Sterling Ultimate Host Challenge # 1: Entertaining on a Dime

Entertaining doesn’t have to be expensive (says the girl who just dropped way more money than she cares to admit on a lavish wedding at a ritzy resort.) Let me rephrase — entertaining can be really pricey… but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of simple, savvy ways to cut costs and be a thrifty hostess. Here are a few of my favorite ideas:

DIY Details
Get crafty and make your own centerpieces. You need not drop dollars on fancy flowers. Try filling a vase with lemons or limes for a colorfully cool table anchor.

Potlock Parties
Rather than catering in lots of food or spending money at a gourmet market, ask each of your guests to bring his or her favorite dish to the affair.

Serve Wine and One Signature Cocktail
Stocking a full service bar can cost mega money. So instead of offering every imaginable type of drink, stick with one type of red wine and one type of white. Then offer one signature cocktail as an alternative.

Do you have any smart money-saving tips for budding party planners? Enter Sterling’s Ultimate Host Challenge by Sept. 25 by submitting your 'entertaining on a dime' ideas. You could be selected to fly to New York City to face off in a live grand-finale competition with three other haute hostesses.

Good luck and happy hosting!