The reality is, you can throw a fabulous summer party without spending a lot – so long as you’re smart about it. Check out these five tips:
Plan well in advance
Rather than buying your food and supplies a week before the party, make a list a few weeks or more in advance and then keep your eyes peeled for sales and good deals. Planning in advance also means you will be able to give your guests ample time to check their availability and RSVP accordingly.
Utilize electronic invites
Avoid over-preparing food and over-buying supplies by knowing beforehand exactly how many guests to expect. A great way to do this is by making you shindig an RSVP affair. Electronic invites, like emails or calendar invites are an easy, casual and polite way to get your guests to confirm their attendance ahead of time.
Accept help from guests
When faced with the age-old question: “What should I bring?” Don’t be afraid to give an answer that isn’t: “Just yourself!” Chances are, your guests will be happy to whip up a salad, a side dish, a dessert or pick up some drinks on their way over; saving you time, fridge space and money.
Skimp on the drinks
When it comes to hydrating large groups of people, generic brand sodas tend to do just as well as their name brand alternatives, especially if you’re thinking to serve mixed drinks.
If you’re thinking sangria, opt for cheap wine and instead dress up the drink with lots of cut up fruit. (Find a few cool recipes here.)
If you’re going non-alcoholic, consider mixing up a large punch bowl or pitchers of premixed refreshers beforehand.
Opt for reusable rather than disposable
While paper plates, plastic utensils and Styrofoam cups certainly make the clean-up process easier and faster, they are the lesser option in terms of cost and eco-friendliness. Use as many regular plates, cups and utensils as you can, and supplement with disposable items, like napkins.