Summer is quickly approaching, and now is the perfect time for hosting a backyard BBQ. These gatherings provide a great way to connect with friends and socialize with your neighbors, and fortunately, hosting a successful BBQ is simple. Ready to plan your own? Follow these novice-friendly tips for throwing a stress-free summer BBQ.
Putting Together a Guest List
You don’t have to invite your fourth grade best friend but cast a wide net. Letting your guests bring friends and significant others go the extra mile to make sure that everyone is comfortable while still enjoying the opportunity to meet new people. Just follow up a couple times with your guests (for example, send out texts to your guests a couple hours prior to the BBQ) to get an approximate headcount so that you can ensure that you have enough food and beverages on hand.
Small parties are just as fun and planning for an open-ended guest list can be tricky, so if you have limited space (or limited funds), keep your initial guest list small. This will help to ensure that you have ample food and seating for additional company.
Planning the Menu
Depending on your level of expertise and how much time you’re willing to commit to tending the grill, you have an abundance of menu options. Stick to hamburgers and hot dogs for an easy and fuss-free meal, or show off your skills with kebabs, pork ribs, or seafood. Likewise, your side dishes can be as simple or complicated as you’re comfortable with. For a truly stress-free day, recruit your guests to bring side dishes and drinks. Brownies and cookies for dessert are always a hit and are easy to prepare ahead of time. And speaking of preparing ahead of time…
Ideally, you would have everything except for the meats done on the day of the BBQ. Salads, fruit and vegetable trays and dips can all be assembled a day or two ahead of time. Make use of your slow cooker, if you have one, for hot dishes that shouldn’t be prepared in advance. Make sure that you have plenty of napkins, plates, cups, and eating utensils on hand, and if you’re planning on background music, have a playlist made and a speaker ready to go.
Setting the Scene
Assuming that your weather cooperates, this will likely be the easiest part of the whole event. String up a strand of white lights and set out some torches or candles to provide some post-dusk lighting. The great outdoors already provides the perfect backdrop, so going overboard on decorations is entirely unnecessary. Make sure that you have enough seating for all of your guests, and you’re good to go. To make it really simple just go with Pandora or Spotify.
Choosing Backyard Games
Depending on how much space you have, grab a few frisbees, set up one of our hometown favorites – washers, and break out the lawn darts (if you can still find them). Backyard games are not only fantastic for ensuring that your guests are having fun, but they’re also an easy way to ward off awkward lulls in conversation among guests who may not know each other well.
These five tips are relatively simple, but following them takes a lot of the stress out of planning a social gathering. Once you’ve nailed down the basics in advance, you’ll be able to add additional elements to your BBQ and make it uniquely yours.