How Much Does a Party Actually Cost?

We’ve all been there, you host a party and think you were thrifty and smart about where you spent your money. Then the bills come and you spent way more than you thought.

Use this plan to help you figure out where to spend your money and stay on track:

Start by being realistic with what your party needs. If you are hosting a party for 50 people and your budget is $500 that leaves you with $10 per-person. That may seem like plenty of money but once you’ve ordered $150 of food and bought cups, plates, and plastic forks for $80, that only leaves you with less than $6 each for drinks. Plus you didn’t leave any money for decorations and hopefully you have a space big enough for your party. Your guests will end up drinking cheap beer, in a room with no decorations asking you where the napkins are (Crap! You didn’t even buy napkins). Don’t get us wrong, you can host a great party for $500, if you are careful. But it is always best to think about where you are spending your money before you do.

What do you need to include?

1. Food - Average Cost $10/person

Depending on what time of day you are having your party, food could be between $2-$25 per person. If you just buy some light snacks from the store, a couple dollars per person could be just right. For something a little heartier, pick up some apps from your favorite restaurant. If you are having a full meal catered, that is going to be a big chunk of your budget.

2. Drinks - Average Cost $7/person

Much like your food budget, your drink budget is highly dependent on the kind of party you are planning. Alcohol will always make your party more expensive, but the real expense comes when you give your guests a lot of choices. If you are just buying water bottles and beer you could probably get away with assuming on average people will have about 1.5 beers and 1 bottle of water. You could probably get away with about $3 per person. Start adding in wine, spirits, or a different beer options, it becomes harder to guess what people will want. You could end up spending between $5-$15 per person. Just remember, people always end up buying more alcohol than they need for parties, but if you get something you like that lasts, leftovers won’t seem like such a big deal.

3. Decorations - Average $10/person

No matter where you are having your party, decorations are the most effective way to add ambiance. Simply laying out table cloths can change the feel of a room. Depending on the quality of the decorations, you could spend between $5-$20 per person. A safe bet would be $10 per person.

4. Plates, Cups, Napkins, Utensils - Average $5/person

These are probably the least fun expense for a party, but they can make it infinitely better. When you have a lot of people coming over to your house it seems like an easy solution to buy paper plates, plastic cups and utensils. There are a lot of pros to that options, but for not much more you can rent real plates, cups, etc. It's a small touch that can change the feel of your party and won’t have a huge effect on your budget.

5. Entertainment - Average $8/person

Not every party needs entertainment, but if your party is big enough and you have room in the budget it can be the thing that makes the party memorable. If you have a party that has 30 or more people, live entertainment like a band or a drag queen performance can be amazing and will give your guests something to talk about long after the party has ended. Expect to spend $200 - $300 for entertainment, which translates into $8 per person.

6. Venue - Average $15/Person

Renting an actual venue is something that we would only recommend for an event for a larger event of 60 people or more--though you will get the most value with at least 100 people. There are other options if you are looking for a place to host a smaller group. Restaurants often will have private rooms for larger groups, and require a minimum order per-person. This will likely bring up your food and drink budget but won’t cost as much as renting a space for a small group.

7. Total Cost - Average $30-$60/person

How much you spend on a party is greatly affected by the quality of party you are looking to through.  If you’d like to hear how Bliss can help, let us buy you a coffee. We will talk about your party and give you a quote for how can help you throw a Pier One party on an Ikea budget.

Ivy Estenson