Last week, we touched on getting started and what are the “must haves” of party planning.  This week, Natasha provides us with some great ways to save money and keep your guests engaged. 



 “Wowing” your guests on a budget

Much of entertaining is visual, according to Freitas. Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank to create a stunning display.

For example, instead of buying white table linens, you can purchase white sheets. Sometimes you can even find these at thrift stores for a fraction of the cost of table linens.

Rather than china, purchase hard white plastic (melamine) and add a charger made of burlap or another fabric under each plate. If you must use plastic utensils, choose gold or silver which is not much more expensive than plain plastic but creates a more elegant table.

And most importantly, says Freitas, use greenery from your own yard. This is where living in Hawaii is a huge advantage!

“I’m spoiled, I can walk outside and make you a bouquet,” said Freitas.

Freitas favors selecting a variety of greenery, such as ti plants, avocado leaves or areca palms (which can last up to three days out of water), zip tying them together, and placing them in a glass cup. For a dramatic centerpiece, gather bottles, zip tie them together and place a mixture of greenery in each bottle. If your foliage is long enough to cascade over the zip tie, you won’t even need to cover it up!

“Greenery is an important thing because it looks so beautiful and lush,” says Freitas.

Star fruit is visually stunning and has multiple uses. Freitas has used it in water in lieu of lemons or cucumber, and she’s put a slice on top of an orchid on each plate before dinner starts.

Freitas advises clients to look around their homes and see what accessories they already own that can be of use.

"Maybe you have a beautiful vase that you can use for a lemonade pitcher instead of a vase or glass jars that are perfect for olives during a cocktail hour," she said.


Keep them entertained

The most important rule when it comes to entertaining is to keep your guests busy from the time they arrive to the time they leave, said Freitas. Music is always welcome, as is providing your guests with a conversational topic.  A program or a thank you letter for each guest is one way to do that.

Favors create conversation as well. Freitas has used painted rocks with an explanation for where each rock came from, or even different types of salt, such as Himalayan and Hawaiian salt. Guests then had an to opportunity read about where each salt originated from and why it has taken on a certain color and mix different types to take with them.

Now that you have additional tips from a pro as to how to up your entertaining game, it’s time to plan your next party!  


Natasha Freitas can be found on Instagram at @islandlivinghawaii and on Facebook at Angels of Aloha.

Photos are courtesy of Freitas: Beach-themed wedding favors and decorations created by Natasa using simple objects such as wine bottles, sand, shells and raffia; and, starfruit is a lovely way to decorate a water glass.