A while back I was contacted by Ebony from Sparkling Events and Designs to take part in a fabulous "Designer's Challenge" along with some pretty incredible women, a lot of whom have become close friends of mine...so I could not pass it up! :)
The Challenge: Plan a party on a budget of $100 to include a tablescape design for four, party favor ideas, party activities and of course desserts!
The Theme: "Go Green"
The theme was open to interpretation and by goodness it was!! I'm so amazed and inspired by all the fabulous entries and creativity of each and every single styled table!!
This is what I did...
Party Concept - A Green, Grown-up Girl's Garden Party
I wanted to create a very relaxed, outdoors cocktail party around a "green grocers/garden" concept where guests could "pick their own", for a fun and chilled out get together between girlfriends (the four judges perhaps?) ;)
My total costs came to a grand total of $92, but in reality it was actually less because I already had the favor containers, metal pails and food glassware at home, but I costed it in in case readers don't have the same items...
Party Printables: $20
Includes: Round food tags, rectangular drinks and buffet cards, place cards, sign, green letters, drinks menu, favor tags, bird templates, scrapbook paper and favor seed envelope
We had to factor in our own creations into the budget too, and I created a new "Green, Girls' Garden" Party Collection for the occasion...
I used the paper printables and party templates throughout the tables and to decorate favors, but you can do this party for less since you can use the same party printables I used:
Food and Desserts: $23
I bought: Kiwis, artichokes, avocado, cucumber, baguette, olives, cupcakes, eggs, cream cheese, spring onions, crackers
Purchasing my main food ingredients and drinks from supermarkets and fresh veg market meant I could keep costs down significantly, without compromising on quality and taste!
* Starter - Green cucumber and avocado salad + green tapenade crostinis. Salad: dice avocado and cucumber and toss in a bit of olive oil and lime, season to taste and garnish with chopped greens from spring onions. Tapenade crostinis: Blitz a can of olives with garlic, olive oil, pepper and salt until all resembles a paste. Toast slices of baguette and top with olive mixture
* Main Course - Savory cheese cake: Line bottom of pan with crackers mixed with melted butter and top with a mixtures of cream cheese and eggs. Bake until golden and decorate with cream cheese and chopped spring onions. Serve lukewarm or cold.
* Desserts: "Pick Your Own" lime cupcakes frosted with lime and cream cheese frosting, fresh fruit displayed as a centerpiece.
Great party food as it involves minimal cooking and can be done in advance. I displayed the salad in individual mini glass jars decorated with a party tag from the printable collection that read "dig in".
DIY Drinks Bar: $16
I bought: Limes, Cachaça, Soda Water, Mint Cordial and a candle. I found a great bargain cachaça for $10 from Aldi (local supermarket).
The DIY cocktail bar is an activity in itself - Filled with ingredients and recipe card to help guests blend their own drinks. From alcoholic Caipirinhas to lemonade and funky mocktails too!
* Tropical lemonade: Blend lime wedges with skins on, sugar, ice and water. Sieve and top with more water if necessary and sugar taste, and serve cold.
For the "bar", I used a dresser from my daughter's bedroom to set it all up. Empty, green beer bottles and clear cups I already had at home made for cute and recycled (or green) drinks receptacles!
The drinks bottles were wrapped and decorated with the papers from the printable collection.
The word "green" was cut out from the scrapbook paper from collection and inserted into the ground in front of the dresser, using wooden skewers. I love the green boot candle, and had to have it! It would make sense to light some candles as the sun goes down to create a cosy and magical atmosphere!
The favor were also displayed in metal baskets (from my kitchen vegetable rack!) by the cocktail bar on the floor.
Party Decor and Props: $23
I bought: Ribbon, glass containers for salad (x4), metal pails for cupcakes (x4), recycled disposable cutlery, fake turf
I used my kid's garden gazebo frame (the same one I used here) and hung pieces of ribbon, printable paper birds from the collection for a romantic and girly look. You could make a similar gazebo using PVC pipes or simply hand the ribbon from trees or plant pot!
I also hung the metal pails containing the cupcakes inside! The idea was so that guests could "pick their own" desserts. This decor looked very whimsical "dancing" above the the table.
In-keeping with the "pick your own" theme, I filled a mini wooden wheel barrow I had at home with green fruits and vegetables, but you could also use a painted vegetable box from the market as a container.
Vegetables are lot more affordable than fresh flowers and look just as striking. The white flowers were picked from my garden, but you could also get wild blooms if you wanted flowers in there.
The table itself was assembled from my dining room table top (that comes off), which I placed onto an empty (but sturdy) box filled with books. I covered it with burlap fabric I already had, and purchased a piece of off-cut fake turf from local fabric store, then cut them as place mats.
No chairs required here as I used cushions on the floor. This makes it fun and more affordable than hiring special furniture. Doing this was actually necessary because the gazebo above was a child's gazebo and quite low in height. I think after a few cocktails, it make more sense to sit on the floor anyhow! ;)
To dress the table I used white plates I had, empty jam jars as cups wrapped with a green leaf (for the "green" or recycled element) and some recycled, disposable wood cutlery (again keeping to the "green" theme). Each place was marked with the guests names (Jillian, Ebony, Tanya and Carolyn) using the place-cards from the printable collection.
Party Favors: $10
I bought: Mint seeds for favors, ceramic pots (x4), mini glass bottles (x4), green sweets
Guests got to take home a mini flower pot with mint seeds in so they could grow their own as a reminder of the evening + a small recipe card with cocktail recipes and some green minty sweets in cute little bottles.
All wrapped in the scrapbook paper and favor tags from the printable collection.
Mini ceramic pots from garden centers make for really cute favor containers and are more affordable (and last longer) than fancy favor boxes or packaging. Plus, it's totally in-keeping with the "green" garden theme of the evening!
Party styling, printables and photography: Bird's Party