9 Party-Planning Tips You Don't Have to Be a Real Housewife to Afford
Kevin Lee knows how to throw a party. Anyone who religiously watches Real Housewives of Beverly Hills knows this to be true; he's the brains behind Lisa Vanderpump's daughter's wedding and a number of Lisa's grand get togethers.
But Kevin's not just the go-to planner for reality stars; he also organized the nuptials of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt, as well as Drew Barrymore and Tom Green. He regularly throws to-do's for other A-listers including Tom Cruise, Oprah Winfrey, and Adam Sandler.
Clearly, Kevin's a pro when it comes to throwing lavish parties when no expense is spared. But what about real-life soirées, where budgets matter?
We recently caught up with Kevin to see how his party-planning tips translate for those outside of Hollywood. And it turns out that the secret to Kevin's success is that he can adapt his vision to any budget, in any location, starting with these nine tips.
Invest in Conversation
All the trappings of a luxurious party are meaningless unless guests have fun. And the best way to have a great time? Excellent conversation! "It's free," Kevin says. "Let's have a good conversation — and a glass of wine."
Alcohol Is Alcohol — at Any Price
He's overseen parties with the most lavish bar set-ups imaginable, but Kevin nonetheless recommends not blowing a budget on pricey booze. "Alcohol, to me, is all the same," he says. "It doesn’t matter if you pay $10, or $5, or $100 a bottle — alcohol is alcohol."
Go Paperless on Invites
Gone are the days when it was necessary to send formal invitations. Printed and mailed invitations can be so pricey that it's perfectly acceptable to choose the digital route with a site like Evite. "Go online," Kevin advises.
Invite Only the People You Love Most
Resist the pressure to include acquaintances or anyone you don't really know. Smaller parties allow a host to extend luxurious gestures toward the guests who do make the cut. "Enjoy it and have a good time with good friends," Kevin suggests. "That’s the best way to go."
Flowers, Flowers, Flowers
“I think that’s the first thing you should do," Kevin says of buying flowers. As a spokesperson for BloomNation, Kevin's in a good position to advocate for using flowers whenever possible. Flowers are indisputably a budget-friendly way to up a party's glamour quotient. "Go and choose what you like," he advises.
A shortcut to truly glamorous decor is thinking seasonally. "Have four different themes around the year," Kevin suggests. By narrowing down the possible scenarios you are prepared to decorate around, you can save a lot of money.
Use What You Have
Throwing a party should be an excuse to use what you have, so break out your favorite dinnerware and linens when entertaining guests. "You don't have to match everything," Kevin says. Just bring out "beautiful, colorful napkins and plates."
Elaborate Tabletops Need Not Be Expensive
When it comes to decorating tables at your soirée, fancy need not be expensive. Kevin recommends turning to stores like Homegoods, Pottery Barn, and Target for chic objéts with which to decorate your tabletop. Kevin especially loves candles of different color and height. He says, "With beautiful candles around, you're good to go!"
Say No to Restaurants and Venues
Forgo spending part of your budget on renting a venue. After all, even the Real Housewives throw parties at home every now and again. Kevin urges everyone to consider doing the same. "It doesn’t matter where you are if your heart is there and the love is there," he says.