Q: I have offered to throw a baby shower in January for my best friend...she suggested that we go to a restaurant so that nobody has to have the burden of being the hostess. (We live in different states, so I can't host the event or else I would.)
My mind immediately went to the cost of renting a space and feeding 15 women lunch! ... Do you have any thoughts on ways to be frugal in terms of decorations or food without sacrificing the feeling that it is a special occasion?
A: Let's talk out-of-town logistics. You may want to consider renting a public space for a nominal fee and buying a cake from a local grocery. Does your friend's church, city park, or local library have a special meeting room available? Punch, cake, nuts and mints are really all you need to offer. Bring along your own sale-purchased paper goods and ingredients.
Compare that time and expense to the cost of renting a special restaurant or tea room. You may find that the $10 lunch per guest is cheaper than renting a room, buying a cake, and furnishing your own decoration. Most Southern showers involve light refreshments rather than a full meal. Restaurants should charge less for off-peak hours in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon.
Your friend will feel honored by your gesture, no matter how you decorate. For January, I think a soft white scheme with hundreds of paper snowflakes would be easy to transport. (Start raiding the office recycling bin now!) I'll send you to Homespun Heart for more inexpensive party decorations.
Readers, any ideas for hosting or decorating the perfect out-of-town baby shower...on a budget?