I really enjoy decorating for our parties, but I also know that it is not completely necessary. You can have a successful dinner party without decorations. I also know that you can spend a lot of money on decorations or you can search the internet for free printables and use what you already have, and your party will turn out just as nice. It is all up to you and with what fits in your budget!
I try to keep our decorations very reasonable, if we're spending money it's usually on the food. So how do I do that? I search the internet/Pinterest for free prinatbles, or if I can't find any that I like then I make my own, and I use some stuff we already have. Like these hot dog bar printables that I made...I couldn't find anything that I liked online so I went to PicMonkey and created my own. It took a little bit of time, but actually ended up not being too bad. You will never find me spending money on invitations, labels, banners, signs or prints. It just doesn't make sense when it doesn't take much time to make them on my own (& I really enjoy it!!) So here are the decorations I usually have out for our dinner parties...
Labels: I like making labels for each dish and for our drinks. I also have a label for each section of our kitchen (depending on where the food/drinks are.) I usually have a Drinks label, Appetizers label, whatever our main course is (Hot Dog Bar, BBQ, Tacos, etc.) Sides label, and Desserts label. I will stick those in the middle of the counter or table in the designated area.
Free Prints: I also like finding free printables that I can just throw into a frame that we already own to go along with our dinner party. There are hundreds of free ones on Pinterest...and if any of those don't catch your eye, make your own on PicMonkey! You can find some free printables here!
These free printables add so much to an empty counter or area. Sometimes I will add one to our entryway table for people to see as soon as they enter our house. I think that kind of sets the theme for when they first arrive!
Banners: I love a good banner, and just like prints, I think it can add a lot. Whether I have one on our mantel or hanging in the kitchen, or even hanging on a table. I love them. Again, there are a ton of free ones on Pinterest or you can just make you own!
Flowers: 98% of the time I have artificial flowers out somewhere in our home. Every now and then when we have guests coming over for a dinner party I will stop by Kroger and pick up a few small bouquets, usually the managers special. I like to keep this pitcher on our island in our kitchen with seasonal flowers in it. It's also really easy to move this pitcher to another part of our counter when we have our dinner spread on our island. I also like to put flowers in my favorite vases on our mantel/end table. This is such an easy and inexpensive way to add color/decor for each season or dinner party we host! Hobby Lobby's artificial flowers are beautiful and there is always a coupon!
Other things to think about:
- Washi tape
We use washi tape on our plastic cups for people to write their names on. This helps guests keep up with their cup as well as adds a little pop of color!
- Paper straws
I don't always have these for our dinner parties, but occasionally I'll run across some cute ones at the Dollar Tree and pick them up.
- Napkins & Utensils
If I am using plastic utensils or colored paper napkins I always pick these up at the Dollar Tree. They are over priced at Wal-Mart/Party City/Target, cute, but over priced!