Host a Summer Party on a Budget

Look to fresh ingredients, easy-assemble party favors, and a simple color scheme to inspire your next cocktail party (on the cheap!).


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Summer party table display
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Summer Party Display

    Summer entertaining doesn't get easier than this. Use our free invitations, a few nifty wine wraps, and some of the freshest fruits and veggies of the season to inspire your next casual get-together. Here, designer Grant K. Gibson shows how to host a gathering for six that's high on style yet low on cost.

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Free Printable Party Invitation

    Set the tone for the party with a fresh and pretty invitation. Our free pattern (available, below), is ready for you to print, or type your greeting and event details. Tuck them into bright orange envelopes with a pretty DIY custom liner.

    Cost: $6.50 for invitation printing and envelopes

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Party Door Welcome

    Kick off the party right at the front door with a framed greeting. Repeat the look of the invitation by trimming the orange graphic and mounting it on striped paper with text and borders drawn with markers. Frame the piece and tie it to the doorknob with a scrap of ribbon for a welcome guests won't overlook.

    Cost: $5 for frame

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Party Wine Labels

    Crisp white wine is the star of any summer soiree, and this wrap idea showcases the event's highlight. Simply peel off the label of a light summer bottle (Grant used Trader Joe's Sauvignon Blanc) and replace it with our free design. Type or handwrite the name of your personal wine directly onto the label.

    Cost: $3 per bottle of wine

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Numbered Party Napkins

    Skip the wine charms (we're going stemless, afterall). Instead, help guests keep track of their drinks with numbered cocktail napkins. Bold iron-on numbers are an inexpensive way to customize white cocktail napkins. A few yards of affordable fabric provide the table cover.

    Cost: $12 for iron-ons and napkins

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Chopstick Bundles

    Dress up the party utensils with a scrap of paper and twine. Our chopsticks were cheap, and they'll incite dinner conversations as guests dig into their meal.

    Cost: $3.50 for chopsticks

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Custom Fortune Cookies

    A pair of tweezers are all you need to make your own fortune cookies. Pull out the store-bought fortunes and tuck in your own merry sentiments. Guests will love reading them aloud.

    Cost: $5 for a box of fortune cookies

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Party Table Spread

    Let the food be the focal point instead of a pricey centerpiece. Gorgeous still-leafy oranges and naturally pretty edamame delight both the eyes and the tastebuds.

    Cost: $10 for edamame, oranges, and platter

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Party Host Grant K. Gibson

    Set it and forget it. That's Grant's credo regarding party food. His parties feature a few no-fuss finger foods, allowing guests to serve themselves buffet-style -- and leaving Grant time to mingle.

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