Party planning should be fun and easy, so get things done in 15 minutes or less.

The 15-Minute Party Planner's blog breaks down basic party-planning tasks into simple actions that take 15 minutes or less. We're not here to make you the next Martha, we're here to help you be crafty quickly!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Plan a party on the cheap: how to get the most from discount and dollar stores

If you're trying to save money these days (and frankly, who isn't?), consider shopping for your next party at a discount store like the Dollar Tree (a favorite of the 15-Minute Party Planner because the selection is good and everything really is only $1).

Luau-themed party supplies from
the Dollar Tree.
The Dollar Tree carries a regular stock of party merchandise including invitations, disposable table cloths, party favors, paper goods, flatware, and decorations. In addition to standard solid-color items, you can easily find themed decorations for birthday parties, luaus, graduation celebrations, bachelorette parties, weddings, baby showers, and the like.

Furthermore, the Dollar Tree often has close-out party supplies from other brands, which savvy shoppers can pick up at drastically-reduced prices. For instance, we here at the 15-Minute Party Planner have frequently found Hallmark-brand decorations and paper goods at the Dollar Tree for the bargain price of $1 per pack, rather than the Hallmark price of $4.95 or more!

In addition to paper goods, invitations, and decorations, discount stores are a great source for party favors and goodie bags. You can also save money buy baking or purchasing a simple sheet cake, and then decorating it with branded toys (Mickey Mouse, Cookie Monster, etc.) purchased from the Dollar Tree or another discount shop, rather than paying for a premium themed cake at a bakery.

Tell about your favorite party-planning deals in the comments.

You may also enjoy:  

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Summer's instant-party staples

Summer is full of surprise guests and impromptu parties. To ensure that you're ready for guests at a moment's notice, here are some summer staples to keep on hand.

For starters, consider getting a Rubbermaid bin to keep your summer party supplies in. During the summer, bring the bin out of storage for easy access in your kitchen or an easily-accessible closet. The rest of the year, you can store the bin in a closet, basement, or attic.

So, what belongs in that bin?

Cocktail umbrellas are ubiquitous in the summer, but they can make any beverage feel like a tropical escape.

Summer-themed napkins are another easy staple to keep on hand. They can be found for a dollar or two at shops like the Dollar Tree and the Christmas Tree Shops.

If you're going to entertain outdoors, consider keeping plastic cups on hand. Not only are they perfect for everything from punch to beer to ice cream floats, but you won't have to worry about them breaking if they get dropped or knocked over.

Reusable melamine "paper" plates are one of 15-Minute Party Planner's favorite summer party staples. These adorable plates look like disposable paper plates, but are reusable, dishwasher safe, and virtually unbreakable. You'll add an immediate touch of whimsy with these plates or their checkered counterparts.

You can also keep a number of summertime items in your pantry and fridge. Grab a few of these on your next shopping trip, and you'll be ready for spontaneous summer entertaining.

Summery drink mixers like instant lemonade, Margaritas, and Daiquiris are perfect for warm weather entertaining. Mixers, along with light, refreshing wines and beers will ensure that you're stocked for easy entertaining.

Ice. You can, of course, add ice to any drink to make it cold, but you can also use ice to stock coolers for outdoor entertaining or to mix up slushy frozen drinks.

In-season fruit. Summer is the perfect time to find fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and the like. Serve them to guests as finger food, in fresh smoothies, as an upgrade to margaritas, or in fruit salad. (Bonus if you pick up fresh fruit from a local farmer's market!)

Summer is the perfect time for snacking, so any number of crackers, chips, or vegetables served alongside salsa or dip will work with unexpected company. When you see your favorite brands on sale, pick up an extra box of crackers to stock your pantry without much effort.

You may also enjoy: