Wednesday, August 11, 2010

10 Tips for a Simple Summer Party

I'm glad parties don't have to be elaborate or expensive. If they did, I'd never host one at my house!

In case you are often at a loss for ideas like me, I want to share 10 tips for a simple summer party that I used when my family hosted our church's 4th of July potluck celebration this year.

* Use cloth napkins as a centerpiece/ table runner. I found these blue and red cloth napkins at Walmart. At 2 for $1 I couldn't pass them up!

* Solid red and white platters make functional decorations. These were also $1 each and are plastic. White will go with any theme and the red can be used at Christmas, Valentine's and any summer event.

* Solid colored plates and cups keep the theme but are often cheaper than designer versions.

* Pull the theme together with one piece such as napkins. I found these for $1 a package (20 in a package I think) at Walmart. Check NOW for end of summer clearance items at your favorite stores.

* Use different seasonal items from your collection. The tin pails (there are 2) have imprinted hearts for Valentine's Day but they worked great for a summer look to hold plastic ware.

* Shop your local dollar store! The blue basket and the white rocks in the vase both came from the dollar store.

* Use small items that can be stored easily. The 4 US flags I bought will fit in a tub for next year once the summer is over.

* Decorations are often obscured by the food. I'd much rather have a table full of food my guests brought than a table full of decorations.

* Summer is the perfect time for a Potluck Cookout Theme! On your invitation include your main dish (we provided hot dogs and hamburgers) and make suggestions for cookout or picnic type foods your guests should bring. Ask them to RSVP with the item they are bringing a few days before the event so you can fill any gaps in the menu.

* Provide only water and lemonade for drinks. Sodas are expensive and take a lot of space! We used 2 - 5 gallon thermoses; one was filled with ice and water while the other held lemonade mix and ice.

When it comes to hosting an event I am all about simple, functional and inexpensive! Everything you see in the first picture (except the food) cost me around $30. Not bad for a party of 35!

Do you have any tips for simple summer parties and decorations? Please leave them in the comments so I can learn from you!!


  1. Summertime: don't forget the ice cream! We've had "ice cream parties" a couple of times, once for family and once for my women's group -- both with kids and people of all ages. The host can provide one or two kinds of ice cream (if you have an ice cream maker, homemade is great -- my uncle requested peach in August for one of our parties), and either provide a buffet of toppings or have people bring their own (sprinkles, chocolate sauce, berries, etc.) Entertainment is also easy: adults can sit on the deck/patio and talk; we got out Frisbees, bubbles, balls and the sandbox - all things we already had on hand -- for the kids. Drinks: water and/or lemonade.

  2. What great ideas! I do many of the same things for the parties I host. =)

  3. Love the decorations! Good tips! :)

  4. The $1 is one of my favorite party stores. =) Sounds like you threw a fun and fantastic party, Stephanie! Thanks for sharing about it with us.