How to host a party without stressing you or your budget

I am hosting 16 couples at my house tomorrow night. Typically, I would consider planning this kind of event to be a financial and emotional nightmare. However, this event is so well planned (not by me) that the only thing I am feeling is anticipation. Let me share some of this party’s simple secrets.

1. It is a progressive dinner. The appetizers will be served at my house, dinner will be at another person’s house, and dessert will be at a third person’s house. Sharing responsibilities makes everything easier.

2. I'm not in charge. The person planning the party does not live in one of the three host houses. This means that the house hosts didn’t have to pay for invitations or postage. We also don’t have to bother with RSVPs.

3. It is pot-luck. People with last names beginning with A-L are bringing appetizers and beverages with them to my house. My only contribution is ice (which is a good thing, because that is about all I know how to make!)

4. We’ll be outside. Mother Nature is saving me money and time by providing the décor.

5. I’m borrowing supplies. In lieu of renting or buying things like wine glasses and chairs, I am borrowing from the neighbors.

Finally, this time I pledge to remember that people will best remember the time we shared together, not my efforts at perfect party planning.

For more ideas on budget entertaining, check out the online home of 4 Reluctant Entertainers. If you have ideas for painless party planning, please share them through the comments section.

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.