While planning ahead is ideal, it's still possible to host a spontaneous but stress-free shindig — you just need a game plan! Barbecue menu aside, you'll want to think about easy and affordable ways to get your yard party-friendly. Check out our must-read checklist for pulling it all together.
- Rethink extra seating possibilities: If you're short on folding chairs, scope out your indoor furniture for possibilities. Anything from garden stools to poufs and ottomans can be handy in a pinch.
- Consider oilcloth for your tables: The last thing you want to worry about is a spill! Oilcloths are ideal for easy cleanup and Cost Plus World Market has a selection of cute options on sale right now.
- Keep mosquitoes at bay: Stay away from sticky bug spray and try placing citronella tea lights in pretty lanterns to create a bug-free ambiance.
- Add ample lighting: If you have trees, arbors, or other tall structures, use string lights to add an upscale bistro feel. If not, look for tiki torches or stake lanterns.
- Ditch plastic and paper dinnerware: Use shatter-proof melamine options that are dishwasher safe, and you'll never look back. Bonus points if you use red, white, and blue melamine plates!
- Create a gorgeous but easy centerpiece: Add blue hydrangeas to your grocery store shopping list (we bought these flowers for a steal at Trader Joe's!).
- Incorporate trays: Not only are they a fantastic way to transfer and organize items, but they can also provide extra table surface when placed on top of poufs or garden stools.
- Use drink tags: To avoid confusing beverages, provide a way for guests to mark their drinks. For a hassle-free but stylish way to identify drinks, set out a roll of cute washi tape and a permanent pen and let guests mark their own drinks.