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ENTERTAINING

Budget-Friendly Entertaining Without Sacrificing Style

(NewsUSA) - Outdoor entertaining lends itself to simplicity, so throwing a hip garden party or an impromptu barbecue can be easy and budget-friendly.

Here are some tips for the outdoor party planner:

* Divide and conquer. To stay relaxed and keep the budget in check, invite a group of friends to help coordinate the party. Splitting up decoration and food-preparation tasks will reduce costs and the strain on the host.

* Keep drinks simple. Instead of over-spending on ingredients for signature cocktails, consider offering wine. Boxed wine has enjoyed increased popularity, and for good reason. Bota Box offers premium Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot and Old Vine Zinfandel in non-breakable packaging. Each box contains the equivalent of four bottles of wine and eliminates the need for a corkscrew.

Better yet, boxed wine can keep your party eco-friendly as well as budget-friendly. Bota Box labels are printed with soy-based inks on recycled paper containing 100 percent post-consumer fiber and is 100 percent recyclable.

* Keep the menu simple, fresh and laid back. Let guests mingle and eat at their own pace by setting up a centrally located table displaying small bites and finger foods. Ideas include an antipasto platter with an array of cured meats, hummus and olives, sliced cubano quesadillas, smoked salmon and dill on halved new potatoes, mini hamburger sliders, and chocolate chip cookies.

* Keep decorations simple. Simple décor is most suitable for outdoor entertaining -- after all, flowers and trees provide a natural backdrop. Unpack white lights from holiday storage, and string them around the deck or bar area for a subtle garden glow. Take a peek in the linen closets for double-duty décor. Mix and match various shapes and sizes of white or clear glass plates, with a variety of fun, patterned cloth napkins.

For more entertaining tips, travel to www.botabox.com.