By Michael Harris-Arzon, The Simplistic Professional
Everybody likes a good party. Whether it’s attending the neighbors annual Christmas Extravaganza or you are the host and are planning a Summer Picnic for 20 of your closest friends. The overall idea is to create great, lasting memories and experiences for everyone.
The prospect of entertaining can seem a little overwhelming to many people, but it is a necessity in today’s hyper-social world. Not only is it expected that our business and personal lives intersect, social standards now decree that we do more than tell others about this or that. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram demand that we visually share and talk about our balanced professional and personal lives.
This means, the experiences we create are for more than those in physical attendance of a party or event… they must translate, via pictures, stories and videos, to the growing number of followers we each maintain. You know the saying “Keeping up with the Jonses”, well in the age of entitlement that we seem to find ourselves, we have our peers not only forcing us to keep up with them, but requiring that we out do ourselves on a daily basis. The cost of this can and does keep many from entertaining at all.
So, no matter if you are just starting out in life or have a good decade of professional advancement under your belt, we know that the entertaining portion of our budgets vary drastically. Additionally, the subject of money is tasteless and therefore we will continue this conversation with the assumption that all are on equal footing and that unlimited budgets DO NOT EXIST.
The first thing I must mention is that I have and never will pay full price for anything when it comes to hosting an event or party. This mainly has to do with the fact that when Danny and I first started out in life, we did not have the resources that many of our friends had. Yes, we had access to and attended some of the most sought after invitations in New York City. Thus, I was able to glean ideas and inspiration from parties like the one New Year’s Eve where we brought in the New Year dining on Caviar Omelettes with celebrities like James Woods and Madonna.
Living in The Big Apple at the time, afford us the opportunity to access wholesale places, dollar stores and department stores that had huge discount sales on a regular basis. I learned that if I was vigilant about that word Sale, I could buy a couple of pieces at a time for virtually nothing. This is also when I discovered that the day after ANY HOLIDAY is the best time to shop. As long as you aren’t trying to buy a specific item or number of items, then you can easily save 75%. Be sure to not forget about the smaller holidays like Fourth of July or Presidents Day.
With the holiday sales, you need to not think of it as a Valentine’s Day or Halloween Sale. Think of it as a way to acquire a set of 6 plates for desserts or 4 black candle holders etc. And if you do this for an entire year, after EVERY HOLIDAY, you will be amazed at what you can collect. And keep in mind that you want to look for things like fake gourds, items made of crystal or anything else that can help you create a vision on a table scape when combined with multiple pieces.
Tip: I keep a small folder of pictures on my phone that are simple snap shots of the things I already have in the Butler’s Pantry. Nothing individual, but simple reminders of things in general. This helps me fill in the holes as to the types or colors of accessories I already own.
One last piece of advice, be sure to save things like the mylar dangles and paper lanterns you may use for a certain event, as they can be reused many times to come and can easily be stored in ziplock bags.