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Parties for Peanuts

High-end event designer David Stark plans two unique celebrations—each on a budget of $25,000.


Illustration by Gluekit.  

CHEAP RECEPTION NO. 1
Champagne-and-Dessert Party, Downtown
Saturday, 9 p.m.–midnight; 125 guests


Bring Your Sweet Tooth
632 on Hudson is the perfect spot. Reserve it from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m., and start the party at nine. Guests will eat dinner prior, so you’ll save money on food, rentals, setup, and breakdown. You can have the ceremony on the upper landing with guests watching from below. Set up a D.J. and use the Great Hall as the dance area.
... $7,635.

Guarantee Good Lighting
Buy candles from Jamali Garden Supplies, and scatter them in every room—on ledges, mantels, and tabletops. Do few flowers; 632 has vases you may use.
... $800.

Save on Décor
The venue is already superchic. The dining room has surfaces that would be a shame to cover, so no linens. Stemware should be basic, and factor in at least three glasses per person. No plates are needed for the bite-size desserts. Get all rentals—stemware, cake forks, paper cocktail napkins, and high-top cocktail tables—from Party Rental Limited.
... $1,100.

Pop the Bubbly ...
Champagne offers a sense of occasion, but Nino Franco Rustico prosecco is delicious, too. Bring in all your booze from Astor Wines.
... $2,005.

... And Keep It Flowing
Hire two bartenders and two bussers from T and L Events’ the Party Crew—so that drinks are repoured and empty glasses are continually cleared. No need for a bathroom attendant—at an intimate party like this one it seems sort of grand.
... $1,250
... not including gratuity.

Dessert Is Served!
At 9:45 p.m., offer a buffet of mini black- and-white cookies, macarons, shortbread, caramel, chocolate-layer bars, mini chocolate whoo-pee pies, and more. Order it from One Girl Cookies, in addition to a buttercream wedding cake—theirs is only $500.
... $3,000.

Play That Funky Music
A D.J. can cost $3,000 to $5,000, but Dub Spot D.J. School has low rates. I love D.J. Reborn, Hard Hitting Harry, and JP Solis. 632 has a fantastic built-in sound system, so there are huge savings there.
... $1,000.

Snap!
Get a basic package from a top photographer. Christian Oth runs a tight ship; I’d trust any photographer in his stable.
... $4,950.

Total cost... $21,740.

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