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July 15 - Cathi Volante

Backyard Party Tips

Top 10 Tips for A Successful Summer Bash

#1 - Cheap is Chic
Don't spend a lot of $! Especially on things you're going to throw away; i.e. disposable dinnerware, decorations, expensive food, etc. Make sure you have good themed items, just don't go overboard!

#2 - Plan ahead if possible
A well-planned party is always a success.

#3 - Have a designated place for your party
If you don't have a deck or patio make one cheap - Belgard.biz is a cheap alternative to Unilock pavers you can do yourself or you can buy portable patios squares from IKEA - snap, click and you have a party ready patio. Patios define the party place and cut down on pesky party crashing insects. -So make sure and have bug spray and a few citronella candles on hand!

#4 - Pick a theme
Theme parties are great in the summer, Luau, Fiesta, Beach, Cocktail Party, Wine Tasting, Baseball & BBQ, or host your own Iron Chef party - have your friends compete for best dish, etc. - themes are guaranteed to elevate your party to a new level of fun!

#5 - Offer healthy food options for your friends that are diet-conscious.
Spring water in a nice glass with a strawberry and lemon in it will look great and they won't feel deprived, appetizer - have something they can snack on - a veggie tray and a shrimp ring are nice tasty additions. Also, keep the entree keep light and offer fresh fruit to accompany your dessert, again gives your guests options where they don't feel deprived or like they blew their diet at your party.

#6 - Use paper plates and plastic silverware
Buy more than you think you'll need, it's better to have too much and of course, you can always use them later. Don't forget to mix patterns with solids to save big money on dinnerware and decorations!

#7 - Have background music to match your party
Always adds rhythm to the festivities.

#8 - Ask ahead about allergies
The last thing you want is someone frantically looking for an Epi Pen or bottle of Benadryl

#9 - Have comfortable furniture your guests can relax on
If they are comfy - they'll enjoy themselves more and stay longer.

#10 - Have a few party favors or one big prize
It will keep your guests talking about your party for days to come.

How can you do it on the cheap? Check online for the best pricing for whatever you are shopping for. Google is a great vehicle for finding the best deals; i.e. party theme ideas and supplies - partypro.com (great prices and shipped to your door for free no matter where you live or pick up at local retail location), www.homedepot.com and www.potterybarn.com have outdoor living sets 40-60% off already, recipes are free online - it will save you a lot of time and money at the grocery store. Paper lanterns are cheap, festive and add lighting for your party to cruise into the night.

What to look for

1. Look for items that are on sale or in the clearance section, a lot of times they don't advertise 'in season' items.

2. Don't throw an elegant affair, just because money is tight doesn't mean the party is over!

3. If you have a little Vino on your menu, check out the $3-$5 wines at Trader Joe's. Most are award winning selections that your guest will be wanting to know the names of!

4. Ask your friends to bring something, they'll feel more involved and it will financially help you out.

5. Make a budget so you can pick and choose where you should splurge and which areas you can save - remember cheap is chic!

Products:

Patio Pavers
Belgard Hardscapes
www.Belgard.biz
1-877-Belgard

Paver Installer & Custom Tiki Manufacturer
Hoppe & Associates
www.hoppeandassociates.com
(815) 477-9378

Outdoor Furniture
Home Depot
www.homedepot.com

Flower and Supply Warehouse
Lurvey Landscape Supply
& Garden Center
www.lurveys.com
(815) 363-4420

Ornamental Iron Works, Inc.
(708) 426-3927
www.ornamentalironworksinc.com

Maui Jim Sunglasses
www.mauijims.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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