From creating an ideal setting and planning a fantastic menu to keeping guests entertained and safe, hosting an unforgettable BBQ party involves much more than just firing up the grill. With a bit of creativity and careful planning, hosts and hostesses can turn their gathering into a BBQ party that guests will remember fondly on those cold winter nights.
Setting the Stage
Whether you own a home with a large, spacious yard or your guests will be confined to a deck, it is important to ensure that you offer plenty of seating, provide shaded areas or access to indoor seating, and keep your young guests entertained with games/activities.
While the games you choose for children should be age appropriate, commonly selected options include ring tosses, scavenger hunts, corn hole, inflatable bowling, and lawn checkers, among others. While making sure that the setting is right for your function seems pretty basic in terms of planning, it is one simple way to keep your event on track.
Choosing Your Tools
The tools you select to help you make a success out of your summertime gathering are also pretty important. While some of these items seem obvious, a simple oversight could result in unhappy guests. That said, make sure that you have enough propane or charcoal to keep the grill hot, lighter fluid if needed, grilling tongs, a spatula, aluminum foil and an apron. You will also need plates, napkins, plastic flatware, cups, bowls, and items to aid in serving your guests.
Coolers or other ice-filled containers for drinks are also necessary. When planning how to serve drinks, consider placing non-alcoholic drinks in a colorful, enticing container that will draw the attention of youngsters; this is an easy way to attract children to soft drinks while keeping them away from areas where alcohol is available.
Making a Guest List
The guests that you invite to your BBQ are, of course, the determining factor in how successful the event will be; this makes the guest list an incredibly important part of the planning process. Although it may not be possible to invite only guests who already know one another, choosing people with a bit of common ground will keep the level of tension low at your event, and it may even foster some new friendships.
In order to keep guests of all ages happy, engaged and entertained, either invite multiple families with children or keep the festivities completely child-free. After all, a single child will likely grow bored without other youngsters in his or her age group. However, because summertime parties tend to be family activities, excluding children may impact how many people show up for the get-together. Either way, make sure that the invitations clearly state whether or not children are welcome so you don’t end up with bored youngsters.
Planning the Menu
As is the case at any gathering where a meal will be served, creating the menu for your barbeque is one of the most important parts of the planning process. Guest preferences, dietary restrictions, and your budget are three of the most important factors to consider when designing the menu for your event.
Whether your friends prefer burgers and hot-dogs or would rather eat steak and shrimp off the grill, it is vital to be aware of their tastes. If you are working with a tight budget, consider buying early or in bulk to save cash. Making a plan to keep cold items cool is a vitally important part of hosting a successful summer gathering; because so many seasonal sides include mayonnaise, illness from food that has been improperly stored or served is a real risk. Finally, medical conditions and religious convictions must be considered when choosing what to serve at your function. Ensuring that you have a variety of foods available will provide options for everyone, including those guests who must be careful of what they eat.
Selecting Your Decor
Regardless of whether or not a gathering is celebrating the Fourth of July, color schemes for summer parties tend to favor red, white and blue. Although this patriotic coloration is enjoyable, hosts may wish to deviate from tradition; when this happens, remember that warm colors like yellow, red, orange and even pink are also appropriate for summer parties.
If hitting the beach, the islands or the open water are among your favorite things to do, build a theme around the concept. The decor you select for your BBQ event should reflect your personality and enhance your outdoor space. If it seems likely that insects are going to ruin your guests’ good time, carefully incorporate citronella candles into your decorating plans. Finally, remember that appropriate lighting by way of paper lanterns, tiki torches, or hanging lights add ambiance while keeping guests from stumbling once the sun goes down.
While you are probably wondering exactly what party decor and safety have in common, it is important to remember to arrange decorations properly. Tripping hazards from poorly placed items or unintentional fires from decorating too close to the grill could ruin what would otherwise be an excellent evening. You must also ensure your own safety. For instance, keeping a spray bottle of water close at hand while manning the grill, or for charcoal users, following the instructions on the lighter fluid, could mean the difference between a successful, safe barbeque and one that ends with an injury.
Detail-oriented planning is the key to making your next BBQ a successful one. While delicious food goes a long way toward a successful event, providing an attractive, safe, and fun setting will make your function more enjoyable for everyone. By tending to even the smallest details, you can send your friends and loved ones home with a full stomach and a smile.