Host a Summer Party on a Budget
Party Table Spread
Rather than setting up an elaborate food spread, arrange food and decorations in a casual setting. Use DIY flower arrangements, small trays of inexpensive snack food, and bowls of simple snacks to make a backyard space pop—without breaking the bank!
Cost: $20 for flowers and finger foods
Use Local Decorations
Serve Pitcher Cocktails
Instead of stocking an entire bar, pick out a couple of your favorite recipes for pitcher drinks. Give your guests a few options that you can make ahead and simply pour up at party time. If you aren’t too picky about the drinks you serve, try scoping out your local grocery store. Seasonal fruits are often on sale, and you can create a delicious pitcher drink based on the fruits you find.
Cost: $10 to serve 8
DIY Party Favors
Make a party favor that doubles as a decoration during the gathering. Guests will go home with a thoughtful (and cute!) gift, and you can save the money you would have spent on decor! We're obsessed with the colors of this candied citrus peel; to make the party favor, just add the candy to a Weck jar ($4, The Container Store) and top with a pretty ribbon.
Cost: $10 for jar, candy, and ribbon
Free Printable Party Invitation
Set the tone for the party in advance with a bold, summery invitation. Our free pattern is ready for you to type your greeting and event details. Or for a personal touch, fill in all of the info by hand.
Cost: $9 for 10 invitation envelopes plus stamps
Use Local Produce
Serve a Sweet Snack
Party Wine Labels
A few bottles of wine, enhanced with custom labels, make any gathering a celebration. Simply peel off the label of an inexpensive fruity summer wine bottle and replace it with our downloadable cover-up. If you're pressed for time, you can even leave the current label underneath. Type or hand-write the name of your personal wine directly onto the label.
Cost: $5 per bottle of wine
Serving a full sit-down dinner can be daunting for both your culinary skills and your budget. Instead, try serving just a range of hors d’oeuvres and appetizers to your guests. Different homemade dips are an easy—and tasty—way to stretch your budget. Pro tip: Buy store-brand ingredients instead of the big name brands. Your guests will never taste the difference!
Cost: $6 to serve 8
Backyard Dance Floor
When in doubt, dance it out! Turn your backyard patio into a dance floor. As the sun dips down, turn the jams up. All you need is a speaker and some string lights ($10, Walmart) to get the dance party started. And, if you hang up your lights before the party starts, all you have to do is push the tables out of the way when it's time to boogie.
Cost: $10 for string lights
Make Copper-Dipped Wineglasses
Turn your wineglasses into part of the party decor! Simply spray-paint the base and stems with a metallic hue and voilá! Classy glasses that look great on any table and in any hand. If your party is going to be outside, consider using plastic wineglasses ($3, Target). They're easy to find, budget-friendly, and won't break as easily if they accidentally get dropped.
Cost: $9 for spray paint
Custom Fortune Cookies
As long as you can maneuver a pair of tweezers, you can DIY personalized fortune cookies. Pull out the generic fortunes and work in something more personal or make your own homemade cookies from scratch. Type some funny fortunes that your guests will enjoy reading and sharing aloud.
Cost: $5 for a pack of fortune cookies
Share the Occassion
Timing is everything when it comes to saving big. Try throwing your summer party before or after another activity to save on party-related expenses. Invite friends over for appetizers and drinks before the annual neighborhood block party or for ice cream and a movie—shown on a projector in the backyard—after the big holiday parade. Entertaining is much more budget-friendly when you skip a full meal! Check out your community calendar and start planning.
Numbered Party Napkins
Wine charms are optional when you have numbered cocktail napkins to help guests keep track of their drinks. For a fun twist, use different designs or colors to distinguish instead of numbers. Stamps and inexpensive white cloth napkins are all you need.
Cost: $10 for stamps and napkins
Summer Party Display
A bold display is a great way to wow your guests. Pick your color scheme and buy (or make) a tablecloth that fills the bill.
Cost: $15 for the tablecloth