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How to have a Garden Party on a Budget

Updated on August 17, 2014

The Best Way to Enjoy Summer!

A Gazebo Party!

This gazebo was on sale for €90, nearly half price.
This gazebo was on sale for €90, nearly half price.

Who Needs Budgeting!?

Summers always the best time to be outside. So this year, with a lot of help from my sister, we decided to have a garden party, but since neither of us are rolling in cash, we had t figure out a way of making it authentic, yet affordable. I love the antique vibe, and cocktails, so obviously that's where went with the theme.


First off, living in Ireland, we knew we had to get some sort of Gazebo, or big tent for the garden, but we still wanted the feel of being outside. We found a Gazebo, perfect for the job for €90. It was hexagon shaped, and four out of the 6 sides opened fully, so had a more comfortable look to it.


We made the decision to make or reuse nearly everything for the day such as:


Candle holders came from wine and beer bottles.

We found Palettes which were used as seating and tables.

We collected jars to use as cocktail glasses.

we used old drawers as trays.

We found second hand cushions in local charity shops.


Really, anything we could find was used. So here's what we did...



Candle holders and flower vases:

Click thumbnail to view full-size

The 'Antique' Drawers in Action

We filled these with all sorts of goodies!
We filled these with all sorts of goodies!

Re-use and Recycle...

We have wine bottles all over the house used either painted as used as vases or covered in wool and used as candle holders. It looks cute and can be made really simply.


its up to you to decide whether or not you want pastels, one color and bold, or a mix of colors I ended up using a variety, because I like mismatched things. You don't need glue, or anything other than the bottle and wool. Starting at the top, you simply spin the bottle with the end of the wool held in place inside the bottle. Once you get to the bottom simply bring the end piece back up the bottle, circling it maybe twice and tie it off with the top piece you put inside the bottle. Easy as that, and only takes around 10 mins per bottle. You can even use beads or tie it off a few times to bake a bow for that extra little bit of attention.


For the trays, we decided on old drawers that have been sitting outside for around two years. Because of that it already had the old look to it. We found some really light paper in the discount store for 20 cent each, with little designs and patterns on it and fake stick on frames. We glued the paper to the drawers on the front and inside, and the frame at the front where the handle should have been. The result was perfect. Antique drawers with character...


As said previously, we used palettes as the table and for seating. This worked out really well, after we put a comfortable blanket on the palettes, and filled the entire Gazebo with cushions, it was actually a really nice spot. Comfortable, spacious and with the 'Garden party' theme, it was exactly what we had hoped for.


If you can't tell from the pictures, there was a lot of junk food! We had a BBQ but of course, there had to be some junk food. Instead of just throwing in all on the Table/palette, we came up with some nifty little ideas.


We have old bottles from whiskeys and gentleman jack that I liked too much to throw out. We cleaned them out and filled them with M&M's, smarties, any little chocolate sweets. we filled mason jars with marshmallows, toffee's, jellies...the list really does go on quite a bit.



Cocktails!!

They Didn't Last Long!

The Garden Party Cocktail:

In my honest opinion, every garden party needs cocktails! However, steering clear of the obvious choices, and wanting to do something different, we chose three summer cocktails, and made punch bowls of them.

First you need Sugar syrup, made easy by using 1 cup water and 1 cup of sugar, let it rest over a medium heat until all sugar is dissolved and it thickens. Bottle and its ready.


Pimms fresh Punch:

This was possibly my favorite. Easy to make, with lots of fruit and ice, it's a perfect summer punch. All you need it one pint of Pimms, one pint of fizzy water, 2 Tablespoons Sugar syrup and half a glass of cranberry juice. When its all mixed together in the punch bowl, add chopped cucumber, fresh mint leaves, lemon and lime wedges, and strawberries. Serve over ice with a wee umbrella and you got yourself a delicious, fun drink.


Next we went with Captains Mojito's:

Similar to the regular Mojito, this one is just as fresh but with a fruitier taste. Mix a cup of Morgans spice, with a quarter cup sugar syrup and leave that to settle in the punch bowl, while you mix cranberry juice with ginger ale. add Lime wedges and mint leaves to the bowl and mix everything together. This will need to be done about 2 hours before, as the flavors work best when left to mingle. Serve over ice.


Vodka Tea:

Refreshing and crisp this was definitely a winner. Mix A pint of Vodka with a pint of Ginger ale and two tablespoons of Syrup. Add a cup of cranberry juice and sliced orange and grapefruit. Serve over ice.

The Results

Our food table, complete with drawers, woolly bottles, and lots of food.
Our food table, complete with drawers, woolly bottles, and lots of food.
Seating....We could have slept there it was that comfortable
Seating....We could have slept there it was that comfortable
Overview of the Party! looked swanky and cute, with tea-lights and candles everywhere for when it got dark.
Overview of the Party! looked swanky and cute, with tea-lights and candles everywhere for when it got dark.

As Easy as That!

No not really. It took a lot of planning and travelling to get everything we needed. The palettes were from an abandoned building site, the cushions and bottles were all second hand. Everything we could get our hands on for this we took. I used things I haven't used in years, like a tin bucket we'v had in the garden was filled with ice and used as a beer bucket. My sister put a lot of effort and time into making things, Like popcorn bags and the drawers, but in the end, it was a beautiful party. We had about 10 people, perfect for the size of the Gazebo. We played music, sat around drinking cocktails, and played games well into the night.


Of course you could always theme the party too. Anything from film to Victorian, or even animal and dress up. Anything you can think of really.

So if you want to have a garden party, while we still have the weather, try to make or find the things you will need. You don't need to spend millions to have lots of fun, or to the party you want, just be determined. :)

© 2014 belleart

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