Gwen also suggests fondue as an effortless way to feed a crowd. She says staying simple doesn't mean sacrificing sophistication.
"I love to have an hors d'oeuvres and cocktail party. That's it! Hors d'oeuvres, cocktails, and dessert," Gwen said.
A hands-on approach, from homemade potato chips to a brownie bar, makes for less clean up.
"Inexpensive, really fun, interactive ... It gets everyone involved, everybody talking. And, using scraps of brownies, it really costs you very little," Gwen said.
Gwen also says that brunch is a budget-friendly way to have a great get-together.
Putting your signature item alongside some store-bought sides is all you need, if everything is presented elegantly.
"Have a potluck. Have everyone bring a signature casserole, their favorite dish. You make one as well," Gwen said for those who are looking for a more hearty party.
For budget-conscious decorating ideas, ABC7 went to party planner Brian Dobbin. His tips in Orange Coast Magazine's "Party Time" issue include using tree lights for the table, turning a fabric remnant into a table runner and painting old candle holders.
Dobbin also says you can go green with your décor.
"It's either organic, biodegradable, or from nature and costs very little to do. Starting with the chargers, these are old plant stands from the garden. I just found them, so found things are fun to work with," Dobbin said.
Not to mention the things you find are also free.
"It's a really great alternative to the fancy table. For me, I think a guy can put this table together, maybe surprise his wife. It's very masculine and fall-like," said Dobbin.
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