Nothing says summer quite like a beautiful day and a barbeque — it’s the perfect way to spend time with friends and family. With that in mind, here are 10 tips for throwing the ultimate backyard bash.
1. Invites are a surefire way to get guests excited about a day of outdoor fun. After all, who doesn’t like to come home to a festive invite in their mailbox? Check out our whole gallery of barbeque and picnic invites. Here are a few of our favs:
2. For those of us who aren’t crafty (read: me!) decorating can be a daunting task. Our advice: Find inspiration in your invite. After choosing your design, pull out some of the primary colors and start there. It’s a simple way to tie everything together and your guests will notice the effort.
3. Once everyone on your list RSVPs, make sure your layout works. Are there are ample tables and chairs available for partygoers? It might seem obvious, but think about backyard parties you’ve attended — how often did you find yourself trying to eat while standing up? Yeah, us too.
4. Chances are, your friends and family enjoy all varieties of food and there is no way to please everyone on your own. To guarantee a wide selection, ask guests to bring a signature dish. That way, you’ll know there is at least one thing they’ll like to eat! (Make sure to include this info on the invite.)
5. Much like food, it can be difficult to predict what your guests will want to drink. To help make the decision easier for them, in addition to typical beverages (water, soda, etc.) create a signature cocktail for the party. You can’t go wrong with lemonade and for bonus points, add a bit of fruit for a summery twist. Plus, it’s easy to have both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions to keep all your guests happy. We love this recipe from Epicurious.
6. There’s no question that games are a summer-party staple, but playing horseshoes might get old after a while. To keep things interesting, think about hosting a “tournament” to get everyone at the party to participate. You can even provide a fun prize for the winner.
7. It wouldn’t be a party — or at least not a good party — without music. Take some time beforehand to load up your iPod with a playlist full of summer songs (Billboard has a handy list to help get you on the right track). With your iPod full, you’ll be able to hit “play” and forget about it…except for all the times you’ll hear, “I LOVE this song!” from your guests, of course.
8. Nice weather often brings not-so-nice visitors, like mosquitos, so stock up on Citronella candles to keep these party-crashers at bay. If you want to get fancy, pick up a Citronella torch or three at your local home improvement store.
9. We’re sure that this party will create wonderful memories for everyone who attends, but it doesn’t hurt to give your guests a little something to leave with. A fun, yet super-practical, favor to consider: beach towels! Stores like Target have a number of inexpensive options to choose from.
10. A great way to help ensure your place is clean after the party is to make sure guests walk away with leftovers! Before the party, stock up on inexpensive containers, and encourage your guests to fill them up with favorite dishes and desserts. Unlike when you send people home with dishes, you won’t worry about getting these to-go containers back.