If you love getting together with friends, family or your loved ones but don’t have the time or money to host elaborate dinner parties, consider these tips and resources for hosting low-cost, low-hassle get-togethers!
Type of party: The first step is to decide what type of get-together you’re planning. Some ideas include a barbeque, birthday party, event-based party (sports event, Academy Awards watch party, etc.), game night, dinner party, cocktail party, dessert night, holiday party, wedding or baby shower, etc. The time of year, occasion and your budget will help guide the type of get-together you choose to host.
Guest list and invites: Next, come up with a guest list. Remember, it’s OK to have intimate get-togethers with just your close family or friends. If you’re throwing a larger party or a get-together during the busy holiday season, aim to invite people three to four weeks out. Online invites are completely free through sites such as Evite or Punchbowl. Or, if your guests are all Facebook users, you can create an event on Facebook. If one or two guests are not computer users, simply give them a call and invite them!
Decorations: You can cut down on party decorating by keeping it simple. For example, you may already have flowers from the garden you can place in vases or tablecloths to add to tables. The Internet is full of do-it-yourself ideas as well, simply go to your browser and type in “DIY party decorations” for hundreds of inexpensive ideas. Casual get-togethers such as game nights or barbeques require no decorations at all.
Food and drink: Depending on what type of get-together you’re hosting, you can make your own appetizers, dinner or dessert to serve; ask guests to each bring something; or get take out or plan for catering. For drinks, if you’re serving alcohol, consider a self-service bar, or keep it simple and less costly with a party-themed cocktail. Each of these food and drink options varies in terms of costs, so consider your budget before deciding what to offer. Once again, the Internet is your go-to place for easy ideas on appetizers you can prepare ahead of time, simple party menus, themed drinks and more.
Entertainment: The type of get-together you’re hosting will dictate the entertainment. A dinner party may only need a playlist for background music; a barbeque may benefit from outdoor games such as cornhole; and game nights, of course, just need the games. If you love party games, the Internet is full of party game ideas for every type of get-together. For parties that include children as well as adults, check out this article from Parenting for tips on keeping kids entertained while adults mingle.
Above all else, remember that get-togethers don’t have to be perfectly planned or executed. The important part is enjoying one another’s company!