Fun in the Sun: How to Throw a Summer Party On a Budget

Leisure, celebration and people concept - happy friends with drinks toasting at rooftop party at night

Was it your idea to host this upcoming party? Or was it someone else’s? While you’d love to have someone to blame, the fact is you may be stressing out as the date looms closer and you’re still short on ideas.

Throw an effortless summer party with these tips, focusing more on the people you invite and the experience, rather than keeping everyone busy. Here are the top ways to ensure success at your shindig.

Curate the Guest List

When your party guests enjoy each other’s company, the activities come second. They will love spending time together, and if everyone is hitting it off, they won’t look to fill awkward moments with things to do. While offering some fun games and entertainment helps keep a party going, guests should be able to entertain themselves while you play host.

Carefully consider who you’re inviting and how well everyone knows each other. Make sure you’re up to date on whether anyone has a significant other or a feud with someone else so that you don’t have any faux pas. The party is a great excuse to meet someone’s new boyfriend or introduce friends you think would get along well.

Plan the Activities

Outdoor parties make the most sense in the summer. Whether you’re having an evening barbecue with Edison bulb string lights and a breezy tent or a regular pool party, everyone loves enjoying the summer weather. For a pool party, offer fun pool activities and accessories, like inflatable water slides, pool toys, and wine glasses that stay upright in the water.

If your barbecue is luau-themed, pick up tiki torches, grass skirts, and coconut bra tops for everyone. Offer special ways to keep cool, too, like plenty of cold drinks and ice, along with electric fans (run extension cords if you don’t have outdoor electric outlets) and folding paper fans. These could even be your party favors.

Choices like lawn bowling, croquet, hillbilly golf, beanbag toss games, and other outdoor favorites are always good. Small firecrackers guests can use anytime would work well for a 4th of July party. Kids will love water balloons, squirt guns, or butterfly nets.

Decide on a Summer Party Menu

Go back to your guest list and make note of anyone who has food allergies or preferences (like vegan/vegetarian). Offer a couple meat options if you’re grilling, and make sure to have meatless choices, too. Even non-vegetarian eaters sometimes prefer the vegetarian options, so plan for everyone to partake in these offerings.

Think about appetizers and snacks that guests will munch on as everyone is arriving. If you’re serving food the whole time, open-house style, then you’ll need to decide how to keep hot food hot and cold stuff properly refrigerated. Also, make sure to have dome screens to cover food and protect it from bugs.

The final piece is the dessert menu, sometimes the most important. If you’re celebrating a specific event, a cake is appropriate with a themed message. However, if you want something more unique, you can dress up ice cream or s’mores in a buffet style with topping options.

Label each food item with as much detail as you can fit on a small card. Guests like to know if something is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, or another category (also add warnings for allergens like nuts or soy). Depending on how creative you want to get with the party theme, incorporate puns into the names of the dishes.

A Neighborhood Blowout

Your summer party may be the best one your neighborhood sees all season. If it goes well, maybe you’ll even make it an annual event. As long as it’s fun for you to host and easy to put on, you can consider the party a success.

You could even take suggestions for next year’s theme if guests are enthusiastic about you offering to host them again.

For more unforgettable ideas to satisfy your curiosity, read our other blog posts.

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