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Tips for holiday entertaining: 6 budget friendly & DIY ideas from a pro

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‘Tis the season for family gatherings and holiday parties. There are many creative ways to spice up your affair, even on a budget, says expert party host and professional event planner Renee Patrone, of Events by Renee. Patrone handles numerous weddings, fundraisers and special events in the Philadelphia area, including the National Constitution Center’s Glitter City Gala New Year’s Eve Party, but you don’t have to be a professional event planner to throw a party like a pro, Patrone says. She recommends making your next holiday get-together an affair to remember with these 6 DIY and budget friendly Holiday Entertaining Ideas.

  1. DIY Photobooth Complete with Holiday Themed Props: Patrone recommends Papersource.com for a great selection of easy to make props. Grab an old school polaroid camera, she suggests, and snap away! If party guests are using their cell phones instead- create a hashtag for the evening where guests can look back at the photos taken via social media avenues.
  2. Create the Perfect Playlist: Ask guests to give you their 3 favorite holiday or party songs in advance- include them all on your playlist for that evening.
  3. Offer a Champagne Bar: Have dry champagne chilled and accessible for guests, Patrone suggests, and include additions like pomegranate seeds, raspberry liquor, strawberries, chocolate. Have a few drink recipes framed on the bar to give guests instant inspiration. OR, Patrone adds, create a cocktail self-serve bar. “Provide the ingredients and let your guests be their own mixologists! Poinsettia Punch is a personal favorite of mine,” Patrone says.
  4. Personalize Wine Glasses: Purchase affordable wine and champagne glasses at places like Ikea or the dollar store, Patrone advises, and paint the base with chalkboard paint, give guests chalk and have them write their names and doodle on them. Missing glasses are always a problem but this is a wonderful solution! As a parting gift, encourage guests to take them home.
  5. Serve Naughty & Nice Desserts: One dessert should be decadent, Patrone says, while the other is lighter, adding that guests will enjoy trying a bite of each.
  6. Hire Help: Many event planning companies offer services like Events by Renee’s Host Helper service. For $25 per hour you can hire someone to take coats, clear the dishes, serve drinks and clean your kitchen, Patrone says, promising, It’s worth the investment! The best tip to ensure a memorable event, she adds, is for guests to see the host having a good time too!
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