Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Hosting a surprise party for 40 on a budget

Well, we pulled it off.  This event (on top of studio obligations and out of town guests) is what has kept me away from posting.  So, here is what we did.

DH felt we should do something for the milestone birthday that was coming up for my DF (aka Gpa P or Pops) In his family, big events were always a part of big milestones.  His family even threw us a big party after we got married out of state, though we didn't expect one.  So it's what he wanted done! We started brainstorming two months ago.  Since we both work full time (and alternating hours) the only day we could truly pull it off was on our one day off together, a Sunday.

We had to time it with out of town guests before we invited the guest list (gleaned by 'stealing' Gpa P's phone for the night).  We planned for the Sunday four days before his actual birthday.  Ok, date and time chosen, guest list planned.

Now, how much can we conceivably do ourselves, and how much do we have to order in.

Cake for our family is always from lucibellospastry.com in New Haven.  This is the bakery we go to for all sweet creations.  Cookies, Italian Pastries and of course our cakes.  (As you all know, I love to bake, but I would never try to do a cake like this)  We ordered a half sheet Italian Cream cake with chocolate and vanilla cream and whipped cream frosting. No fruit, No Rum.   I still find their cakes to be so reasonably priced.  Just $55.00 for this beauty!

DS picked this up and paid for it. She also provided a crudite tray with delicious dip that she made with plain greek yogurt, dill and other spices and a cheese and cracker plate.  I don't have a price on those items.

Two cases of water from Shop Rite including deposit $8.16

Ten 2 liter bottles of assorted soda from Target, including deposit $10.43

Four bottles of wine (only one partially left) and a case of Corona beer $72.40

We made sausage and peppers, marinated in Kraft Zesty Italian dressing grilled and finished in the oven Chicken drumsticks and thighs (six pounds each), A tossed salad with tomato, cucumber, black sliced olives and assorted dressings already in the house, and four pounds of ziti and sauce (jarred) Total for all of these items at BJ's warehouse $86.84 (I had a $20.00 credit to use to get it down to this).

My favorite produce market where they also get Bread and Chocolate Breads in daily.  5 different loaves purchased for $12.26  (Ok, I misjudged this purchase, and I have frozen two baguettes for future meals)

Ice at Big Y $6.99 for 32 pounds (this was to put the beer and water into a cooler)

We also had three stuffed breads (broccoli/cheese, spinach/cheese, pepperoni/cheese), a Large tray of Broccoli Rabe and Sausage and a Large tray of Eggplant Rollatini and a large tray of roasted vegetables catered by http://www.giuliospizza.com/catering.htm    I will admit, this was not our first choice, however we had to go with a caterer who was available to deliver the time we needed.  I was pleasantly surprised.  On time delivery, more servings for less money, and it was all GOOD!   I would ask for more rabe and less sausage if I ever order this again.  Total spent with caterer $281.00.

We already had enough plasticware and sturdy disposable dishware from previous events as well as wine cups and napkins.

Total spent from my funds $478.08.  Our max to spend was $500.00.  What was left over?

Half the cake.  Half of the chicken.  Most of the salad, One tray of ziti.  Most of the vegetables.  Half of the broccoli rabe/sausage. A quarter of the eggplant.  Two loaves of bread.  Our sausage and peppers was completely eaten. The stuffed breads completely eaten.   I have been loving having a big salad made (it's now in gallon ziploc bags) and my DS took half of the roasted vegetables home leaving me the other half.  I'm a veggie gal first!

Not that we plan on having another party soon, but I will remember that we totally over cooked/bought food.  Even with 40 people, they didn't eat as much as we thought.  They also didn't eat the healthier options, LOL.  The beer and wine went however.

As mentioned earlier, I froze two loaves of bread.  Whatever chicken is left when I get home tonight will be frozen for a future meal.  The eggplant rollatini has been eaten by the house (we have an out of town guest til the end of the month) and half of the rabe which I anticipate will be gone by time I get home tonight.  There is still ziti which might be gone.  So no cooking Monday or Tuesday this week!

How does one plan on how much food to purchase for such a large gathering?

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I think you did an amazing job getting the most for your budget! And it sounds like people didn't leave hungry since you have so many leftovers - which is an additional gift for you in a break from cooking and some future frozen meals! As a fellow Connecticut blogger, I have to agree...Lucibello is yummy!


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