Summer is well underway and the parties have all begun. Planning a party needs to be an event that is not only fun, but offer you some sort of mental check that things will turn out fine no matter what pops up from boo-boo’s to tummy aches and everything in between. Keep ahead of the party by planning before it happens and you will have a great planning experience all the way through and the party will move along with ease. You know I am a detail planner, and I always have been, so planning ahead to me is just a natural part of who I am. You don’t have to be a planner per say to save big and throw a summer-time cool party but you do want to maintain a quick checklist of party stuff you should have on hand. Here are a few great tips I use for party planning year round and they save me time, and they help me to avoid purchasing things I don’t need at the last minute and will never use again! Try to think of your pantry, shelves and cabinets and sheds as holding areas that have many items in them that are party ready and just need to be re-purposed! Don’t get caught in the rut of using an item only for the purpose you bought it for, and make sure to visit your favorite mass retailers for tons of other items like plates, napkins and cups that can easily be stored but provide and easy clean up after the party is over. Let’s lavishly live out loud and plan a great party, shall we?
Paper plates are a staple you can never go wrong with because even if you don’t use them for a party, you can certainly use them to eat. When I run into a dollar store, I usually check to see what they have color-wise and I grab a few sets. I never let a holiday decided a color for me, rather I purchase colors of every hue so that when I go to throw a party color is already there! If you need to deck a plate out with a little silver glitz, but don’t bother foil covering those plates that is just tacky, buy a silver coated serving platter at the dollar tree. Correction, buy several of these because you can make a party look great with a little sparkle no matter what season and when you are not using these items during the party you can also use them for table presentation of placing a plate in a plate. These chargers make any food look more appetizing and a side bonus is that clean up is simply wiping off and putting away. Your plates will look lavish and the food sparkling!
Bamboo runners on any table make the occasioon festive and the NINJA can add some serious drink combos you might not have offered before. These are must haves for a great party. Paper Party Hats are super functional for parties as there are several in a package. Not quite sure who is going to wear a party hat anymore as that elastic can be pretty annoying but you can tip the paper hat upside down and use it to hold popcorn that you might serve at the party! Lavishly decking out a rather basic party without trying too hard, and I bet you get a lot of great comments on your ingenuity! Inverting the hat makes it turn into a food cone, slick and easy there goes food like popcorn, pretzels, chips, cheese balls all easily transported rather than on a plate they roll off of! Again, your local dollar store or the Target seasonal section has these for pennies on the dollar. You can also make a cone with simple construction paper, or even rugged wrapping paper.
Grapes are a great seasonal fruit, and there are a few times a year they go on sale! Stock up, wash, freeze and when it’s party time, skew them onto a skewer and freeze again. A Cool, snack that easily stores in the freezer.
Have a wheelbarrow? Clean it out, fill it up with ice and beverages. Want a little color? Grab those great clear bottles of soda and a few balloon picks and you will have the best looking yard wheelbarrow. Bonus: when you are done serving up the beverages, if any remain, simply remove them and dump the ice and then take that wheel barrow back to its shed! Easy clean up and a real relaxed, party. I love this container for setting up large drinks it is readily available online and it fills and provides beverages with ease.
I also enjoy this great clear container to put COLD Sangria in as it dispenses easy and I can see when I need to add more of the beverage into the container. The BBQ set let’s me grill up a storm and the grill is so easy to use, just make sure those smaller guests steer clear of the heat of the grill and that a responsible adult is running the grilling sessions.
Popcorn is always a favorite at parties, and preparing it in large batches is fantastic. We pull out our popcorn maker and let guests pop their own, making it a fun time and really cuts the work out of what I have to do. The popcorn smells just like you are at a movie theater and one of these popcorn machines is a nice little splurge if you LOVE popcorn.
Paper Lanterns that charge from the light of the sun are great decorative items to light the trees without running any cords to trip on. Tiki torches are also a great source of light, albeit you need to watch no one runs into them or they do not catch anything on fire, they sure do ward the bugs away from a party with no fuss.
If you have an area that guests won’t be traveling around, Christmas lights are a great way to add a little flair to your party and if you already have them, use them! They are super easy to use and make any occasion look bright and cheery! Many brands of jarred sauce come housed in glass mason-like jars. How many have you thrown away already? Rinse the jars out, reuse them for beverage glasses, or as floral holders for those fresh roses you trim from your yard. Frugal, easy and a fun way to serve up entertainment in your home!
These are just some of the ways we organize and deck out for parties, and they let us lavishly live parties out loud. We pick, choose and shop all year as we are out in the store or see great products online because you never know when the next great party might happen, but you do know you will have the right tools of the trade on hand to host a lavish gathering with ease.