Fretting about how to ring in the New Year on a recession-reduced budget? Worried you’ll spend all night simply staring at a clock? Then check out these tips from party planner to the stars, Mindy Weiss, to celebrate like an A-lister.
People: According to A-list event planner Mindy Weiss, the last thing most parties need is more. “Don’t stress thinking ‘More is more,'” says Weiss, who has handled over-the-top (yet somehow stress-free) celebrations for, among many others, Ellen DeGeneres, Ashlee Simpson, Eva Longoria Parker, Nicole Richie, Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. Take the menu choices. You don’t need to pile on exotic or trendy dishes. “I most often find when the client says, ‘We need more,’ what actually gets eaten is the familiar.” As for the decor, remember that “this is your home, not a ballroom.” Rather than try to turn your living room into Christmas at the Ritz by buying loads of holiday-specific decorations, “use things you have in your house – that crystal bowl you got as a wedding gift that you don’t know what to do with.”
Applying that philosophy, Weiss took on PEOPLE’s challenge: a full sit-down dinner for less than $300, cocktails for $200 and a dessert party for $100. Doable? “Absolutely,” says Weiss. With that budget, “You can entertain in a high-end manner.” And don’t feel you must follow her every suggestion exactly, she advises. “Get ideas, get inspiration. But put your own personality in too. That’s the thing people remember.”
Read on for Weiss’s tips for hosting cheap parties.