How to Throw a Low-Waste, Low-Budget Party Without Ruining the Fun

I started planning my Sweet Sixteen about 360 days before I turned sixteen.
I think everyone who came had a pretty good time. I'm not really a party person- I was into the whole "Sweet Sixteen" thing more for the party planning than the actual party- but I found myself having a great time, too. A big reason I enjoyed the night was the peace of mind that minimal BS went into the party- that is, no unnecessary money and very little physical garbage.
How did I do it and still make the party fun for antisocial nerds like me? It was simple.

Mail invitations are elegant, but sending an invite over text has many advantages:
>Use less paper
>Don't have to pay postage
>You can pester people to RSVP
-If you want a fancy invitation, design one on a Word Document and send it as a PDF.
-Don't ask for a certain style of dress (like semiformal).  That way, your guests don't feel the need to go out and buy a new outfit just for one party.

The Scene
Throwing a party at your house helps you out because you don't have to pay for a venue or worry about working with owners (besides your family haha).
-Turn a tight living room into a good dancing/mingling room by moving the furniture to the edges of the room.  That way, people can still sit down, but the center of the room is reserved for action.
-Hang LED Christmas lights around the room.  They don't take much electricity, plus they create ~ambiance~ and lighting for taking pics.

The Food
Mini/individual foods minimize waste because people can take just what they want.  Handheld foods eliminate the need for disposable silverware.
-Hummus and/or guacamole with veggie chips and/or veggies
-Set out brownies/cupcakes, frosting, and sprinkles, and let guests decorate their own.
-For my Sweet Sixteen, my dad baked mini pizzas from scratch.  If you're not lucky enough to have a dad whose secret calling is pizza-man, try this:  Set up a make-your-own pizza bar with English muffins or mini bagels, tomato sauce, cheese, and veggies.  Once each person builds their pizza, broil the pizzas for a couple of minutes until everything is good and melty on top.

When you can, choose reusable dishes like your own ceramic plates and cups.  If you don't trust your guests not to break them, make paper plates your first choice first choice because they're biodegradable.
-Instead of cans and bottles of drinks, set out pitchers of water and a couple of other drinks. I had lemonade because we're good kids.
-You can find recyclable, plant-based plastic cups at Publix.  I think they're this brand.
-You may be tempted to recycle dishware like paper plates and plastic cups, but remember that if there's food on it, it will mess up the recycling machines.  Rinse everything really well, but when in doubt, it may be better just to throw one thing away rather than force the recycling plant to throw an entire "batch"(I'm sure there's a better word) of materials away.

The Playlist
This doesn't really fit into low-waste, but my sister was my Sweet Sixteen DJ and the playlist was FIRE.  Actual good music.  Link to it. 

Party Favors
For my Sweet Sixteen, I got a bunch of little succulents from Home Depot and gave them to my guests.  They were less than a dollar each.  People LOVED the succulents.  These are mine now- they grew a lot.

Quick note to all my readers, since at least 50% of my readers are my parents: I absolutely cannot take credit for putting together this whole fancy schmancy party by myself. My family should be commended for putting up with my passionate planning and helping me make it happen. I highly recommend enlisting the help of the people you are closest to when throwing a party- the more people who are on board with your low-waste and low-budget plans, the cooler the party will be.

Let me know if you try any of these ideas.  I'd love to read your comments below or see your photos on Instagram, Facebook, or email!

Until then, savvo 'lass a lalaith,
Heather <3

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