When we're under the gun, trying to pull together a big party, we simplify things by visiting just one or two stores and stocking up on everything we need: candles, flowers, booze, extra dishes, etc. We usually visit a big box place that stocks entertaining supplies (like World Market or Costco) or we try to hit the grocery store and tackle everything in one swoop.
Flowers: When you've only got a day or two to organize a party, the quickest approach is to buy a bunch of bouquets at the grocery store and split them up into smaller arrangements. For ideas, check out these frugal flower posts (especially this one on how to choose flowers at the supermarket).
Booze and Groceries: The Kitchn is full of July 4th recipes and cocktail suggestions for the weekend, so check them out before you start your shopping list. Grocery stores like Whole Foods or Trader Joe's can be great one-stop shops for party supplies.
Dishes and Servingware: If you're having a bar-b-cue or outdoor party, and you're planning on paper plates, consider Preserve Products, which are made of recycled plastic. They're reusable and a little heftier and nicer looking than paper, and you can find them at chain stores like Whole Foods or Target. If you're serving a crowd but want to use real china, World Market sells inexpensive wine glasses, dishes, and silverware.
Folding Chairs: Apartment Therapy's list of the best folding chairs includes a few inexpensive, chain-store options in addition to higher-end and more unique ones. Target's Beechwood Chairs ($150 for a set of 4) and IKEA's Terje Chairs ($14.99) are both on the list.
Lighting: Many hardware stores like Home Depot now carry LED outdoor string lights, while shops like Target and World Market sell inexpensive strands of lanterns and bulbs. There's also the classic IKEA tea lights. (For party lighting ideas, see this post and this post.)
One-Stop Shops for Last-Minute Party Supplies
• World Market (for dishes, wine, lighting, and groceries)
• Whole Foods (for flowers, groceries, and booze)
• Trader Joe's (for flowers, groceries, and booze)
• Other Grocery Stores (for flowers, groceries, and booze)
• Target (for folding chairs, lighting, dishes, groceries, and wine)
• IKEA (for folding chairs, lighting, dishes, and Scandinavian groceries)
• CB2 (for cheap barware and dishes)
• Crate and Barrel (for dishes and lighting)
• Costco (for food, booze, lighting, and dishes)
What about you? What are your sources for one-stop party shopping?
Photos: CB2, Faith Durand, Nora Maynard, World Market, Preserve Products, IKEA, Pottery Barn