Costly Clubs No More! How to Celebrate New Year's Eve on a Budget
Because spending your savings isn't worth it
Celebrating New Year's Eve in a nightclub can run a partygoer as much as $600 a ticket, at least in New York City, home to the internationally-known Times Square Ball Drop (which many of the same clubbers take for granted, but several thousand tourists savor seeing).
Sure, a premium open bar is promised, along with passed hors d'oeuvres, party favors, and some champagne, but is it worth ringing in the new year spending money you likely made a resolution not to?
Marta Segal Block, editorial director of the online entertainment agency GigMasters, suggests why some are willing to shell out the big bucks.
"I think the increased expense of New Year’s Eve is part of a larger trend of adults celebrating 'party dates'," said Block. "Think about how Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day have increased in importance in the party culture. Adults want excuses to go out and cut loose, and bars, restaurants, and hotels are more than happy to capitalize on that."
But for those who are still looking to live it up on a budget, experienced party planners suggest keeping the holiday at home. Here are some tips on how to do so successfully:
First, according to "Top Chef" judge Padma Lakshmi, a buffet is a better than a strict shindig.
"If you have a sit-down dinner, everyone has to be there by 8 and they have to stay until 10:30 and if the conversation goes long, you have some of the guests like, ‘I have to be up at 6,' she told Fox News. "It’s rough."
But to counter the "flat" buffet table effect, lifestyle guru Karen Brown, who also advises not to do dinner, suggests offering hors d'oeuvres in open suitcases or drawers (stuffed with newspaper and draped with cloth), placing fancy silverware in big wooden bowls or baskets, and serving dessert in martini glasses or on spoons.
And Brown's not shy to admit that take-out items, whether tapas or tortillas, can be plated beautifully. Plus, "you'll have food that can be easily replenished—with a phone call," she told EpiCurious.
However, even if you're being cavalier with the cuisine, don't be about your company.
"If you're serving wine at your party and people are driving home, you're responsible for them," said Lakshmi. "I think it's usually like a glass of wine every 45 minutes to an hour and you should sip slowly."
"Go for a top-quality Cava, Spain’s answer to champagne," Isle told CNN. "The very best can be found for under $20, like the aromatic, minerally Raventos I Blanc Brut Reserva, the apple-floral Avinyo Brut Reserva, and the layered 2008 Gramona Gran Cuvee."
Marley Majcher, however, founder of The Party Goddess, suggests guests bring their own bottles altogether. "You'll be surprised with the variety of drinks you'll have available for everyone to enjoy throughout the night, and of course for the countdown," she told Yahoo!
Also, don't be afraid to implement DIY decor. In fact, reusing and recycling household items is essential.
"You'll stumble across the unexpected and find new uses for the objects around you, giving your party more edge and personal style without spending a ton of money," said Brown, who suggested lining a never-been-used wastebasket with cotton cloth to hold loaves of bread, and filling fishbowls with floating candles.
Majcher adds that looking around for leftover party hats pays off, making "photo-taking that much more fun, and of course adds to the excitement of the ball dropping."
Lastly, aside from feeding guests, you still have to keep them feted, and both Brown and author and illustrator Pamela Layton McMurtry advise inviting a few musicians or artists to perform or display their work during the party. To cut costs of course, recruit local talent.
"Art in the environment is enriching and cool," McMurtry told Yahoo!. Brown added, "Ask a neighborhood bar or coffeehouse who they use, or seek out student talent from a nearby high school or a college music department. It really makes the occasion feel special."
(Still, an iPod playlist is always the "easiest and most thrifty way to handle party music," said Brown.)
So, party on, folks (without the price tag)!