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You Ask, We Answer: How Do I Throw a Backyard Party on a Budget?
Getting together (finally!) with friends and family this summer is at the top of many Connecticut homeowners’ lists. But while the thought of gathering is incredibly sweet, it can also be a source of stress when you’re trying to stick to a budget. Good news: Throwing a backyard party doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some easy tips for hosting a beautiful get-together in your Connecticut yard, all while sticking to your budget.
Use Your Surroundings as Decor
Scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest is a great way to get inspired for backyard entertaining decor, but if you’re feeling a little panicked about blowing your whole budget on decorations that match those perfectly curated pics, take heart: You probably already have all that you need to create a beautiful backyard party.
Planters on your deck or patio with flowers, plants, or herbs serve as instant ambiance for guests and make any outdoor space feel immediately festive. Be sure to cut back any dying leaves or to deadhead flowers that are past their prime, and feel free to rearrange the planters to give the appearance of a fresh set-up. If you have an herb garden, snip some rosemary, lavender, or thyme and use these sprigs to tie napkins with a festive flair.
Still feel like something is missing? Candles are always a good idea for creating a celebratory and cozy vibe. Grab some mason jars (or glass containers of varying heights, colors and textures) and scatter them down your table, lighting tea lights inside for a warm glow that doesn’t risk getting too hot or the flame too high. Add sand to the bottom of the containers for a beach vibe that has the added bonus of helping to anchor them to the table. Even better: Mix things up on your tabletop with fresh cut flowers from your yard—and don’t forget that some plants and herbs even help to deter mosquitos!
Have Your Guests Share Their Favorite Drinks
Inevitably, once your invite to your backyard party goes out, your guests will ask what they can bring to the picnic. Buying alcohol adds up quickly—and is often where many hosts find it most difficult to stick to their budget. Why not take friends and loved ones up on their offers and ask them to bring a favorite bottle of wine, six pack or other drink of choice? Not only will this save considerable money, but it’s a fun way to introduce guests to drinks they may not have had before and to create a convivial vibe, especially among guests who may not know each other well.
Simplify Food Options
Entertaining on a budget doesn’t mean you need to scrimp on flavor. In fact, simplifying your menu can still allow for really delicious food without the stress of spending a ton or taking hours of your time prepping the food.
Consider making fruit and veggie platters yourself for more affordable snacks; while those store-bought platters are convenient, they’re also much more expensive than cutting your own produce at home. You can make your own dips, as well, and put out a few bowls of chips to satisfy different taste buds. An inexpensive option that’s always delicious? Popping your own popcorn on the stove delivers an impressive yield for very little money—and you can experiment with different flavor profiles (sweet or savory!) for a fun treat.
Lastly, streamlining your main course keeps things easy and more affordable. Whether you go the meat or plant-based route on the grill or mix it up to keep everyone happy, making one or two side dishes with the fresh ingredients of the season adds color, beauty and the right amount of deliciousness to any plate.
Bring the Indoors Out
No patio set? No problem! While patio sets are convenient and made to stand up to Connecticut’s weather swings, bringing your indoor furniture out for your party can create an “outdoor living room” vibe in no time.
Grab wooden kitchen chairs, side tables—even a dining table if it’s not too much trouble—and watch your outdoor space come together to create a cozy, welcoming aesthetic for your guests. Add a few blankets, throw pillows or even an area rug, if you’re feeling extra festive…and get ready to celebrate the wonder of being together safely this summer!