small event ideas

We have reviewed the best Small Event Ideas on this page for your satisfaction. You can browse the page for types of small events. If you want the best creative event planning ideas, then this post is most suited for you.

Events serve an important business purpose. They help establish a brand, market products, gain clientele, raise funds, and increase employee morale. Luckily, as important as events are, they don’t have to break the bank. Here are some tried-and-true event ideas to help you wow attendees and bosses on a tight budget.

types of small events

Small Event Ideas

You may intuitively think that a customized event theme is costly. However, themes actually narrow down choices for catering and decorating. A theme not only makes the event less expensive by avoiding decoration overload, it also creates a more cohesive guest experience. That’s because:

  • Each element—from promotion and decoration to food and entertainment—becomes décor. That means there’s less to buy in the way of decorations.
  • It’s important to satisfy guests’ five senses at any event. With a theme, an event planner can determine the most effective, yet least expensive way to do that.  
  • The element of surprise doesn’t cost a thing but adds “wow” to events. A theme can help transform a room into an altered reality, might include a surprise guest, or involve an interactive guest activity.

As important as events are, they don’t have to break the bank.click to tweetBring successful events to life on a budgetGet Started Free

Keeping Catering Costs Down

Food and drink lie at the core of a positive guest experience. That’s why you never want to run out! The first key is to keep track of where your catering dollars are going. Then you can really stretch your catering funds by:

  1. Making food experiential. Choose an inexpensive menu where guests can have fun interacting with each other while creating their own concoctions. A taco bar, rice bowls, a hot chocolate bar, or ice cream sundaes are all great choices.
  2. Schedule the event when appetizers or dessert are expected, rather than lunch or dinner. Another way to keep costs at bay is to host a brown bag lunch, where guests bring their own lunch and the host provides a big, beautiful salad, an elegant dessert, or spa beverages.
  3. When hors d’ oeuvres are served, place the less expensive appetizers (like crackers and cheese) on the buffet table and pass the more expensive ones on trays. Guests eat less food when it’s passed and having the appetizers brought to them elevates the elegance level.
  4. When serving alcohol, let the bar service know that you want to pay by consumption rather than per person.  
  5. Negotiate with vendors.  If you have an annual event, try to negotiate a multi-year contract where you get a discount if you commit to exclusively using their business. This not only applies to catering, but also transportation, rental space, floral, hotels, and dining establishments.
  6. Make setup fast by streamlining communication and ensuring everyone is on the same page. Use a room layout maker to show everyone where every meal should go.

Decorations on a Budget

It is every event planner’s dream to have the budget of a big Hollywood gala, but the “wow” factor can be achieved even on a tight budget.  

  1. Use a monochromatic color palette. Crisp, bright white is always elegant, but a saturation of any one color makes a bold visual statement.
  2. Lighting sets a festive tone. When professional lighting is not in the budget, illuminate the room with flickering candlelight or strings of big bulb lights.
  3. Ask the caterer to decorate the buffet table at no extra charge by using: Floral arrangements that may be leftover from other events. Or fresh fruit or vegetables, such as a crystal bowl of red, ripe strawberries, or a tall glass cylinder with lemons, filled with water, and topped with a floating candle.  

Cut costs with fast setup using accurate diagramsGet Started Free

Entertaining Your Guests

Booking big-name entertainment can drain an event budget in a flash, but with a little ingenuity, you can delight your guests with something unexpected.  

  1. Utilize free or low-cost entertainment—does a co-worker or friend play music, read poetry, draw caricatures, perform acroyoga, or read fortunes?  Call them first!
  2. Use food as entertainment. For example, nothing provokes an emotional response at a Snow Day party like making snow ice cream with an ice shaver and re-creating the childhood favorite, Frito Pie in a Bag.
  3. Pull guests out of their usual groupings by asking them to serve as event photographers. Use Hootsuite or Storify to create a collage ready to share in real time or on social media after the event.  Having guests participate in this way creates a festive atmosphere and helps the quiet ones come out of their shell by giving them something important to do.
  4. Offer a photo booth made with a simple metallic door curtain and a few props. For example, a summer theme photo booth can be made with a shimmering blue backdrop and attached beach balls purchased at a dollar store. Provide some funky sunglasses and group photos mean entertainment for everyone.
https://youtube.com/watch?v=E-rxSuUmfAs%3Ffeature%3Doembed

Stretching the Event Budget in Other Ways

Here are some final event ideas to cut the budget even further:From invitations to event promotion, use social media instead of paper. Destroying trees is passe, and printing and postage quickly accumulate. Most everyone is on social media, so meet them where they are.

Instead of hosting an event in a generic, square room, position the event components in adjoining rooms. Use a big square room for the buffet and cocktail tables, a hallway to accommodate the line for bar service, and an atrium for mingling and music. The money you spend on the special occasion is the same, but the event will appear bigger and more elaborate.

Consider unconventional venues. It adds an element of surprise and can be quite cost-effective. Instead of hosting a staff luncheon at an expensive restaurant, try a venue that’s free, such as a park for a picnic or rent an Airstream trailer for a retro-themed luncheon.

Plan your event layout by diagramming it with free space planning software.

Using imagination to find innovative solutions to budget restrictions not only helps the business’ bottom line, it demonstrates the talents of the event planner. Make this known to the powers that be!Most everyone is on social media, so meet them where they are.click to tweet

Bonus: Wow the Bosses

Create a chart listing the way an event was executed in the past and how much it cost. In an adjacent column, list the innovative event ideas you implemented to cut the budget in the same areas. Finally, include a column that demonstrates how much money the company saved.   

You can go even further by tracking the return on investment through increased attendance, social media buzz, new leads, product profits, and brand awareness.  A report with this level of information will remind the budget bosses that events are good business.

creative event planning ideas

BEST SITES LIKE ALIEXPRESS FOR ONLINE SHOPPING

AliExpress is a massively popular Chinese online retail service owned by Alibaba Group. It was launched in 2010 and hasn’t stopped its journey to becoming the ‘biggest online marketplace of the world‘ ever-since. AliExpress stands toe-to-toe even with Amazon in terms of buyers worldwide. It offers wholesale goods at direct-to-consumer prices from Chinese sellers.

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It also works as a great dropshipping model for a lot of e-commerce entrepreneurs. Along with a lot of good sides, AliExpress has some cons as well. The biggest problem is the shipping time of AliExpress orders, which is pretty long considering the goods come from China. Also, some orders can be very expensive after shipping charges and taxes.

So, it is a good thing to have some AliExpress alternatives whenever you don’t like its services. That’s why we are telling you about 21 best sites like AliExpress. Some of these websites offer cheaper prices and faster shipping on certain products. And, you can also use them to maintain a nice profit margin for your dropshipping business.

1. LIGHTINTHEBOX

LightInTheBox is the perfect AliExpress alternative as it is also a Chinese e-Store. It sells hot and trending products across the globe. Their products range from phone and electronics to fashion, jewelry, shoes, bags, and many other items. You can find almost anything here at a very cheap price.

The delivery time of LightInTheBox is also similar to AliExpress as their warehouses are located only in China. But, you may get a faster shipping time due to having fewer orders to ship. You can pay for your orders with PayPal, Western Union, or your credit card.

2. WISH

Wish is a widely popular online marketplace where you can buy almost anything. From clothing to footwear, electronics, healthcare items, and many more things, you can get them all for an incredibly cheap price. They are also known to offer great deals and coupons to their new customers.

Their shipping time is also faster than AliExpress as their products come from sellers located in small countries. Wish also provides an advanced rating system that is very helpful for both the consumers as well as sellers. It helps promote good ones.

3. OVERSTOCK

Overstock is a US-based online marketplace. It makes profit by selling wholesale products at a highly cheap price tag. A major portion of their stock is comprised of overstock from the major retailers or their seconds. You can find some really amusing deals here. The shipping time will also be lower as compared to the Chinese marketplaces. You can get your items within a week.

The product range of Overstock is incredible. You can find everything such as clothing, decor, kitchen appliances, and many more items. You can even find furniture and other big home items. So, you can use to fill your house with great stuff at a reduced price.

4. DEALEXTREME (DX)

DealeXtreme, more popularly known as DX, is an amazing online marketplace. The website works in a very similar manner as ‘Wish’ and sells cheap products coming directly from sellers. It has partnered with many small businesses and sells its products to a wide base of audience.

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The shipping time is a problem with DX also because their warehouses are located in China. Apart from this, you can get some really worthy deals on DX. You should always keep an eye on their clearance sales for the best prices.

5. GEARBEST

Gearbest is the perfect AliExpress alternative if you are looking to shop for the latest gadgets or electronic devices. It works with over 5000 Chinese brands and top suppliers to deliver the best products. It has products from top Chinese companies such as Xiaomi, Huawei, Lenovo, and many others. But, it isn’t just an electronic store.

You can also find a massive range of other products as well. The prices available on GearBest are reduced, and you can even reduce them with the available coupons. They also have warehouses in multiple countries. So, you can get faster shipping from the local warehouse.

6. BANGGOOD

BangGood is another Chinese e-commerce platform that provides worldwide shipping of cheap goods. You can find almost anything on this website, from clothing to electronics, and even home items. The prices available are marked down from their original prices. You can also get amazing deals during special clearance sales.

BangGood provides a free $20 coupon to every new user. The shipping time for BangGood orders is faster than AliExpress for certain products. However, the regular shipping time is similar.

7. CHINABRANDS

ChinaBrands is a widely popular Chinese e-Store where you can buy products at wholesale prices. You can find almost anything on this website at a highly affordable price. Their shipping prices are also low but you will get a long shipping time. It is the perfect website for buyers who want the lowest prices but can wait for their orders for at least a month.

Most of the ChinaBrands sellers run their factories from China, and their warehouses are located there only. This is the reason for the considerably long shipping time.

8. BONANZA

Bonanza is a unique American online marketplace where you can find a great range of products. They have over 20 million items from more than 50,000 sellers. It is a growing e-commerce store where even you can sell your items. It is a preferred platform by more than 20,000 entrepreneurial sellers. You can find some really amazing handcrafted items and collectibles here.

For people looking to shop regular items, this store may disappoint you a little. The prices of some items may be a little higher than some Chinese stores. But, the quality provided will be worth it.

21 ALIEXPRESS ALTERNATIVE STORES

Here are 21 AliExpress Alternatives that you can use to shop online.

  1. LightInTheBox
  2. Wish
  3. Overstock
  4. DealXtreme (DX)
  5. GearBest
  6. BangGood
  7. ChinaBrands
  8. Bonanza
  9. DHGate
  10. TinyDeal
  11. Target
  12. MiniInTheBox
  13. GeekBuying
  14. Jet
  15. TomTop
  16. Target
  17. MadeInChina
  18. American Greenwood
  19. Walmart
  20. eBay
  21. Amazon

FINAL TAKE

AliExpress is amazing but it is always good to have options when you are shopping. So, these are the 21 best sites like AliExpress. If you ever feel like you should look somewhere else, these are some stores that you should visit. You can also use these for your dropshipping business if you are an aspiring entrepreneur. Make sure you have a solid plan before beginning.

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