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Begin by jotting down everything you'll need -- food, decorations and flowers, invitations, music, any rentals (such as chairs or tables), even the baby-sitters' fee. Don't forget to set aside some money for unexpected expenses.
If your dream party turns out to be too expensive, look for simple ways to revise your plans. You can scale back the number of guests, substitute chicken for those expensive shrimp, or plan a simpler type of party -- perhaps serving appetizers or dessert rather than a whole meal.