In the end, we had a great party without too many leftovers and while I had some dishes to do, it was worth it to celebrate a great friend and stick to my budget!