Have you ever seen that HGTV show, The High Low Project? The host shows us a wildly expensive room, and then redecorates another room in that style for a fraction of the original budget. That is sort of how Andrea’s Neon Glow Dance Party came to be.
Mom Elizabeth was inspired by Amber Pugmire’s Neon Glow Party, featured on Kara’s Party Ideas. But she wanted to bring the party in for about $345. Elizabeth asked me to help her plan the party and figure out how to spend her budget wisely. (Planning a party? Try my Custom Party Plan.)
So here are my 7 Best Neon Glow Party Budget Tips.
TIP 1: What we very quickly determined is that the difference between “neon” and “glow in the dark” = savings. This site has great ideas for a glow-in-the-dark party. But here’s the thing: glow in the dark products that actually glow are expensive — as are the black lights required to bring out the glow. And, fluorescent items often only glow in a yellow-green shade. So my number one tip for you is to focus on “neon” and de-emphasize fluoresence. We added touches of glow: fluorescent necklaces, plates, and straws, keeping the other colors to neon.
TIP 2: If you fall in love with an expensive party element, figure out a way to recreate that idea less expensively. Elizabeth found a tulle table skirt that was backlit with Christmas lights. But those kinds of skirts can run $100 or more. So I made her a garland with 6″ neon sparkle tulle. It gave her a touch of the ideal look for pennies on the dollar. (See my tutorial here.)
TIP 3: Minimize the dessert table. My original plan included a cake plus three baked goods, instead of a show-stopper dessert table with custom-made treats. Elizabeth decided to expand her budget to include candy and chose rainbow Twizzlers, Laffy Taffy, Skittles, and Neon Sour Gummy Worms. Birthday girl Andrea and her baby sitter made chocolate dipped pretzel sticks and neon pinwheel sugar cookies, and Elizabeth added brownie bites topped with jumbo confetti sprinkles. I’m sure most of us grew up with cake and ice cream only at our parties, and truthfully, as fun as a full-blown dessert table is, this is a gracious plenty.
TIP 4: Borrow. Lucky Elizabeth has a party planner as a friend, so I lent her my tablecloths and serving pieces. Another friend lent a photo printing system that let the girls color Warhol-style self portraits. Ask around and see if your friends have items they wouldn’t mind you borrowing.
TIP 5: If you do need to purchase items, make them investment pieces. Black tablecloths, white serving pieces and apothecary jars are items you will use over and over. None of them have to be very costly if you shop around. We purchased neon fabric for table runners, and you’ll be seeing those again in my Etsy shop (turned into fabric tie garlands).
TIP 6: Find your key party colors in a low-cost form. For us, that was Duck Tape. See how to make my $20 dessert table backdrop here. I also used Duck Tape for the front door decoration (tutorial here). And that leads me to …
TIP 7: Do it yourself. Try to plan ahead enough that you can craft your own decorations and make your own desserts, like we did. You won’t save time, but you will save money.
Let’s check out the party!
Andrea really wanted a dance party, so that’s what the girls did most of the time. When the guests arrived, each had her photo taken against a white backdrop. Elizabeth printed these out for the girls to colorize with neon markers. For the other activities, Elizabeth helped the girls divide into groups so they could rotate stations with a minimum of chaos.
The neon accessories area included glow bracelets and necklaces, neon socks, neon hair extensions, neon net gloves, and two styles of neon jelly bracelets. The hugely popular items were the neon nail polish and glow in the dark lip glosses. Two days after the party, my daughter is still putting on all her neon swag each morning!
Upstairs, Elizabeth served a pizza dinner. We set the dining table to coordinate with the dessert table, using another black tablecloth and neon pink runner. You don’t even have to sew the runners; just press and fold!
For party favors, Elizabeth made good old fashioned mixed tapes, CD style. We packed those in neon handled sacks that the girls also used to take home their accessories and candy from the dessert table.
For even more neon party ideas, visit my Neon Party Pinterest board.
Party Styling and Photography: Double the Fun Parties
Printables: Pink Pickle Parties
Cake: Barb the Cake Lady