I originally shared these ideas for summer entertaining as a guest post over on Design, Dining and Diapers. But since I’m in the midst of planning my son’s birthday party, I figured this would be a good time to remind myself and you how to save money on your summer parties.
Summertime around my house means lots of barbeques and family parties. As much as I love entertaining, it can get pricey to host all of these events. So today, I’m going to share some tips for summer entertaining on a budget.
Focus on one stand out dish.
Don’t plan a menu full of new, complicated or expensive dishes. You’ll end up frustrated and frazzled on party day. I like build my menu around one stand out dish and add some simple favorites to round out my menu.
One of my favorite summer entertaining meals is pulled pork in the slow cooker. Grab a couple bottles of fancy BBQ sauce from the store and pair with canned baked beans, fruit salad and potato chips. And a bonus…no standing over the hot BBQ or oven!
Or you could focus on a stand out salad, like this recipe for Greek Orzo Pasta Salad. Pair with grilled chicken, corn on the cob and watermelon for a light summer dinner.
Let Your Guests Help Out
As the hostess, we seemed trained to say “No thank you, I’ve got everything handled” when a guest asks what they can bring. But in my experience, if someone asks to help out….you should let them. If you want to handle the majority of the menu, let your guests bring some of the accompaniments. Ask guests to bring hot dog/hamburger buns, a tray with all the fixings for hamburgers, fruit salad, chips.
Be specific, but not too specific. Don’t give your guests a copy of the exact recipe you want them to make. Not that I know anyone who would do that (cough::mymom::cough!).
Decorate with What You Have
Unless you are planning an elaborate themed party, you probably have everything you need around the house to decorate for a summer party.
Mason jars filled with flowers are one of my favorite ways to decorate.
Or fill a large bowl with lemons and limes for a splash of color.
I’m planning a beach themed party of my son’s birthday in August. I plan on using clean sandpails (from the dollar store) as serving bowls. And decorating with shells and other treasures from our recent beach vacation.
Hit the Dollar Store
You can find tons of items at your local dollar store that are perfect for summer entertaining. Pick up paper plates and plastic cups and utensils. And bright colored table clothes and napkins.
Plus, you can find things like bubbles, bouncing balls or coloring books to keep your younger guests occupied and happy.
Think Beyond the BBQ
If hosting a full barbeque is out of your budget, consider a less expensive dessert get together. Grab some ice cream and have all your guest bring their favorite toppings for an old fashioned ice cream social. Or provide graham crackers and marshmallows and have your guests bring s’more toppings for a backyard bonfire.
Happy Summer Entertaining!