Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to a new internet friend of mine, Heidi from Parties for Pennies. I knew I wanted to feature her in this series the second I read her about page. She managed to describe event planning in the most true words I’ve ever read:
There’s something about planning an event, whether it’s a dinner or a wedding, and seeing it all come together that is simply magical. It’s a lot of work. It’s exhausting and when it’s all over, I want to do it again.
The other thing about Heidi’s party planning style is that while she is more than capable of going all out for a party (there’s a Mad Men-themed party below you absolutely must check out), she always keeps it focused on the guests. After all, that’s what parties are about.
(She’s also an on camera host, actress, and voice over artist. How cool is that?)
Tell us about your party-hosting style.
I love creating beautiful, champagne-style parties on a beer budget! I think it’s important to create a unique and fun environment, but the most important thing is your guests. You can host a party with a glass of champagne, some granola bars, and your besties. The most successful party is where you were present, connected, and the guests felt like rock stars!
Where did your love of party planning begin?
Actually from as early as elementary school. We didn’t have much money, but I always wanted to create special events whatever the budget. When I was in 5th grade, I got my siblings involved and we planned a romantic French dinner at home for my parent’s anniversary. I even created a menu in French.
What are your go-to appetizers?
You can never go wrong with brie cheese topped with a jam and maybe some crushed walnuts. It looks beautiful and takes minutes to plate up. My favorite is peach jam. If it’s a casual get together, I love popcorn topped with herbs and maybe some parmesan cheese. Popcorn is so budget-friendly and is a safe choice for those with food allergies.
What are your go-to entrees?
If I’m having a fall/winter dinner party, I love a crockpot roast over polenta. It’s so easy to make up ahead of time and keep warm until time to serve. It looks really pretty plated up with the polenta, topped with the roast and vegetables. For the summer, I love a pasta or an assortment of flatbreads.
What are your go-to desserts?
For the fall, I love this easy apple dessert recipe using instant oatmeal packets! For the summer, this gluten free pound cake with vodka strawberry sauce is mouth-watering delicious!
What are your go-to beverages?
I have a special place in my heart for champagne! 🙂 Here is a simple drink recipe or formula you can use for a great budget-friendly option – MIX 1| Champagne/White Wine + 2| Juice of your choosing (Pineapple, Grapefruit, Mango, etc) + 3| Cut up mixed fruit (Strawberries, blueberries, pineapple, etc) = easy and cost effective drink. Have fun coming up with your own concoction and give it a fun name!
What do you usually bring to a potluck?
Since I can’t have gluten, I usually do a salad to make sure there’s something hearty for me to eat. I have fun adding really great stuff to my salads – nuts, fruit, cheese, etc. It usually reflects the season and vibe of the potluck. Another great thing to take to a potluck is a trifle dessert. It’s beautiful, easy to throw together, and all you have to do is add a spoon and it’s ready to serve.
Do you decorate for the festivities?
Usually, but don’t underestimate the hosting power of flowers and lighting! A gorgeous centerpiece of flowers take a plain table and create a fun vibe! Here are some additional ideas of how to create a budget-friendly dinner party.
Tell us about the best party you’ve ever hosted.
I think this would have to be my husband’s 40th birthday party. I threw him a Mad Men themed party. The details were so fun and he LOVED it, so that’s really what meant the world to me.
What’s your biggest hostess challenge?
I think the biggest struggle I have is with the guest list – both deciding who to invite and then being prepared if people RSVP a day before or cancel minutes before. That’s really hard when you’ve worked so hard on something and spent so much time planning.
What’s your best tip for someone who wants to be a great party hostess?
Have fun with the decorations and food, but remember to keep the focus on your guests! The best hostess, in my book, is one where guests leave saying, “I felt so special and loved.”
Well I know that I’m inspired to get my friends together for a fun night of champagne and popcorn. Hopefully you’ve been inspired (and a little less intimidated if party planning isn’t your usual jam).
Thanks so much for playing along, Heidi! To check out past hostesses of the month visit the links below:
|Chrystina Noel||Chrystina’s Mom||Sweet Love & Ginger|
|Recipe for Success||
Brigette I Design
Parties for Pennies