How to Host a Fun Spring Party on a Budget

young woman serving food at outdoors dinner party
How to Host a Fun Spring Party on a BudgetAleksandarNakic - Getty Images

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Despite what social media might have you believe, you don’t have to mortgage your house to throw a memorable party. The secret to a successful event is ensuring your guests have a great time, which can easily be done on a budget with a dash of creativity. We spoke to a couple party planning pros to get their insider hacks on how to host an inexpensive spring bash for the books.

Stick to what you know

Don’t waste money trying to whip up elaborate dishes you’ve never cooked before or experimenting with, well, anything. Stick with what you know to make sure you warm up those hosting muscles, advises Event Planner Virginia Frischkorn, founder of Partytrick. “Keep your food simple with favorite, tried-and-true recipes, pull out a favorite playlist and keep decor elevated but minimal.” Think lots of candles versus worrying about creating your own flower arrangements.

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Plan your party between meals

Who says you have to serve a full meal at your spring party? Opt for odd hours, such as 2pm in the afternoon, where you can get away with setting out an assortment of snacks and/or desserts for your guests, as opposed to offering a sit-down lunch or dinner.

group of sweet and salty snacks, perfect for binge watching
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Host at home

If you have the space, ditch the expensive venue and host the party in your own backyard, says planning pro Nicole Kitzman, BabyQuip Party Quality Provider. This is especially great for kids’ parties, where venues often charge per person and the expenses add up fast! You can always rent a bounce house to get their energy out or a soft play set up to keep littles entertained while the adults enjoy a bite and beverages, unbothered.

anniversary dance
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Use a bedsheet as a tablecloth

Yes, for real! “Take your flat sheet, scrunch it up, arrange it in a swirled line down the table, add some candles and consider your table dreamy,” says Frischkorn.

women enjoying friendship and meal in yoga retreat
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Set the table with pretty things from home

No need to make a Target run, as tempting as it is. Instead, garnish the table with the pretty things you already have laying around, suggests Frischkorn. “For example, you can use ribbon as ‘napkin rings’. Or stack books on different levels, add candles, small bud vases and turn them into unique vignettes.” Picture frames help spark table convo too!

woman in beautiful white dress preparing her pergola for a garden party
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Use any vessels as vases

A quick search of your house should turn up lots of good stuff. “Use wine bottles, mason jars, leftover candle glassware or even tall drinking glasses to display flowers,” recommends Frischkorn.

candlestick and flower arrangement on table
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Keep cute ice cubes on hand

There’s no easier and more affordable way to take your party drinks to the next level. Frischkorn personally loves preparing special ice and keeping it in a container in her freezer to pull out when hosting. “I like adding rosemary or berries like blueberries, as they typically compliment cocktails—alcoholic or not—nicely,” she says. You can also play around with different ice cube shapes.

flavoured ice cubes
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Adjust your lighting

Most people forget to adjust the lighting in their home for having people over and this can go a long way, points out Frischkorn. “For a softer ‘feel’, make a note to turn off the overhead lights and rely on lamps or candles. It’s subtle, but it makes a huge difference!”

friends having dinner together on the rooftop at home
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Set up a simple activity

The key to a great party? Keeping guests engaged. “Whether it’s a board game that brings back old memories or an activity like pressing flowers into frames, doing something out of the ordinary tends to be more special for your guests,” notes Frischkorn.

As for the kiddos, a coloring (or crafting—think pasta necklaces) table is an excellent idea that’s super easy and won’t break the bank. “If you feel crafty, melt your old crayons down and use silicone molds to make custom-shape crayons for the party,” suggests Kitzman. “Some websites offer free coloring pages you can download and print to provide hours of fun.”

backyard party playing cornhole bean bag toss game
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Set up a make your own cocktail or mocktail bar

“Interaction at a party can often lead to a more memorable experience, but it’s important to keep in mind that many don’t love to DIY and prefer ease,” says Frischkorn. If done right though, a well-designed cocktail or mocktail experience can be great leading into summer. She recommends leaning into edible flowers, custom ice cubes, cute straws and optionality with mixers and alcohol to make a large visual impact but keep costs down.

rose champagne cocktails
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Set the mood with great music

Nothing kills a party vibe quicker than a poorly-chosen playlist. “Choose something more cheerful and upbeat than the mellower/moodier music often played during the fall/winter,” advises Frischkorn. Also, know your audience and select songs that they’ll love too.

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