So things got a bit out of control – at that stage our principle hadn’t even given us permission to use the hall or the school’s cooking room, and to be honest I’m not sure I ever got permission for the later, I just took it over. However thanks to a goody-good friend in with a high standing, we secured the gym by evicting some community sports group and literally just took over the food room. I had organized for some pacific dancers to come and perform during dinner time; I bought a bunch of sun umbrellas from the recycling centre and probably illegally filled the stands up with the sand from the local beach. I drove around the suburbs looking for a palm tree and found one, told an old man I’d give it a free trim if he let me take the branches (thank god the vice-principle, as wacky as he is, gave me a hand) and then brought some candles and decorative stones to decorate the tables. In all honesty how it all came together was a stressful blur, and thank god the biggest worry of all, the food, was taken care of by my friends. Lorde knows where the tables and chairs came from or the music, but it came together flawlessly eventually (well aside from serving food that had gotten lukewarm). I was a nervous wreck and basically wagged a whole day of classes running around organizing this thing, but we got there in the end, people ate, loved it and left us with $1,500 (bit measly really) which was kindly boosted to $2,500 thanks to a generous donation from a local charity.
So aside from the cost of food, the most expensive of which, being the spit-roast pig and fish which were donated by the co-ordinator and my aunty respectively, and the minimal expense of the decorations left us with few expenses. We milked the school’s facilities for all they were worth! And there you have it; large-scale “party” on a budget, but then again it was more of a function than a party. Perhaps I’ve gotten a bit off topic.
Let’s talk about how to throw a more casual, flat party with friends and how to pull it off respectably in the age of Facebook event invites and “maybe attending” RSVP’s. First of all, your party needs a purpose or a hook. If you title it “chill drinks” that just means “boring”, if you call it “birthday party” that means “let’s get drunk” and if you try and think of some wacky name, that just means you’re trying too hard and it’s gonna be a snooze. That’s where the beauty of themes come along, or specific instructions on how to conduct yourself at said party. My first successful flat party was in 2012 when I decided we’d have a space themed party, no prizes for originality I know but it was fun. I made the worlds tackiest looking paper-mâché planet Saturn, drowned the house in glittery stars, stuck an inflatable alien to the door and put up random silvery streamers and decorations to give the room a nice retro-Sci-Fi vibe. Then Allah smiled down upon me when the queer addition of a glass wall into an internal bedroom meant I could turn that room’s light on to faintly illuminate the main party space, without blaring lights ruining the mood. There we had the setting as good as could be in our fairly small apartment, and obviously music was blasting much to our neighbours delight. We decided to throw in some money to serve some alcoholic punch and snack foods which was a quality incentive for greedy/”poor” students to show up. In our thoughtless drunken state we decided to stick a notice in the elevator inviting the apartment building’s residents to our party which was obviously sketchy with all of belongings sitting there ripe for the taking, however nothing went missing and it was a fortunate risk that allowed us to meet some new friends.
My 21st birthday was at a classy bar’s function room with food supplied and subsidised drinks so everyone came and loved it, right? Times like that when friends come in handy (to show up and make you look adored and not as if they’re just there because they had nothing better to do). My 20th on the other hand was another flat party, but I decided I would make it a pot-luck (in the way of snacks) party, and an entry requirement was that people had to bring snacks. I think I wrote on the Facebook event that “chips or supermarket biscuits you brought on the way aren’t sufficient” which might have been a little rude and demanding, but I got away with it. My flatmates all laughed at me buying balloons and other generic party supplies to decorate the flat with, but I told them you HAVE to have decorations. If you walk into a snoozy old apartment with nothing going on there’s no festive mood or incentive to have a good time, it just feels like any old night. Trust me. So walk into a party with a flawless playlist blaring, a table of baked and delectable snacks with a punch bowl waiting and of course LOW lighting in a room adorned with stunning, but basic decorations and you’re set. A huge success and everyone loved it. AMEN.
Okay I admit this article went entirely off-track and barely focused on how to throw a party on a budget at all, but I hope you can see what at least makes a good party. It’s not paying for all the drinks and it’s certainly not paying for catering. it’s all in the decorations, the wording of the invite, the theme, the occasion, the setting and the guest list. You don’t have to be pedantic, but you do have to spend some time thinking about all of the above to be able to pull it all off successfully and without a hitch.
[ Image: FreshPhotography ]