How do you plan and execute a stylish new years eve party on a budget? Gather inspiration, make a plan, and then get creative! Justine Celina Maguire shares her tips for ringing in the new year on a shoestring.
Whether I’m hosting a party or styling a photoshoot, I always start with a mood board. Basically, a mood board is a collection of inspirational images outlining colour palette, general look and feel, imagery and other visual elements. You can also start a private Pinterest board for your party and use it as a space to gather New Year's party ideas and inspiration. For this New Year's party, I knew I wanted a modern, fun vibe with a touch of glitz, and a palette of white and gold with lots of natural greenery. I also wanted to play with mistletoe, and create a light installation over the table inspired by the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball.
Tip 1 - Repurpose Existing Decor In New Ways
The most important part of throwing any party on a budget is to figure out new ways to use your existing decor. Most of the things you see here I already owned, but I’m repurposing them to add interest, texture and layers to my tablescape. The “Time to Drink Champagne and Dance on the Table” wall hanging is actually a tea towel.
The piece of wood on the table is something I made (it’s going to be a coffee table once I get around to putting the legs on it!). It works to add some height to the tablescape and make the deer head a focal point. I used the deer head (which is part of my seasonal decor) to hang the wine charms on until guests are ready to use them. The bulbs and pinecones are part of our holiday decor as well. The faux sheepskin throw drapes over the back of a chair that we usually have seated at this table — think about using throws, table runners, or even scarves to add a soft texture to your tablescape. The vases are part of our living room decor, and I borrowed the white antlers from a friend.
Tip 2 – Source Discount Entertaining Essentials
If there are any decor or entertaining items you’re missing, check for holiday sales and hit your local thrift store. I snapped up this set of four gold-rimmed coupe glasses from Chapters at almost half price. I also needed a few more glasses and a cake stand, so I took a trip to the thrift store. Thrift stores are one of my favourite places to source unique props and decor pieces! Make a list of the items you’re looking for, and have your mood board or Pinterest board easily accessible while you shop to keep your purchases focused. For this party, I needed some extra glasses (I wanted something a little more upscale looking than traditional wine glasses), so I found this set of four vintage crystal glasses for just $4, and the gold cake stand for $6. These are versatile pieces that I’ll use year round.
Tip 3 – Get Crafty
When the budget is tight, I like to figure out where I can best spend my dollars to create maximum impact. For this party, my focal point is the hanging light fixture installation, inspired by the Times Square New Year's Eve Ball. I picked these light spheres up at Michaels on clearance — they were just $9.59 each. We installed them with damage-free hanging hooks that I adhered to the ceiling, and hung them at varying heights. Bonus: they light up, so you can turn them on for some soft ambiance after dark, and everyone can gather around the table during the midnight countdown, for your own Times Square-inspired ball drop!
I also like to make party favours for guests when the budget is limited. It adds a thoughtful touch and a little something extra to your decor. Plus, guests can take them home as a keepsake and dry them! For this New Year’s Eve party, I wanted to make personalized wine charms inspired by mistletoe. They were simple (and inexpensive) to create — all you need is greenery, some berries, hoop earrings, and copper wire in various colours. I started by trimming pieces of greenery that were a similar size and then trimming the berry details. Then, I wrapped the greenery and berries together around the centre of the hoop earring and secured with them coloured copper wire (using a different colour for each charm).
The hanging mistletoe is basically a larger version of the wine charms — I just used twine to secure and hang it instead of the copper wire. I hung it from the ceiling with the same damage-free hanging hooks that I used for the light installation.
Tip 4 – Check Out the Grocery Store Floral Department
When I’m decorating for the holidays or styling a tablescape, I always add fresh flowers or plants. They make a space feel fresh and inviting, add a personal touch, and are an inexpensive way to decorate — if you make the arrangements yourself. You can pick up greenery, seasonal market bunches and berries from your local grocery store pretty inexpensively at this time of year. The trick is to purchase all of the plants and flowers that you need separately, rather than buying a pre-made arrangement, which can be pricey. For this party, I purchased a combination of four seasonal bunches and greenery from Safeway for $27.96. I used them for arrangements on the table, to style the tabletop, to make the mistletoe wine charms, and the large hanging mistletoe arrangement!
Tip 5 – Serve A Budget-Friendly, Punch-Style Sangria
Sangria is our beverage of choice when we’re hosting or attending a party. It’s so much fun to make as a group — we concoct the mixture in a large beverage dispenser and taste as we go to make sure we have it just right. Guests can serve themselves and it makes for minimal bottle clean-up at the end of the night. We usually split ingredients between everyone who'll be drinking the sangria — one person brings the wine or champagne, one person brings the liqueur, and one person brings mix and fruit, etc. Sangria is quite inexpensive to make when everyone chips in for ingredients! This is my Sparkling Pomegranate Cranberry Sangria, a new holiday recipe inspired by Gatsby glam, seasonal flavours and New Year's Eve bubbles. I also have a recipe for White Citrus Sangria if you’re looking for something light and crisp. Next time you're entertaining, try serving a punch-style sangria — it always gets the party started, and people who don’t usually drink wine enjoy it, too.
What else is on the table? Since guests will be arriving after dinner, I like to serve a few light snacks along with the cocktails. This year I'm putting a whole-food spin on traditional holiday sweets, so I'm serving my Dark Chocolate Raspberry Energy Bites. They’re a quick and healthy no-bake holiday party treat, inspired by chocolate truffles! They’re also vegan and free of gluten and refined sugar, perfect for parties where guests have food sensitivities and allergies. And you can never go wrong with nuts and dark chocolate for snacking throughout the night.
Adding It Up
The decor for this modern New Year’s Eve party cost just under $100! Here’s a cost breakdown of where I spent my dollars:
- Set of 4 Vintage Stemware - $4
- Gold Cake Stand - $6
- Flowers & Greenery - $27.96
- 3 Light Spheres - $28.77
- 60 Pack of Hoop Earrings - $4.99
- Coloured Copper Wire - $4.29
- Set of 4 Gold Rim Coupe Glasses - $23.26
- TOTAL - $99.27
All you need is an idea and a little imagination to turn your next New Year’s Eve party into a fun, unique and intimate gathering! I hope everyone has a safe and fun New Year’s Eve, and I wish you all the best in 2016. Happy New Year!
Justine Celina Maguire is a Creative Director, Stylist and Designer based in Calgary. She also blogs as a way to share her interests, passions and inspirations. JustineCelina.com is a Canadian lifestyle blog with a creative eye for beauty, fashion, food, travel, music, design and DIY. You can join her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Bloglovin’.