Entertaining expert Camille Styles’ may be the party planner in her family, but she’s not the true entertainer of the clan.
“My dad is a great storyteller — he always knows how to make me laugh,” the blogger tells PEOPLE of her father, Ray. “And he gives the best hugs of anyone I know.”
“My husband [Adam] and I are both major summertime people,” she says. “Our backyard pool will be the setting for so many BBQs with friends and family over the next few months.”
Many patio parties require the same basic ingredients — outdoor lanterns, lawn games and easy-to-clean or disposable dishware — but that doesn’t mean they can’t have pizzazz. Armed with a few Target finds, Styles shares her expert tips for a photo-worthy event without going a penny over budget:
1. Trick out the table.
For Father’s Day, Styles plans to create a tablescape that’s summery and fresh. “I’ll be setting the table using natural shades, but with a little global flair,” she says. Here she uses a leafy table runner, watermelon paper plates and yellow plastic flatware to create a fun (but not too girly) display.
2. Outsmart the centerpiece.
“Instead of a floral arrangement, create a modern look with a few big tropical leaves in stoneware vases,” she advises. In Styles’ book, this gets “bonus points for being an incredibly easy and affordable centerpiece.”
3. Serve yourself.
The veteran hostess believes Tex Mex is the “perfect party food” because it can be served in large portions, and set up on a buffet so guests can help themselves. Bamboo serving bowls are chic vessels for garnishes, while fruit-patterned paper cups make the scene look super stylish.
4. Find festive extras that do double the work.
Outdoor lanterns, like these adorable popsicle versions, classic lawn games like badminton and, of course, giant flamingo and watermelon pool floats make any party super festive, regardless of the theme.
“No doubt everyone will end up in the pool after dinner,” she says.