Author Topic: Where do you spend the most when it comes to parties?  (Read 3226 times)

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Hmmmmm

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Where do you spend the most when it comes to parties?
« on: July 31, 2012, 11:12:53 AM »
A friend wanted to throw a party to celebrate an event in her life and didn't have the space at her home and asked if we'd mind her having at our place.  This was fine with us.  She asked 2 months in advance, indicated she planned to do most of the planning and would pay for everything.  Knowing this good friend like we do, we knew we were really signing up to do a lot of the planning and most of the labor which we were ok with. 

However, 3 weeks before the event, she came over so we can finalize the planning.  I learn she has a specific theme in mind, but when she contacted a company that hosts these themed parties which include the food and entertainment, their smallest package was for a minimum of 50 guests at $30 per head and she was only planning for 25.  So after some googling and calling, I was able to find a company that could provide the entertainment for a cost of $400 which she thought was a bargain.  I also found a restaurant that could provide the main meal to meet her theme and I told her I'd augment the meal with items I'd make to help keep the cost down.  While working on a menu, she told me to just handle it and she'd order the cake but she really wanted to "do the party up right".

Once all was completed I gave her a total cost of $280 for the food which included the catered portion of the meal, 3 appetizers and fruit tray that I had made, wine, beer, sangria, water and margaritas (she did bring the tequila, sodas, and paper goods that she purchased separately).  I had also made a third option for an entree, some home made bread, and a 4th  appetizer which I didn't include the cost as I saw that as part of our present to her.   I thought for 25 people, $280 was more than reasonable especially based on how much she was willing to pay for 45 min of entertainment.  But I got the impression that she was suprised at the cost.

DH says it's because she is more into the entertainment aspects of a party, where I'm all about the "infrastructure"... plenty of good food and drinks with lots of options and presented attractively, comfortable environment with plenty of seating.   

lowspark

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Re: Where do you spend the most when it comes to parties?
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2012, 11:42:47 AM »
For a party in my home I normally wouldn't hire entertainment as I see the entertainment as being the company of friends. So I don't really know how to guage the price of whatever entertainment she is hiring. But to answer your question, I usually spend most of the money on the food with liquor being a close second.

Catered food for 25 people at a cost of $11.20 per person including wine, beer, sangria and margaritas is a pretty good price. Throw in the extras you are generously doing for free and I'd say that's a real bargain. Not to mention how gracious you are being to offer your house. Is this friend really balking at the cost?

MrsCrazyPete

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Re: Where do you spend the most when it comes to parties?
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2012, 12:00:58 PM »
POD to everything lowspark said. I spend the most money on food. I work hard to make sure I can please all tastes and make sure everything looks good. Liquor is a close second.

Your friend is getting a heck of a deal; you're prepping so much, not to mention doing before and after clean up.
Sell crazy somewhere else, we're all stocked up here.

O'Dell

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Re: Where do you spend the most when it comes to parties?
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2012, 12:07:58 PM »
I spend the most money on booze.  :-[  Then food. Entertainment among my friends is cobbled together from the guests themselves, chatting and playing music) plus radio etc. We're a casual lot.

Even for a fancier affair I would concentrate on booze and food because I'm all about the symbolism of eating and drinking together. Comfort as in seating and warmth/coolness etc would be a close second.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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Hmmmmm

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Re: Where do you spend the most when it comes to parties?
« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2012, 12:09:07 PM »
For a party in my home I normally wouldn't hire entertainment as I see the entertainment as being the company of friends. So I don't really know how to guage the price of whatever entertainment she is hiring. But to answer your question, I usually spend most of the money on the food with liquor being a close second.

Catered food for 25 people at a cost of $11.20 per person including wine, beer, sangria and margaritas is a pretty good price. Throw in the extras you are generously doing for free and I'd say that's a real bargain. Not to mention how gracious you are being to offer your house. Is this friend really balking at the cost?

Oh no, it was just a quick look on her face and a pause in her voice that I could tell she was suprised at the cost.  Like I said, I know her well and we can easily tell she was suprised at the cost.  She cooks very little and seldom entertains at her home because of her small space and really doesn't have a good idea on the cost of food.  She dropped off a check and flowers the next day.

FoxPaws

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Re: Where do you spend the most when it comes to parties?
« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2012, 12:23:47 PM »
Oh no, it was just a quick look on her face and a pause in her voice that I could tell she was surprised at the cost.  Like I said, I know her well and we can easily tell she was surprised at the cost.  She cooks very little and seldom entertains at her home because of her small space and really doesn't have a good idea on the cost of food.   She dropped off a check and flowers the next day.
This explains a lot. Food prices give me sticker shock at my weekly trips to the grocery store.  :-\ I imagine for someone who seldom cooks, it's quite a jolt to find out what it costs to feed 25 people.

As for parties, my priorities are the same as everyone else who's posted so far: plenty of food and drink and a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere. I think it's nice to have music - which can be as basic as a radio - but other entertainment is a negotiable extra.
I am so a lady. And if you say I'm not, I'll slug you. - Cindy Brady

lowspark

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Re: Where do you spend the most when it comes to parties?
« Reply #6 on: July 31, 2012, 02:24:37 PM »
I think it's more a matter that she just didn't think it through. It seems to me that someone who doesn't cook would have less sticker shock than someone who never eats out. After all, figure what it costs for a meal in a restaurant, especially including alcohol. A lot more than $11.20 per person.

I'm glad your friend paid you quickly and brought flowers. I'm guessing once she thought it over she realized what a great friend you are to do this for her!

QueenofAllThings

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Re: Where do you spend the most when it comes to parties?
« Reply #7 on: July 31, 2012, 04:35:10 PM »
Booze. Definitely booze.

Which tells you about the people we hang with.

BUT the caveat is that I don't cater - I do all the cooking etc. myself. If I were to cater, it would be food, then booze.

jpcher

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Re: Where do you spend the most when it comes to parties?
« Reply #8 on: July 31, 2012, 06:29:14 PM »
You are a wonderful friend, OP! and your friend showed that she knows this. ;D

I've never hired entertainment for a party, so what I spend the most on is food.*

I think that $280 for 25 people for food and booze is quite a good deal.



*then there are the parties where it's just apps and things. In which case, I spend most on booze.

WillyNilly

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Re: Where do you spend the most when it comes to parties?
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2012, 03:00:53 PM »
It depends on the party, but its definitely food or booze that always take the top two cost spots.  this is true for parties in my home, parties at the local bar, and even my formal wedding - the costs for catering and open bar overshadow the costs for DJ, flowers, favors, invites and even my dress combined! 

The only party which something else costs more is Halloween, and even then not really.  See every year I buy about $100 worth of decorations... and save many of them.  So by now after almost a decade of Halloween parties I have almost $1k's worth of decor - way more then I've ever spent on food & drink for the party.  but it wasn't all bought at once, so maybe that doesn't count.

When I plan a party I use the "5 Senses" as my guide.  Taste, smell, looks, touch and sound.  Cover people's senses and they'll have a good time.  A good spread of food and drinks can cover 3 of the 5, so then all you need is a comfortable space (touch) and good music (sound) and you are set for a fabulous time!

MacadamiaNut

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Re: Where do you spend the most when it comes to parties?
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2012, 03:13:44 PM »
Booze.  But that's not because I focus more on it or anything.  Liquor is simply more expensive and it just ends up costing more than the food.  I know it could easily be the opposite in the States as I find the liquor prices there quite cheap, comparatively.

I have never hired entertainment.  The mingling is the entertainment.  I also agree that $280 for a party of 25 guests which includes food and booze is a bargain!
Paperweights, for instance - has anyone ever established what, when, and why
paper has to be weighed down? ::) ~Don Aslett

SoCalVal

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Re: Where do you spend the most when it comes to parties?
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2012, 03:58:42 PM »
I think that $280 for 25 people for food and booze is quite a good deal.

Agreed -- I can't believe someone who rarely cooks would have sticker shock (but I'm concluding she didn't break it down in her head as to the per person cost, which really is quite low for food AND alcohol).



Hmmmmm

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Re: Where do you spend the most when it comes to parties?
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2012, 06:33:48 PM »
I should clarify that about 10 guests do not drink and no heavy drinkers. $30 case of imported beer, 2 $10 bottles of wine for sangria, and 2 $15 dollar bottles of wine for drinking.  So alcohol was only $80 which is low for our normal parties.  But the per person food cost was still really low.  I'm starting to think I miscalculated somewhere because I never do this good when I'm hosting.  I think I was just more conscious of spending some one else's money. 


hannahmollysmom

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Re: Where do you spend the most when it comes to parties?
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2012, 02:09:02 AM »
I spend the most on food. I supply the basics for alcohol, such as wine and beer. I also supply plenty of mixers should someone want something else, but I do not keep a bar, so my friends know to bring what other alcohol they may want, and of course, soda and water.

The food, and the set up is the most important to me. I want my guests to feel comfortable yet catered to. I spend almost as much time on how I will display the food, as well as linens and decorations, as I do preparing the food.

CakeEater

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Re: Where do you spend the most when it comes to parties?
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2012, 07:41:05 AM »
Food, then drinks. People seem to go 'maths dumb' when they're feeding lots of people. $25 for dinner doesn't seem like much, but people lose the ability to multiply by the 20 people they're serving and ome up with a figure of $500.