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Weddings aren’t just pricey for the bride and the groom - they take a toll on the guests’ wallets as well! With all the pre-wedding soirees, the couples BFFs - AKA the party planning crack team - usually end up racking up pretty impressive bills. But good news, there are a few techniques to cut costs along the way. If you’ve been tasked with putting together the engagement party - or any other wedding adjacent event - these tips should save you from emptying your accounts before you’ve even glanced at the registry.

Here are some tips for planning an engagement party on a budget.

Cut down the guest list
You may be tempted to invite everyone to the engagement party, but if you can manage to cut a few names we recommend doing so. Try and limit the guest list to people very close to the happy couple, like parents, grandparents, siblings and BFFs - you can save second cousins, childhood schoolmates and gym buddies for the big day. Hosting fewer people means that you can allot more of the budget toward important things like food and decorations (it may even be the difference between serving Instagrammable hors d’oeuvres and microwavable pizza bagels).

Tip: regardless of the size of your guest list, everyone who receives an invite to the engagement party should also receive an invitation to the wedding. Have the couple review your choices before sending out those invites to save them from dealing with awkward encounters later down the line.

DIY decorations
Instead of making the trip to The Bay to stock up on Kate Spade serving trays and stationery try flexing your crafting muscles a bit. Find a few affordable projects on Pinterest and YouTube to dial back your spending. This will also ensure that the look of your party is 100% one of a kind. If you haven’t got a bottomless drawer of supplies, opt for a minimalistic look. Turn a few glasses into votives, pick up a few faux flowers at Michaels and repurpose some pieces from holidays past - nobody will know your leafy garlands are actually christmas decorations if you disguise them well enough.

Skip hiring entertainers
Your guests will not expect you to hire sword swallowers, fortune tellers or a string quartet for your party, so don’t go overboard. All you really need is a killer playlist to set the mood, so invest a little time scrolling through iTunes and Spotify instead of trying to find a live act. If you’re worried about your bash being anything less than fabulous, you can always hunt for a few games or group activities to add in to your itinerary.

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Go with a simple menu
When it comes to food, the simpler the better. Skip planning an elaborate multi-course meal and stick to serving appetizers. If you time your party right - AKA after dining hours - your guests won’t be hangry or starved, so chips, dips and crostini should suit them just fine. A simpler menu also means you can sort out the food yourself instead of hiring a caterer, which will save you a few extra loonies and toonies.

Don’t do gifts
This is a party, not a shower, so guests shouldn’t be bringing along any gifts. That means you, the host, shouldn’t feel pressured to return the favour with favours. If you do want to give them a little somethin’ somethin’ when the party draws to a close, think about going for something cheap and cheerful, like cookies or a homemade snack.

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