Many Women’s Ministries exist on a very small budget, and some are supported by the donations of the women who attend events or the leadership team. It is very important to ensure that our limited funds are spent in a way that makes the most sense. One area that can drain our ministry budget is decorating for ministry events.
When decorating tables for luncheons, many women’s ministries will use disposable plastic table cloths. This option is favorable because the table cloths are inexpensive and do not require cleaning. However, over a long term, this cost will add up. Instead consider investing in white banquet table cloths that are made of cotton or linen. They can be purchased inexpensively online via catering sites, at local membership club stores, ebay, and often you can find ones for sale on sites like craigslist that were purchased for a wedding and now they are unloading them. To make the cloths last longer, white cloths allow for bleaching when stains arise. Generally speaking these cloths only need to be laundered if there has been a spill. You can also buy smaller table squares or plastic overlays to protect the larger portion of the white cloth.
For centerpieces consider a reusable base that you can customize inexpensively for each event theme. Mason jars can be decorated with twine or ribbon, then used to hold candles, fresh flowers, and other decoratives. Mason jars are inexpensive when bought new, and even less if you can find them at local second hand stores, garage sales, or you may find women in your church have some stowed away in cabinets. A white candle in a glass hurricane is universal because it will go with any décor or theme. My church purchased gold chargers from the local dollar tree, a small glass hurricane, and a white unscented candle for each table. These are used for every event. To help the centerpiece work with our theme, we will use decorations around the base of the hurricane. Small Christmas ornaments, also from the dollar tree, were perfect for Christmas brunches. In the fall, we have a bag of fabric leaves, pinecones, and small plastic pumpkins. In the spring, the candle is exchanged out for fresh flowers.
Other considerations, if you have the storage space and facilities, would be to purchase plates, cups, and silverware that can be washed versus using disposable. You can order them in bulk from restaurant supply stores. A fun option is to purchase sets from local second hand stores, where each table has it’s own pattern, or mix and match for a shabby chic feel.
If you have women in the church who sew, you can enlist their help in sewing table cloths, runners, or table squares. This is a great way to involve some of the older women in your church who may be unable to serve in other areas. Providing the material and thread may be a lot less expensive than purchasing the items already made. Pay attention for sales, clearance items, and closeouts. This is also a great time to utilize store coupons! Ask the women in the church if they are not going to use the coupon from a recent mailer to donate it to the ministry.
If your ministry budget doesn’t have the capacity to afford these investment pieces all at once time, don’t worry! You can begin to purchase pieces slowly over time, utilizing the disposable items until you have built up your inventory. Or, consider sharing your plan with women in the church & fundraise for it or just ask for the specific items.