We’ve been talking about having our friends over for an outdoor party pretty much ever since we moved into our house a couple years ago. We even added our fire pit with the hopes that we could have some fun ‘couples nights’ sitting around a bonfire with marshmallows and wine.
Work and life kept getting in the way though and we keep putting it off. However, our neighbor’s annual fireworks plans nudged us in the right direction. Every year he has spectacular fireworks that rival the county’s show, right in our backyard. This year, we decided to take advantage of the free entertainment and have a party!
We didn’t want to go CRAZY though and end up with something that was just going to stress us out. See, I LEARN from my mistakes… After swearing off Pinterest and keeping it ‘easy’ I think I’ve come up with the perfect plan. If you’re planning to have an Independence Day party, or any get together this summer, you may benefit from these tips too!
#1. Keep it Easy AND Tasty
You don’t have to be a master chef to invite people over to your house. We’ve decided to keep it simple by grilling hotdogs and hamburgers the day of the party. I’ll make my easy pulled pork recipe in the crockpot that morning, so that I can pretty much forget about it until people start showing up. Add in a couple bowls of potato chips, a watermelon and a store-bought sheet cake, and we’re good to go.
For drinks, we are going to stock up on bottled water at Costco and have invited our guests to BYOB or BYOW (for my wine loving friends). I’ll start the party off with a few bottles of wine chilling in ice. Oh, and we can’t forget the s’mores makings! I plan to have marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars on a tray near the fire pit. It doesn’t take a bunch of time or money, but I think that everyone will have something to enjoy!
#2. Ask for Help
You don’t have to do everything yourself. If you have a couple friends who love to cook or bake, see if they’d like to bring something. If your brother is a strong and helpful guy, ask if he can come over early to move some chairs outside. Maybe your sister has a super awesome corn hole set? Remind her the day of the party to bring it over with her.
Remember, there are no bonus points for running yourself ragged to do it all on your own!
#3. Don’t Check Pinterest
Look, I love Pinterest too. There are a bazillion fun ideas for pretty much every aspect of your life. However, in the interest of keeping your party SIMPLE and not driving yourself nuts… just stay away. Otherwise, you’ll end up buried in mason jars, glitter and a glue stick and want to just call the whole damn party off! I just keep telling myself that in order to have a successful party it is NOT required to have fresh squeezed lemonade with sassy homemade ice cubes and hand picked twigs…
#4. Hit up the Dollar Store
I stopped by the Dollar Store over the weekend and got the MOTHERLOAD of party supplies for a fraction of what it would have cost anywhere else. Here are some of my scores:
I grabbed 8 flags ($8 total) to put by our mailbox and next to our driveway so that people know that they’re at the right house. The best part is that after the party I can just stick them in the basement until next year.
Plates, plasticware and napkins were $7 total for EVERYTHING. Just for comparison basis, I checked Party City’s website and an almost identical set of forks was $4.99. So in just plasticware, I saved almost $12.
Okay, I saw these cute lanterns and snapped them up! Only $1 each and they even LIGHT UP!? I’m probably going to spend more in batteries than I did on the lanterns, but I don’t care because I’m in LOVE. I’m going to throw some of these up in the trees outside so that after we watch the fireworks we can follow the glowy trail back to the house.
I’ll admit, I might have gone a little crazy with the glow sticks, necklaces, and bracelets ($14 total). But when I was a kid I remember ALWAYS wanting to get the glow necklaces at the fireworks and they were like $5 each and my parents would say no. So GLOW NECKLACES for EVERYONE! I might end up hanging the smaller glow sticks on the edge of our fence so that people can see where to go.
If you’re planning a party, RUN to your local Dollar Store RIGHT NOW because they are a treasure trove of awesomeness!
#5. Mismatched = Eclectic
I don’t know about you, but we don’t have a matching outdoor seating set for 20+ people. So, mismatched is the way to go! We’ve got some Adirondack chairs, a set of porch furniture stolen from our sunroom, a hammock, random outdoor chairs, some wooden indoor trays that we’re going to drag outside, etc. I also have a bunch of picnic blankets that I’m going to spread out on the ground for seating. Nothing matches and that’s totally okay. Because the word of the day is ECLECTIC!
I’m super excited for fireworks. And cake. And s’mores. Oh, and wine. I’m trying hard not to over-think things or stop by Pinterest for just a couple minutes (because we all know Pinterest sucks you in for at least an hour). I have a little anxiety about the number of people coming over, but I think that the plan for everyone to stay outside helps a lot!
How about you – do you have tips for throwing a low key party that doesn’t drive you nuts? Are you also obsessed with the Dollar Store? Would it be weird if I kept those lanterns up year-round, because they are SO freaking cute?!