Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. The holiday, held on the last Monday of May, is the kickoff for days by the pool, road trips, and barbecues. In fact, many people’s first backyard gathering of the season will occur over Memorial Day weekend.
Hosting a Memorial Day party for your friends and family can be a great experience. However, the costs can add up. By following these tips, you can throw a fun outdoor get-together while saving some money for the rest of your summer activities.
Plan it out
A Memorial Day party starts off with the best of intentions—gathering friends and family for some food and fun. But without planning, like any party, the costs can spiral out of control. Here are a few things to consider when planning your Memorial Day bash:
- Your total budget
- The number of guests
- The length of the party
- The menu
- Any decorating or party games
Ask guests to RSVP
Once you compile a guest list, ask your friends and family to confirm if they’ll be attending. By having a good estimate of how many guests will be at your party, you’ll have a better idea of how much food and drink to buy. It can be a fine balance between not having enough food for all your guests and having way too much.
Keep the menu simple
You don’t need a fancy menu to impress your guests—nothing beats the classics like hamburgers and hot dogs. To simplify the menu, stick with one protein. This can help save money on buns and condiments. Kabobs are another option, as they don’t require buns and condiments and are easier to accommodate guests with dietary restrictions.
To help the main course go further, offer plenty of snacks like chips and veggies to keep people grazing. If party guests are snacking away while the main course is cooking, they’ll likely be less concerned about seconds. When it comes to side dishes, go with options that cost less. There are plenty of tasty sides that won’t break the bank, including corn on the cob, pasta salad, and watermelon.
Make it a potluck
Having enough food for your guests is a common concern for many hosts. But by asking your guests to bring along a side or dessert, you can make the food you prepare go further and save time on preparation. Don’t be afraid to ask friends or family to bring food—most party guests are happy to contribute. Just make sure not to double up on requests to avoid a table full of desserts and no sides.
Ask guests to BYOB
Providing alcoholic beverages can really start to add up. But by making it BYOB, you pass the cost of beer or wine onto your guests. If you feel like providing some drinks, go with an option that will go further. Big-batch cocktails like margaritas or sangria are always party hits.
Go big on drinks
As for non-alcoholic beverages, soda might seem like a standard for parties, but it isn’t the most economical choice. Try making large pitchers of iced tea and lemonade—both are refreshing choices that can go a long way. If you want to have soda, buy large cases from a wholesale store over a grocery store.
To keep drinks cool, fill balloons with water and freeze them. Add the frozen balloons to a kiddie pool, along with the drinks. Not only can this be a festive idea, but you also won’t be spending money on ice. It also eliminates still water that can attract pests.
Avoid disposable paper plates and plastic utensils
Sure, when it comes time for cleanup, these items may be enticing. But you have a kitchen full of cups and plates that are already paid for. Put them to use! Not only will you save money, but you’ll also reduce the waste made from your party.
Decorate on the cheap
If you feel like decorating, dollar stores and thrift stores can be your friend. You’ll be able to find a number of items to add flair to your yard like streamers, balloons, tablecloths, flags, and more.
With a little time and effort, you can also create some DIY party decorations with items you have around the house. If you need some inspiration, checkout these patriotic projects perfect for a Memorial Day gathering:
By planning out your Memorial Day party, you’ll keep costs in check while having a gathering your guests will remember the rest of the summer!