LARGE GROUP PARTY (on a budget)

Back in March we were blessed to participate in a five-day cruise with friends to Mexico. What a time of building deeper relationships with these four families! When we got back I decided to host a “cruise reunion” party, which included about 26 people. I divided the party up by adults and children (kids on picnic table). For the adults I put 2 tables together using my standard WHITE tablecloths.

And then, my favorite part of setting up – the table!

Glass dishes (box of 24 at a garage sale for $15)
Water goblets (25 cents each, garage sale)
Flowers (from my garden)
Accessories (butter dishes, salt & pepper, napkins – garage sale)
Chairs (mix ‘n match)
Water pitcher (clear large wine bottles, cleaned with chilled water)

The finishing touch on the table was a small candle holder (10 cent shelf at Albertson’s) with a tea light candle at each place, a tiny ribbon tied around the top, and then with a Sharpie marker I put each adult guests name (as in a place card). That little secret came from one of my best friends in life, Hoppi, a special woman with flare of her very own.

I like to use place cards with sit-down dinners (large groups) and arrange the guests in a way that will stimulate conversation. The reason Paul and I like to entertain is to show hospitality toward our family & friends! The conversation around the table is often the richest part of the evening. (But stay tuned for what was to follow on this special night!)

So, you say, how do you host such a large group on a budget? As far as decorating, I use the same linen, dishes & accessories over and over. I just change the theme, candles, and flowers accordingly to the time of year!

Main Dish? I prepared 2 kinds of salmon. My husband Paul BBQ’d one kind and I cooked the other kind in the kitchen, and we coordinated it so they would both be finished at the same time. The rest of the food? I had the guests bring! They each brought drinks and another dish, which I planned out. The meal was delicious and we ended it with a Costco chocolate cake (which another guest brought). Sharing the load with guests is an easy way to plan a big event. You do not have to prepare the whole meal by yourself! I used to think I had to do it all, as in to impress others. No longer do I believe in that. People want to bring food! Having this mind-set has really helped me want to host larger events!

In my next entry, I’ll be sharing with you how this awesome group of KIDS ENTERTAINED US!


Barb said...

Luv all the pictures! You sound like a brilliant garage saler too. How long have you been doin' it? Do you have great luck every time you go out, or do you keep a running list of items to look for whenever you go, until you achieve the list?

Sandy said...

I've been garage saling since my oldest son was a baby, so 14 years! I do not have good luck every time. You have to be "patient" to be a garage saler. Sometimes you really luck out! I often have in my mind what I need. For example, this summer my boys each needed a new dresser. I looked for quite a few weeks before I found what I was looking for. They are nice dressers (almost brand new!) - prices were $40 for one and $60 for the other.

Elizabeth said...

I'm having a great time peeking into your entertaining life, Sandy! Thanks for the fun and the encouragement to play hostess more often!