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Money saving tips for your event

Your Big Lunch doesn't need to break the bank. Here are some money saving tips to organise a low-cost event.

Your Big Lunch doesn’t need to be big, fancy or expensive – people really are the key ingredient. Here are our top money saving tips for your event to help you have a fun-filled day without spending a penny. Most of them will help lower your event’s impact on the planet, too! 


Set a budget (or aim for a zero-cost event!)

The good news is that it’s perfectly possible to host a brilliant Big Lunch for no or very low cost – you may just need to consider the scale and ambition of your event! 

Decide how much you’re willing to spend on your Big Lunch, then write down the things you need to make it happen. If your list of requirements exceeds your budget, consider how to source any elements for free, or if you need it at all. You could also ask your guests to contribute (either money or to bring something along).  

Asking people to RSVP can help to make sure you’ve got the right amount of food and other activities. It can be very easy to want to ‘top up’ any spending on extra food, decorations or other items nearer the time, but try to resist the temptation to keep costs manageable and reduce any leftovers you might be left with! 


Bring and share

Chances are, you have some of the essential Big Lunch items at home. Think tables, chairs, tablecloths, plates and cutlery. Ask your neighbours or guests what they can bring and offer to lend what you have before buying. 

If there are things you’re missing, try sourcing them in a charity shop – it’s a great way to get plates and glasses for very little cost. If you organise lots of events, create a little ‘event kit’ in a storage box with the essentials you use each time.  

Or go even simpler and ask everyone to bring their own plate, cutlery and glass. It saves you from having to store multiple items and reduces the amount of washing up! 

The same applies to food – don’t feel you need to cater for your whole community with your Big Lunch. Ask people to contribute a dish to share with others or keep it simple with biscuits and a cup of tea.  


Host it outside

Save on venue costs by hosting your Big Lunch outside – whether that’s in your garden, on your driveway or road, or in a local park or green area. We’ve got lots of tips for weather proofing your Big Lunch should the heavens open! 

A picnic can also be a great way to create the feel of a big event without setting up a table – a bring your own blanket policy will do just fine. 


Recipes using store-cupboard food

You can make some great party food from the simplest cupboard ingredients, so have a rummage and see what you can find. Simple buffet food like pasta, rice and bean salads are cheap and easy to make and are a great accompaniment to any hot or cold party food at your Big Lunch table. 

Don’t forget, a simple flask of hot tea or a pitcher of squash and a spare cup can be all it takes to bring people together. 

Budget recipe ideas 



Upcycle your decor 

Your Big Lunch doesn’t need to have any decorations if you don’t have the time or the energy – so don’t put too much pressure on yourself.  

But if you’d like to spruce up your setting, there are lots of ways you can decorate without spending any money. You can create bunting, paper chains and pompoms from scraps of paper or fabric – all things you might find in your recycling bin. We’ve got templates and instructions if you want to give them a go!

You can also make decorations as an activity for during your Big Lunch. Cut out some triangle templates for bunting from a cardboard box and get your guests to bring along some scrap paper and other materials. Simply draw round the template, punch a hole in the top corners and get creative designing your section. You could assign everyone a letter to spell out the name of your Big Lunch, follow a colour scheme, or just go totally freestyle! 


Ask for support

If you’re hosting a bigger Big Lunch, it could be worth asking local businesses to contribute in return for some recognition in the community and presence at your event. That might be a raffle prize, free tea and coffee or a sound system – every little helps!  

Or it might be as simple as printing off some of the Big Lunch posters, invitations and activities in your pack for free. It’s a great way to create new community connections and meet people locally and might help tick things off your ‘to do’ list.  

There’s still time to hold a Big Lunch

Our pack is still available and it’s full of handy downloadable resources and exclusive content to help you plan and host your Big Lunch.

We can’t wait to see where your Big Lunch might take you!

See all Big Lunch resources