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I love decorating for banquets! This year I had to go really simple because we had a very limited budget. But I think my girls, their friends, and I pulled it off! We had a great time at the banquet and it’s always sad when another season comes to an end but getting to hang out with these great kids makes it all worth it. I love homeschooling! Have I said that lately? Read on to learn how we planned an affordable athletic banquet (basketball) on a tiny budget.
I literally dreamt about this centerpiece. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to do and then at 4 am I woke up and knew exactly what I wanted to do. Too bad I couldn’t go back to sleep! I took balloon weights, (the big ones) and cut a balloon stick in half (10 inches), and put it in the center of the balloon weight. Then I made a balloon cluster out of 7 balloons and attached them to the clips that came with the sticks.
Then I used my publisher program and printed out the team banners and table numbers on card stock and attached them to balloon sticks and crammed them in the weights. They looked so cool and they were really easy to make. (This would have been even easier had I had a Cricut back then.)
A great way to stretch your money is with balloons. They fill up a space and make everything festive. Plus if you put them on sticks as we did you don’t even have to use helium.
Last year we used a giant roll of paper tablecloth and it was a huge hit with the kids both big and small. So we decided to use it again. Why was the paper such a huge hit? Because you can doodle all over it! Even the adults loved it. Not to mention you get a lot of paper on those rolls. Which makes it great for a tiny budget.
For the runner, we cut black wrapping paper into 3rds. Let me give you a warning about using paper, make sure to have some really good tape on hand because you will need to tape the runner and the tablecloth down on the ends or they will not stay put. I think they may have even used scrapbook dots under the runner. But once in place, they are great! Add crayons and you can doodle on the paper and the runner! We even add candy on the tables which is always a hit!
A close-up of the centerpiece. They turned out so cool and we got lots of compliments! Below shows how we did the buffet tables. Once everything was in place, (very important) I took a giant Sharpie and labeled what everything was. Why did I do that? I saw it on Pinterest and thought it was cool! Haha!
I usually print out a menu because it’s typically catered, but this year it was only partially catered (the meat, slaw, and cake) and everyone else divided up the sides that are typically catered. It made identifying the sides quick and easy since there were 4 or more containers of baked beans, mac, and cheese, and so forth. It eliminated the question, “What is this?” and I didn’t have to make place cards for each dish. And then there’s the cake with each team and players’ names on it! Yum!
Having this banquet partially catered really helped to stretch the budget and the parents were more than willing to help.
To mark the beginning of the buffet, I wrote a big “Welcome to the Stallions Banquet!” so there would be no question as to where the line should start. Plus, I was in a doodling mood! We wound up with about 130 players, parents, siblings, and family members in attendance.
I love this picture because you can see how many people were there and you can really see how the decorations look in the space. It was a huge space! This is Emily, her friend, Brandon, and the Varsity Girls’ team (isn’t he lucky!) goofing off and chowing down. Now I know where the missing crockpot of nacho dip went! You have been caught! Ha!
Another way to plan an affordable athletic banquet on a tiny budget is to look within your families for facilities you can use for the banquet for free or at a great price. One of our parents happened to work for Hendrick’s Racing and they gave us a great price. A big Thank You to Hendrick’s Motor Sports for letting us use their Team Center for our banquet. It is a great facility and you are so welcoming!
Don’t forget about a trophy table! Use this to showcase your program’s accomplishments throughout the years. Cover with a tablecloth and attach banners. Those trophies were great decor on their own. We brought just a few trophies this year instead of all of them and we also used the tables to hold the shirts and awards the players would be getting from their coaches.
These are just some of my favorite pics of the evening. It was so hard to choose! The first is my sweet boy Spencer getting his awards; the second is Lindsey receiving her Senior recognition from her longtime coach Phil; the 3rd is my daughter Becca and her BFF Lindsey; the 4th is Jonathan an honorary coach of the varsity boys team with his cowboy hat, he is the sweetest, and the 5th is a really cool picture of Emily’s BFF Karley and Kara that are on the varsity girls team.
Another tip to make your banquet fun is to include posters that fans made over the season to hang on the walls or from tables. Super affordable for your banquet! They’re free! Also, use balloons because they are always festive. Instead of hiring a photographer let different people take turns taking pictures of the evening. I didn’t take a single shot all night. My camera was passed from my kids to their friends all night. Luckily I really trust them, but they took the coolest pics I’ve ever had. Wish I had room to show them all to you but you can go to my Facebook page if you want to see more!
One thing this banquet proved to me was that we didn’t have to have a large budget for the athletes and their parents to have a blast. I hope these tips help you to plan an incredible, affordable athletic banquet.
Check out the Shop The Post images below for some affordable athletic banquet party inspiration. Be sure to check out my other planners here.