Before you start sending out invites, it's important to get your house in order. You’ll want to take a little extra time to prepare your home, yard, and yourself, to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for everyone.

How to Create a Welcoming Outdoor Space

A beautiful and inviting outdoor space is key to setting the right atmosphere for your summer BBQ. 

Declutter: Start by decluttering your yard, removing any unnecessary items, and tidying up green spaces.

Yard Work: Now’s the time to mow the lawn and pull weeds. While you’re mowing, reflect on how best to present your yard and outdoor spaces as a host. Consider adding outdoor potted plants, hanging planters, floral gardens and arrangements that will add a personal touch and extra beauty to your outdoor space.  

Setup: Arrange outdoor furniture and do your best to create cozy seating areas where guests can relax and socialize. Adding string lights, lanterns, or other outdoor lighting effects can help create a unique ambiance for an evening BBQ. Just try not to go overboard and make yourself nuts in the process.

No one is expecting perfection and you may end up feeling resentful if you go above and beyond and it doesn’t feel like enough people give you the compliments you feel you deserve for your extensive efforts. Moderation is always a sensible policy.

Setting Up a Practical BBQ Station

Time to clean: Before you fire up the grill, you’ll want to thoroughly clean it. This means the grill will be free from grease and debris. Doing so ensures better quality cooking and avoids a potential fire hazard. 

Propane/Charcoal Check: In advance, check the propane levels or how much charcoal you have. Make sure you have enough for the event. 

Prep Station: On the day of the event, create a prep station and arrange your grilling tools, including spatulas, tongs, and brushes, within easy reach. 

Backup Plan: Make sure to have a backup plan in case of inclement weather, such as a tent/canopy or gazebo to shelter the grill and guests. 

Essential BBQ Supplies

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for your guests, it's essential to have the right supplies on hand. Here are some must-haves for your summer BBQ:

Disposable plates, cups, and utensils

Ideally, choose sturdy, eco-friendly options to minimize waste and make cleanup easier.

Napkins and paper towels

Keep a stack handy for spills and messy fingers. Truly, you can never have enough napkins on hand. 

Plenty of ice and coolers

How many coolers do you need? How much ice? Both the number of coolers and how much ice you need will depend on the number of guests you have, the temperature, and the length of your BBQ. It’s a good idea to do a little extra research in advance to ensure you have enough of a supply. By some estimates, it’s one to two pounds of ice per person. 

Coolers are not just for beverages. They also allow you to keep perishable food items at a safe temperature during outdoor cooking. 

Garbage and recycling bins

Do yourself and your guests a favor and consider buying an outdoor trash can or two. That way people don’t have to take trash inside the house or make direct use of the dirty cans you drag the curb each week.

Bug repellent

Shield your guests from unwanted pests by providing insect repellent or citronella candles. Consider tiki torches or other repellents that are both effective and aesthetically appealing.

Menu Planning and Meal Preparation

Any good BBQ party worth its weight in salt is going to deliver in the delicious food department. Remember to consider guests' dietary preferences and plan a diverse menu that caters to different tastes.

Classic favorites like burgers, hot dogs, and grilled veggies are always a hit. Don't forget to include vegetarian and vegan options as well. You never know if a surprise guest will turn up unexpectedly or if someone recently made a dietary change and forgot to let you know in advance.  

On the day, set up a condiment station with various sauces, relishes, and toppings for guests to customize their meals. Don’t forget plates, cups, napkins, and cutlery!

Signature Cocktails and Mocktails

Elevate your BBQ by serving signature cocktails and mocktails. Create a customized drink menu featuring refreshing summer beverages, such as fruity sangrias, mojitos, or frozen margaritas.

Offer non-alcoholic options like flavored lemonades or virgin piña coladas and Shirley Temples. Don't forget to garnish the drinks with colorful umbrellas or fresh fruit slices for that extra touch of flair. 

It’s a good idea to keep a few coolers full of beer, hard seltzer, seltzer or mineral water, assorted sodas, and ice cold water for those who like to stick to the basics.

Safety First

Safety should be a top priority when hosting a summer BBQ. 

Ensure your grill is placed on a stable surface away from flammable objects and overhanging branches. Keep a fire extinguisher within reach and have a bucket of sand or water available as an extra precaution. Assign a responsible person to monitor the grill at all times and never leave it unattended. 

Place caution signs or barriers around potential hazards, such as swimming pools or uneven surfaces. A safe environment ensures everyone can relax and have a good time. 

Entertainment and Activities

When it comes to hosting a summer BBQ, the fun shouldn't be limited to just the food. Adding entertainment and activities to your event will create a lively atmosphere and provide your guests with a memorable experience.

Themed BBQ?

Do you think your friends and family will enjoy a themed party?.

A few BBQ classic themes include: 

  • Hawaiian luau
  • Country western hoedown
  • A beach bash 
  • A “decade” theme, such as 80s or 90s

If it works, a good theme can set the tone and make your BBQ festive and provide great photo memories.

Backyard Games

Consider setting up a few backyard games to keep everyone engaged and active. Guests who might not be up for small talk may prefer to enjoy summer games like cornhole, ladder toss, and horseshoes.

If you have enough space, consider setting up a badminton net. Make sure you have enough rackets to go around. If you want to go the extra mile,encourage a friendly tournament or scavenger hunt with prizes for the winners. 

Turn the Music Up 

Create a playlist of summer music that will set the mood for your BBQ. 

Set up outdoor speakers or create a designated area for a live music performance if you have any musicians in your circle of friends. Create a homemade dance floor using outdoor rugs or sections of your patio.

Consider thinking up outdoor lighting to enhance the ambiance as the evening progresses. Remember, get to play an active role in deciding if your BBQ is going to be a more playful or subdued setting.

DIY Food Stations

Add an interactive element to your BBQ by setting up DIY food stations. For example, you could create a make-your-own burger bar with a variety of toppings, sauces, and buns.

What about a build-your-own skewer station? This BYO station can involve an assortment of veggies, meats, and marinades. Even better, BYO stations allow your guests to customize their meals according to their preferences, dietary restrictions, personal lifestyle choices, and adds an element of fun overall vibe.

A Touch of The Personal

Personalized touches to your BBQ party can make it truly memorable. 

Invitations: Create custom-made invitations that include all necessary information to get guests excited about the event.

Guesbook: Set up a guestbook where attendees can write messages or share their favorite memories from the party.

Party Favors: Prepare small party favors for guests to take home as a memento.

The key to making any summer BBQ a blast is to infuse it with creativity, engagement, and good times that make for lasting memories. 

Need Help Getting Your House in Order?

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