41 How to Throw a Last Minute Party, Part 4: Food and Decorations

Welcome back to “How to throw a last minute party,” if you’ve missed it we’ve already talked about choosing a location and theme, DIY'in invitations, and using a pretty budget/spreadsheet. Today we’ll be talking food and decorations that were thrown together, with the help of my darling family, for the beaus surprise Simpsons Themed Party.

For us, since we-- as in the MIL and myself-- chose a restaurant venue, we simply looked at their catering menu and chose food based on our estimated guests, budget, and, well, my tummy. We started off with a larger “wishful thinking” list with full intentions of narrowing it down. That’s where the budgeting spreadsheet came in handy, keeping track of totals. I know many of your kinda glaze over when it comes to spreadsheets/budgets and technical stuff but pretty pictures and auto formulas are motivating, no?! Ok call me weird.
Click here for that post + download

After totaling each food item they were then narrowed down by what I thought guests would enjoy the most. The photo above was what we ended up with after our 10 minute discussion. Using the budget sheet to help narrow our selection was crazy easy, promise!

You may have noticed that cake, although food, was categorized under “Other” within the spreadsheet. It was separated as our venue didn’t make the actual cake thus the cost wouldn’t be included in gratuities (more on that in a minute).

Back when we were creating the invitations, the MIL and I plotted more ideas for the party and she came up with the perfect idea to make Homer Donuts. She planned to purchase normal cake donuts then mix, ever so carefully, the perfect amount of food coloring and frosting. Add a dash of sprinkles and bam! Homer donuts, easy peasy:

I don’t have the steps or budget because she lovingly made it all happen but, hot-dang we work well together!!

We then contacted a fantastical cake-maker friend of ours (sorry locals he’s currently not accepting any new clients) to do us the honor/favor of creating the perfect cake to fit the overall theme. Going with a reputable, very close friend, helped in so many ways. Since they were unable to attend the party (it was last minute and all), they were showing their support through the perfect Simpsons cake:
Can you spot the Director's Chair resemblance?

Now that all the food was ordered and taken care of, it was time to figure out the decorations.

I picked up a pack of $1 “Simpsons Yellow” balloons and two $1 blue tablecloths. The only vision I had was to draw Homer’s head on the balloons and figured the tablecloths would blend nicely. Since everything was coming down to the wire, it became increasingly difficult to keep telling white lies. So I let the MIL take the reins on throwing together the centerpieces. She kept such a tight lip around all our scheming and dare I say we were thoroughly enjoying being devious for a few days?!

The MIL was all self-conscious about these balloons because they were all squiggly. I say they’re perfectly homemade!!

After digging through some of his paraphernalia, she came up with these adorable centerpieces using some pieces from his collection. The vast majority of his collection happens to be stored at her house for the time being which actually helped conceal any suspicious party-planning activities.
Forgive me for the blurry-ness, I was more concerned about stuffing my face with homer donuts.

The center pieces consisted of a Simpsons garbage can, some Simpsons tissue paper, a left over invitation, and a bunch of birthday cards she’s collected for him over the years (on pipe cleaners of course). Use whacha, got right? Seriously, she’s all mine ladies- you can’t have her.

Of course the awesome blogger that I am, failed to capture a good shot of the Simpsons cardboard cutouts that were also scattered throughout the room so here’s a photoshop’d visual:
Left Source | Middle Source | right source was an ebay image
I blame the lack of photos on wanting to actually attend and enjoy the party.

When the MIL went to set up, she noticed that we didn’t need to use the tablecloths so our entire decorating cost was a whopping $1. Only having to purchase balloons and using what we already had on hand for decorations, left us with some wiggle room for more food or buying guest’s drinks.

Somehow we ended with a grand total about $25 under budget. Ahh, the amazing feeling to have a little extra money left over…

So tell me, do you have any thrifty tips when throwing a party?

Up next, I’m gushing all about the beau’s gift. I assure you, it’s one you WON’T want to miss!! Speaking of not missing something, have you entered for your chance to win a KitchenAid Mixer? If not:

It'd make such an amazing present for the baker in your life!!




In case the link-fest in the beginning wasn’t organized enough for you, feel free to follow along with the series here:
Part 1- Choosing the Location and Theme
Part 2- Simpson's Themed Invitations the Visionthe Tutorial
Part 3- Budget and Checklist Freebie
Part 4- Food and Decorations (you're here)
Part 5- The Gift
Part 6- Pulling it all together-- aka the story

Remember...

41 comments:

  1. this is great- what a fun theme idea!!

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  2. Such a fun party theme, I love using things I already have to supplement a decorating budget. Those donuts look really good too!

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    1. Mmmm donuts!! I've been WAITING to say that haha!

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  3. You really go all out! This is great, and I love that it is all homemade. We tend to entertain in our house, and I have to admit that I really do not do any decorating for a party other than buying fresh flowers. Of course, we do not have any children, and thank goodness, because I do not think that I could live up to all the expectations of these awesome parties that parents throw!

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    1. Haha it's funny you say we went all out because the whole decorating thing only costed $1!! I don't think I could live up to the expectations of children parties either! They've gotta take months of planning.

      Fresh flowers bring an element of class and style!

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  4. Arg! I wrote a long comment and then lost it when I had to sign into Google. The short of it was that I love all the homemade detail. You did a great job!

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    1. Oh I hate when that happens... although lucky for you the first one went through. It's so sweet and thoughtful of you to take another shot at it!

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  5. How cute, what a great party for any Simpson's lover. BTW, I personally love the spreadsheet idea. ;)

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    1. Thanks, its my type-A personality mixed with the creative one.

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  6. These are great ideas! I would freak if I had to do a last minute party - I'm such a planner/researcher!

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    1. I hear ya, I'm a planner and researcher too. This was one of those, "oh no, I lost track of time, shoot it's next week already." kinda situations haha.

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  7. Oh how cool! What fun ideas for last minute parties. I absolutely love all the Simpson party goodies... those donuts around the cake are awesome!

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  8. I so love the Simpsons party! I would be thrilled if someone put that much work into a party for me. :)

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    1. Awe that is so sweet of you, Kate!

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  9. I love the cake. So simple, but it's far cooler than if the whole faces had been drawn in. So creative!

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    1. Thanks, I'm a huge fan of simplicity and love that it was just the outline. Although, the alternative idea was actually to create a 3D Homer head, but since it was last minute.... well, we just ran out of time. It woulda been dabombdotcom.

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  10. That is an awesome party!! I have a BIL that would absolutely love a party like this! He loves the Simpsons!

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    1. I see a themed party in your future.... haha

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  11. Love the Simpson's balloon! We do quite a bit of entertaining at home and I love your homemade decoration ideas! It definitely saves money - and puts a lot of heart into the event.

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    1. Awe that's so sweet of you Alicia!

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  12. That is such a cute party idea! I love the Homer donuts!

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  13. This is such a cute idea! I bet my husband would love it since he is a Simpson's Fan!

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  14. I love the Simpsons! What a great idea for a party and love the doughnuts! The balloons are too cute as well

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  15. What a fun idea for a party. And I love how you have a budgeting sheet too.

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  16. What great party planners. Ya'll gave me some great ideas for upcoming parties. I have a 16th birthday party to plan next year. So I need all the money saving ideas I can find.

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    1. Awe glad I could help Chrishelle!! Hope you post all about that party, I'd love to read about it!!

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  17. Oh my! I remember setting up parties for my kids when they were young and I would have a whole calendar thing figured out, that started three months before the party. One year I made little needlecraft baskets for the girls and needlecraft cars for the boys (yeah, like what is a boy going to do with a "car" made out of yarn and plastic?). I had a blast doing it, but oh the amount of time! The ideas you present here, for a last minute party are brilliant! You definitely have a gift ;) -Deborah

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    1. Wow, now that's dedication!! I'm sure the boys still loved them, I mean what boy didn't love playing with cars?

      Awe you're too kind.

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  18. The checklist is just great! Love the Homer theme!

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  19. cute ideas! Great way to use a balloon! Love the donuts, yummy!

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  20. You need to come help me plan my next party!

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  21. I've seen watched the simpsons but it looks like you nailed it

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  22. What a great party idea! love the printables too!

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  23. What a great idea!!! So creative... I wish I could come up with ideas like that myself!!

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  24. It is important to get over the fear of numbers and hatred of spreadsheets in order to make planning easier. A party is betterwhe person has budget and stick with it. That way you enjoy the party before and enjoy the memories later.

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  25. I love the party spreadsheet!! I am always over budget :(

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  26. Love it. I grew up watching the show and this would make a really great party theme. Love the Homer Donuts especially.

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  27. These tips are great. Party planning can be so stressful so it is great to have ideas on how to make it easier.

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  28. Wow, for a last minute that is a fantastic party, I LOVE the cake!

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  29. I love all the work you put in here and how everything came out! Also, isn't it just the best when you can decorate with things you already have?!

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