1. Instead of buying decorations, try an in-home scavenger hunt. Use picture frames for appetizer trays; fill jewelry boxes with ornaments or chocolates.
2. Instead of mailing invitations, e-mail them. Unless the invite is to your wedding, e-mail is fine. Just send it to yourself and blind-copy your guests to avoid never-ending reply-alls.
3. Instead of cleaning out the fridge to make room for leftovers, buy storage containers to pawn off extra -- er, send guests home with food!
4. Instead of ordering flowers, use extra fruit or foliage from the backyard for centerpieces.
5. Instead of stocking up on candles, why not let your food provide the aromatherapy instead? For a candle-flame glow, switch in amber or pink bulbs.
6. Instead of shopping for alcohol, buy it from a retailer who delivers.
7. Instead of apologizing to the Hendersons for the cars blocking their driveway, call neighbors with a heads-up about the party. Remind guests where to park.
8. Instead of setting the table the day of, do it in advance. This is a perfect "get it out of the way" task. Just top the plates with wax paper to keep dust off.
9. Instead of making extra appetizers, tell your friends, yes, actually, they can bring something.