Before we even start, the first thing you need to do is to choose your ingredients wisely. Ditch the prawns and fillet, and focus on cost-saving economical ingredients that will fill the gap and delight your guests. Go for traditionally cost-effective meat cuts such as silverside, or think outside the box with a pasta buffet. Let’s get started!
In the bar
1. If it’s on special, stock up! Look out for discounts and promotions at your local bottle store and stock up on supplies.
2. Didn’t use it? Take it back. Most stores will accept returns on unopened stock as long as the labels are intact. So make you’re only putting bottles on ice as required.
3. Making a bowl of punch is much more cost-efficient than having an open bar, especially if you’re trying to cater for everyone’s tastes.
4. Timing is key and you could get away with hosting a brunch or lunch party as opposed to an extravagant dinner. People drink less earlier in the day, which will save you money.
5. BYOB! Seeing as you’re supplying and cooking the food, ask your guests to bring their own drinks. This way, you don’t have to bust the bank and they’ll be drinking what they enjoy most.
On the table
1. Inexpensive brown paper makes for an attractive table runner. Tie serviettes with raffia to continue with the rustic theme and put out coloured chalk or pens and encourage your friends to get creative on the paper.
2. Don’t worry about buying expensive fresh blooms for your table. When flowers start to droop, ditch the vase and scatter the petals across your table. Or set out some cute potted plants that you can enjoy for months to come. Alternatively, summer’s luscious leaves make a striking change.
3. Instead of centrepieces, display fresh fruit on the table. Your guests can enjoy something sweet all throughout the meal and it will add some lovely colour to the table, cutting your decor costs considerably.