I always wait until the last minute, I always shop on a budget, and I hate to admit it, but I use the hell out of Pinterest for hosting parties. Most importantly, I take shortcuts wherever possible. This post is perfectly timed because this Saturday we are hosting L’s 8th birthday party and I’ve done all of the things listed above. Summer, outdoor parties are my fave to host and plan! Nothing better than taking advantage of the great summer outdoor weather to gather friends && family!
Since we always have our monthly Girls Nights, I’ve gotten it down to a somewhat of relaxed science. Hosting parties shouldn’t be stressful, even though it always almost feels like it is. The guest list. The food. The decorations. The entertainment. So many things, so little time.
But mostly I try to focus on the important things. Food — what can be bought and what can be made, quickly and not too messy (or too many ingredients). Or even better, delegate items for people to bring if it’s that type of party. Luckily within our families and group of friends, there is always someone looking to help out and bring something or make something yummy for our parties. Thanks to them and their support, we can have fun parties! Mostly I look for things that are quick, dips being perfect. Hot or cold, dips are always a great filler and easy to make. My go too usually is hummus, but I’ve seen the Chobani Meze Dips at Target a bunch of times and I’ve been wanting to try them. Spice it up a little, they even have a variety of flavors! They aren’t too pricey and they come in a just right serving size, which seems like a win-win to me.
Crockpots are also helpful depending on your time constraints too. Pinterest has tons of great recipes for throwing some stuff in there and WA-LA, a meal, an appetizer, or a dip party ready!
Shop at the Dollar Tree for smaller parties. The quality isn’t the best, but that have lots of good party supplies (in all the colors) and serving utensils for parties. Shoot, if you need cheap and disposable wine glasses this is your spot too! I have no shame in shopping here, call it my baller-on-a-budget hostess tip! Costco is also another great option if you have a membership and are having a larger party. This is for sure where we shopped for L’s party supplies, but for a girls night or a smaller party, I’d head to Dollar Tree. It’s always important to remember your audience.
I feel like its a no brainer, but if you’re hosting a summer party you better have water. Especially if you’re in Sacramento, 100+ degree weather is no joke. But in all seriousness, beverages comes in a second close after your priority of food. Booze or no booze? Juice for kids or just soda? For me, since most of our parties are all ages I love everything. Beer, wine, adult drinks of other varieties, juice boxes/pouches, bottled water, lemonade (fresh or pre-made), and soda. This could add up quickly, so be cautious of your budget and what you want to offer. I usually pick one regular soda, one diet soda, a couple different juice options, and whatever adult libations I know will suit my guests (a beer option and another option).
I enjoy the convenience of the evite, but I truly love snail mail invitations. If you’re lucky enough to have graphic designer friends, then I’d say ask them to help make your vision a reality. If you don’t then Pinterest, Google, and Clip Art might be your new best friend. Luckily evite also has both options now, freebies and pay for invites. That is always a great site for planning and hosting parties. Everyone can be updated immediately, just remember to update emails on their periodically. If it’s a relaxed outdoor shindig, evite might be your best bet. But because I love the personalization, I go the graphic designer, printed out invites route!
Do you theme your party or do you just party? I think its a personal preference, even though mine is obviously to theme a party. But some people just don’t see the fun in that, which I also can see too. But if you decide to theme your party, bring it through in all you do. It doesn’t have to be dramatic and super expensive, but in small little hints. Last year we did a Watermelon Party for L’s 7th birthday, even though it was basically a BBQ. I made sure to put my theme in all the small details, which didn’t cost mush and it still brought the party together.
Don’t stress out, whatever you do. Remember why you’re throwing the shindig and that you enjoy hosting (if you do like me). Try not to get tied up in all the small details, because I know I left myself do that. The people that come to your parties are there because of you, not because of your napkins and silverware match. I would try to remember to have some fun things to do if it’s an outdoor party. For the summer months, bubbles for little kids, pools/jump houses for bigger kids, any kind of sports equipment for all ages, and music. Music always makes everyone feel good. Create a playlist or pick a fun Pandora station and sit back and relax.
I can’t wait to share the details of L’s party…but for now, those are under wraps until this weekend!
Happy hostess-ing y’all!