Church Banquet Series Tips

How to have Fabulous Events on a Frugal Budget -Part 1

Ladies Ministry Tips for Frugal but Fabulous Banquets, Luncheons, Fellowships

Hello Ladies! Soooo, I am that lady at church that is always taking on the next event. Over the past (almost) 30 years I have been involved in the ladies ministry, the youth ministry, the choir, the deaf ministry, Saturday’s breakfast and visitation, the nursery ministry, etcetera, etcetera,… After all these years of involvement in church ministries I have acquired a plethora of ideas and money saving tips.

This article is the first in a series in which I hope to share some of those ideas with you. Of course, “frugal” was always the key word for the event or activity we planned in any ministry. Therefore, I’m providing a list of suggestions for how to begin a Frugal and Fabulous Supply Closet for banquets and events.

First, and one of the most important tips I can give you is to have a designated place to keep your supplies. As you begin to purchase and collect items for banquets and events you will need a place to organize and keep those items. I have seen money wasted in the re-purchasing of items that have been misplaced or thrown out because there wasn’t a closet or storage room designated for it. And, if I’m going to be honest, I would have to say that isn’t being a good steward of money or supplies! So, find a designated storage area! Even if you have to start out with a closet, designate the space for storage and then organize wisely.


Start Small!

You don’t have to start out big, just collect items as you go along. Also, you will need to purchase the same amount of items as tables that you have or use.  So,if you regularly use 15 tables for your banquets then purchase 15 like items each time you have an event or banquet. The following is a list of the items that I would suggest to begin purchasing/collecting:

  • Glass containers such as vases, jars, bowls, dishes, basins (Dollar Tree is a great source for these)
  • Glass beads, pebbles, stones, etc… (another good Dollar Tree buy)
  • 12 X 12 items to serve as a base for a centerpiece, such as scrapbook papers, mirrors, place mats or trays, even tiles would work! (check out Craigslist free items, maybe a builder has left over supplies to get rid of?)
  • Candles of all sizes, including floating ones and the battery powered ones
  • Things to stack and give depth to decor. For example, old books, doilies, teapots, dishes, China, etc… (don’t spend a lot on these things…donations, thrift stores and yard sales are great sources)
  • Go on a nature hike and collect tall sticks/branches for centerpieces. These are great, cheap and versatile. Collect enough so that you can keep some natural, spray paint some of them and even glitter some for holiday decor
  • Ribbon, lace, burlap, small fabric pieces
  • Tablecloths and placemats (Sometimes it is less expensive to have these made. Also, look for clearance sales after a holiday. A lot of colors can be re-used for different events. For instance, if you start out with only red tablecloths you have the perfect color for Christmas and Valentines day. However, add pinks and creams, teapots and florals, and now you have a cute color scheme and theme for a Mother’s Day or Spring Luncheon.)
  • I buy flat white sheets whenever I find them for cheap, especially at the thrift store. They make a great source for anything from a backdrop for a photo shoot, makeshift stage curtains, to making a tented ceiling or last minute tablecloths! These are one of my favorite decorator tricks!  I never spend more than $5 on a sheet and the uses are innumerable!

As my husband always tells me, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Don’t expect to have a full storage closet right away. Be patient, enlist help, accept donations and never spend money on something you can make or recycle (ie. jars! Since Mason jars have become such a rage you can find them at most stores. Nonetheless, there is no reason to pay for something that most of us can recycle on the daily! Spaghetti, jelly, pickle and salsa jars are all great recycling candidates and many come in interesting shapes and sizes.)

If you are a spendthrift, frugal, penny pinching, cheap skate like me, you already troll every sale and clearance. I have two words for you: HOLIDAY CLEARANCE!  Seriously folks, there is no cheaper way, other than receiving free items, to find inexpensive decor. Be careful and choosy, many times the clearance aisle will be littered with chipped or damaged goods. Don’t make a purchase just because it’s inexpensive! Make sure that it is worth it. Also, keep in mind that you will need to purchase the same number of items as tables you use in events. For instance, you have (or normally use) 15 tables for banquets but you often only use 10 tables for ladies luncheons. You should still purchase 15 items. Then you are ready for a large or small event!

Many times you will receive donations that are flat out junk. Someone with good intentions has cleaned out their closet from 1972 and wants to make a donation. Now, remember your kindness! But also remember that you don’t have to accept everything. I have dealt with this more times than I can mention! Often, in order to spare some little sweet lady’s feelings, I just accepted the donation, scoured through it for anything that would be useful and then donated the rest to either a thrift store or the trash bin. My personal feelings are, if the items you are donating are no longer relevant or beautiful enough for your own home, why would you donate them to the church? Frugal DOES NOT MEAN JUNK! And seriously ladies, would we give God something that we ourselves would never use? Remember, this is intended to be resourceful in order to be good stewards of the funds God has provided. Don’t allow junk into your storage closet!

One thing that you will eventually have to deal with when creating a supply closet is PEOPLE! This article is only meant to be a frugal guide and help for churches, ladies ministries and small groups. I, in no way, desire to create opposition. However, keep in mind that whenever the Lord is at work, so is the devil. Don’t allow for that old lion to devour you or this ministry! In other words, the devil can use donations, your storage closet, this entire ministry as a way to hurt feelings and cause division. Bathe EVERYTHING in prayer! Be kind. (Ephesians 4:29-32) Be patient. (I Thessalonians 5:14) Treat others the way you want to be treated. (Romans 12:10-12)

Thanks for stopping by. I hope this has been helpful and that you come back for Part 2. If you have any suggestions or questions please email me I would love to hear from you! I am always searching for new and unique ways to save money beautifully. Also, if you like this article you can find many more frugal and DIY articles her on Indoor Outdoor Space. You can also find me at

Until next time, save, recycle and collect!



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