Thursday, August 25, 2011

Abundant Celebration on a Meagre Budget

I’m a romantic…a hopeFUL romantic.  So with the approach of our 24th anniversary, I’m getting excited.  We’re both eager to celebrate the occasion.  Unfortunately, we’ve endured a few financial set-backs this year – as many folk have – so an extravagent meal out or a weekend getaway are just not in our budget.  Instead, we’re planning a special in-home celebration.

Both of us enjoy cooking and consider ourselves “foodies.”  In the past, we’ve sought out various fine dining experiences to help us celebrate our special day and it’s a treat we never tire of. This year, as an alternative, we’ve been pouring over cookbooks and online recipes, developing a menu, hoping to create our very own fine dining experience.

For us, it’s not all about the food – the setting and atmosphere add immensely to the whole experience.  So, before we made any other decisions, we decided on a theme.  This not only guided our menu choices, it also provides decorating ideas, and will influence the wine and music selections, all enhancing the mood.

Celebrating on a shoestring doesn’t have to mean fine dining.  There are other activities and pursuits that, with a little creativity can be planned without breaking the budget.  We’ve had a “winter picnic”on Valentine’s Day, “game tournaments” on birthdays and, for one anniversary a few years ago, we made our very own “spa weekend.”  Prior to that, Hubby had no idea just how good a manicure or facial could feel.  Massage is a welcome, loving touch, (especially for two people suffering chronic back pain,) so I created our own massage table, setting the mood with candles, soft music, a water feature, plenty of clean soft towels, and fragrant oils to intoxicate the senses.  It was a supremely relaxing weekend, without the usual high cost associated with a spa visit.

You needn’t be strapped for cash to design your own events.  In fact, at-home festivities are easily as memorable as the elaborate celebrations we’ve enjoyed or traditional gifts we’ve bought.  It’s the uniqueness and (often) intimate setting which really mark these occasions in our recollections.  It’s like creating your own cards – the sentiment behind the gesture feels somehow more heartfelt.

A tight budget might be the inspiration behind creative event-planning, but it needn’t diminish the joy of the occasion.  With a bit of ingenuity, your thoughtfulness and love can be expressed in fun and exciting ways, and evoke enduring memories.