House and Home

Throw a Party on the Beach on a Budget

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Summer is the perfect time to throw a party on the beach — and it doesn't have to break the bank. According to entertaining expert Elvira Grau, "When you’re throwing a party on the beach, the natural, beautiful setting is all around, so there’s no need to blow through a big budget to have a great event."

Here are her tips for hosting a sensational summer beach bash on a budget:

  • Display refreshments, food and seating for guests. Beach chairs or folding chairs will do nicely for seating, and large pillows throw down on the sand is also fun. Picnic tables or 6-foot folding tables covered with inexpensive linens in bright and coordinated colors are perfect for a festive look. You will need large linens to cover the tables (make sure the linen goes all the way down to the the ground) and always use a narrow runner down the middle of the table as an accent color to tie the whole look together.

Tip: Linens such as these can be purchased for $5.99 to $10.99 from HomeGoods.

  • Decorate with sand and seashells. Bring along a few clear glass vases (any shape or size will do).  Fill the vase halfway up with sand and stick a candle inside for a quick and inexpensive centerpiece. You can also fill the vase with shells, add water all the way to the top and float a candle — it's easy and impressive!

Tip: Most people have a few glass vases at home, but you can pick up sizable ones for entertaining for under $12.99. Floating candles and pillar candles in simple, unscented varieties can be purchased for as little at $2.99. We like these from IKEA!

  • For drinks, go plastic! For a smaller event, a few large coolers with plenty of ice should do the job. If you’re entertaining a bigger crowd, a large plastic bin filled with ice and water will keep everything chilled. Stock up on extra plastic cups (pick a bright color from a party outlet store to match your theme), extra ice and plenty of bottled water and other light beverages; guests tend to be thirsty in the hot sun, and you don't want anyone getting dehydrated. (Read: )

Tip: Save money by asking guests to bring their own beverages of choice.

  • Plan your menu. Grilling is best for entertaining as it often becomes a spectator sport, and a variety of hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, chicken and veggie burgers are inexpensive and easy. Fresh fruit can be cut into cubes and served on skewers, and pre-sliced vegetables with a little olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper can be thrown on the grill while cooking burgers. A few fresh salads will also round out a great meal. (Read: )

Tip: In addition to drinks, you can also request guests bring a homemade side dish, or a food they would like to grill. (This is an especially great idea if you have vegetarian friends!)

  •  Don’t forget about the music. iTunes makes it easy for everyone to be their own DJ.  Download a few playlists onto your iPod and buy an inexpensive docking station — you’ll be all set!(Read: )

Bonus Tip: It wouldn't be a party on the beach without a bonfire! Check with your local department of parks and recreation about bonfire permits.