Without going into too much detail, my brothers and I knew that throwing a party of this magnitude would cost a lot. The banquet facility alone was going to cost us a few thousand dollars, no doubt about it, and so we had mentally planned on spending a fortune. My brothers, being not too concerned with the details, just let me run with a few of my ideas, helping out whenever I said, "Hey, I need your help with this!" I immediately created a private Pinterest page (now public), that was only viewable by me and my sisters-in-law, and just pinned any wedding party, anniversary party, or party party idea I saw and liked. Did I use all the ideas? Heck no. My arms would have fallen off if I did. I don't even know if I used any of them completely. But by combining several ideas and modifying others, we were able to come up with a nice party for a reasonable price. So let's get started, shall we?
This was, by far, the biggest no-brainer of them all. I'm sure millions of other people have done this, and apparently, I'm late to the game. What did we do? We went to Staples. I pinned a bunch of ideas for what I wish the invitations could look like, the 40th anniversary being the "Ruby Anniversary," and all, but when it came down to it, we went with the nicest available option without going crazy on the cost (unfortunately, no ruby was included). Can I find a link to the actual invitation? Of course not. But it looked a little something like this, even though I know this isn't actually the one we used.
So we picked out a beautiful invitation, printed out the details, and my brother, sister-in-law, and I all sat at their dining room table one evening during their school April vacation to stuff the envelopes.
Total invitation cost = $70 + cost of stamps
(It technically cost less because we didn't need all 100 invitations, plus we didn't use the response cards, but since you can't just buy a partial box, I had to include the full cost.)
Speaking of stuffing the invitations, we decided (thanks to Pinterest) that as a gift from everyone at the party, we would put together a scrapbook of all the guests' memories of my parents. After modifying the verbage of an insert that I found, we received several pages full of well-wishes and thoughtful memories for my parents. I loved it. They loved it. It was a pretty special gift to have. And it only took me about 10 minutes (or less) every night to update pages as they arrived in the mail and slip them into protective sheets.
Insert Paper = $7
Scrapbook = $20
Scrapbook Accessories (protective sheets & decorative paper) = $20
Double-sided Tape = $6
Total Scrapbook cost = $53
I gained a lot of inspiration for the centerpieces from Pinterest. Everyone pins wedding stuff, so it was beyond easy to find ideas. I pretty much took a combination of ideas and threw them together, hoping that what I imagined would work out as well as I hoped. And what was even better is that, while going to the dollar store to pick up a single item I needed that had nothing to do with the party, I found almost everything I needed for the centerpieces. Vases, stones, flowers, ribbons -- it was all there. My brother and sister-in-law found the floating candles for me at Michael's a couple of days later, plus I bought a neutral-colored thread at Walmart to anchor each silk flower to the bottom of the vase.
On the night before the party (because we're procrastinators like that), I rented "Pitch Perfect" from Redbox, and while singing along and laughing hysterically, D and I put all the pieces together. The result: vases with floating candles on the top and a flower in the bottom. It looked as pretty as I hoped. D and his mom filled them with water at the reception hall before the party began, lit the candles, and that was that. Beyond simple.
(D took the following picture of a vase in progress. Without water in it, the floating candle just sat on top of the silk flower, so it looks a little odd. But I swear, the full effect was great.)
|Ignore the clothes waiting to be ironed sitting in the background (awesome).|
Vases (10)* = $10
Stones (5 bags)* = $5
Bunches of silk flowers (2)* = $2
Floating candles (10) = $16
Grey thread = $2
Total Centerpiece cost = $35
This was one of the most fun parts for me personally. It all started with the quasi-theme, which was Italy. Since my parents were taking their trip to Italy about a month after the party, I wanted to incorporate that into the favor. I searched for "Italian favors," whatever that meant, and kept finding oil and vinegar cruets (cute, but way too expensive for our budget) or Jordan almonds (not exactly what I was going for). Then on Easter, while at my in-laws' house, it hit me. My mother-in-law makes homemade biscotti. I had seen several cookie favors online that said things like, "Love is still sweet!" but no cookie seemed appropriate. But biscotti? Oh yeah, that would work.
I originally asked my mother-in-law for the recipes, and she, being the incredibly generous woman that she is, said quite matter-of-factly, "Pick a day the week before the party. You'll come over, and we'll make them together." I love that woman! While I can follow a recipe, having her experienced hands helping me make the biscotti was a necessity. It never would have come out as delicious or well-presented if I had tried this on my own. On the Tuesday before the party, the kids and I went over her house in the afternoon, and we baked coconut almond biscotti and brownie almond biscotti for about 2-3 hours. Both were easy to make (once I knew what I was doing, anyway), and they came out oh-so-delicious.
I wish I wrote down the recipes to share, but I missed a step on one of them (and I can't recall the measurements of that step to be able to share it), and I didn't write the other one down at all. I will try to get them and share at a later point in time. But I bet you could find the recipes online if you tried. The coconut almond biscotti uses white cake mix, and the brownie almond biscotti called for Betty Crocker Fudge Brownie Mix. Boxed mixes -- now those are my kind of desserts.
White Cake & Brownie Mixes (8)* = $12
Coconut = $2
Eggs = $2
Clear cellophane bags (100) = $12
Placecards (40, cut in half & hole punched to make 80 tags)* = $6
Spools of Ribbon (6)* = $6
Clear Labels for tags (300 count)* = $8
The almonds were provided by my mother-in-law; she got them a couple months prior on sale and froze them. All other baking essentials (pans, parchment paper, etc.) were already in the house.
Total Favor cost = $48
NOTE: All prices were rounded up to the whole dollar.
*All items marked with an asterisk were purchased on sale/clearance, came with a rebate, and/or were found at the dollar store.