By Lisa Olson
“That’s so cute! I wish it was on Pinterest!”
This phrase would have meant nothing less than two years ago, but now is a compliment that any social media-savvy woman would be delighted to hear. Launched in March 2010, Pinterest is the No. 3 social media site in the world with over 10 million users, 97 percent women. With the most popular topics on Pinterest being Home, Arts and Crafts, Style and Food, it’s no surprise that putting some extra effort into those categories has become a noteworthy trend for millennial women. For college students on a budget, it can be difficult to incorporate that extra dose of inspiration and styling into everyday life, but entertaining is the perfect excuse to bring your Pinterest boards to life.
Members of the Texas Belles Event Planning Organization at the University of Texas, a professional group for students pursuing careers in the event planning industry, tend to have highly curated Pinterest boards with plenty of advice for achieving a Pinterest-worthy look at your next party.“If in doubt, be bold but simple,” says Christina Ramirez, a member of Belles. “Using colors and prints can be a very cheap source of decorations. Try staying on a color theme—that even works with food! For example, adding colored sugar to the rim of the glass really dresses up the drink and makes it more entertaining for guests.”
Ramirez also advises using décor you already own to make a party extra special: pieces like vases, candle holders and floral arrangements will make a party setup look intentional and a fun tablecloth can tie everything together. If you don’t have tablecloths, buy a few yards of fabric in your favorite print for as little as $6 a yard at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s.
Carly Ortel, one of the social chairs for Belles, emphasizes the importance of styling snacks and drinks. “I think that candy and dessert tables are fun, especially if you play the theme into them: burnt orange candies for a graduation party, s’mores for winter, etc.” She also suggests serving drinks from glass containers with spigots, especially if you throw in some fresh fruit to make the presentation more elegant.
Beyond a color scheme and things to snack on, a party could not be Pinterest-worthy without details. Signage for your food and drinks or special activities around the party is an easy do-it-yourself project that only requires a printer and a unique font or two. Some easy added details that only cost a few dollars, but make a big statement, include striped straws, cupcake toppers and swizzle sticks, all readily available at craft stores, Paper Source or Etsy for less than $10 apiece.
Another easy way to bring an extra dose of style to your party is to arrange fresh flowers. Austin Flower Company sells a huge variety of blooms at wholesale prices (prices range depending on flower type and season, but vary from about $7 for a bouquet of gerbera daisies to $7 a stem for peonies), so pick out a few bunches of your favorite flower to complement your color theme, and arrange them in unique vessels. Mason jars, julep cups and even glass bottles make beautiful vases that people will remember.
Since all of your guests will be anxious to snap Instagram pictures of your party, be sure to provide them with the perfect backdrop. A sheet, blanket or piece of fabric hung from a wall is an instant, budget-friendly photo backdrop, and when you include props or signage, taking pictures of the event becomes entertainment as well.