For many people, nice summer weather means it’s time host regular barbecues with friends and family. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the planning process, though. But if you keep a few simple things in mind, not only will you have a great day of scrumptious food, delicious, refreshing drinks and fantastic company, but you’ll also know how to do it with minimal stress, making it even more enjoyable.
Start With the Planning Basics
As with any event or task, you want to make sure you have all your bases covered — and hosting a barbecue is no different. But it’s important to remember cookouts are typically casual events, so there’s no reason to create an elaborate plan. Keep things simple instead.
Choose the day and time of your cookout, but instead of sending actual invites, send a group text to tell everyone when to show up. Some things you should consider before sending an invite blast include:
- Whether you want to hire a catering company or provide food yourself. Alternatively, you could provide meat and fixings for the main entree and ask guests to bring a dish to share.
- Should you have guests bring their own drinks? This is a good option if you plan to have alcohol at your barbecue because it can drive up your costs. Consider providing soft drinks and water and telling your guests if they want alcoholic beverages to bring them.
- Whether or not you need guests to bring lawn chairs with them. It’s important to make sure you have enough room to seat everyone, and sometimes the easiest way to do that is to have guests bring portable lawn chairs for each member of their family.
Also, it’s important to remember if you’re having guests bring a dish to share, you should have them tell you what they are bringing. This way, you don’t end up with a lot of duplicate dishes or a lot of desserts and no side dishes. Oh, and make sure to tell them to RSVP so you know how much food you need to purchase.
Make To-Do Lists For Yourself
Once your guests RSVP for your barbecue, you can make your shopping list. However, shopping for food isn’t the only thing you need to concentrate on. You should also make a big to-do list for yourself that includes a timeline so you know when things, like food prep, that need to be completed so everything is ready when guests arrive.
Also, make sure your grill is up for the task of entertaining by thoroughly cleaning it and oiling the grates. You should also make sure you have enough propane on hand — and possibly a backup tank, just in case. If you are using a charcoal grill, make sure you have more than enough charcoal and lighter fluid to use. The last thing you want to do is run to the store mid-party.
Prep Your Yard
The safest way to have fun in the sun is to make sure you also have a cool, shaded area for respite from the summer heat. It makes it difficult to take a break and enjoy a bite to eat if you can’t escape the sweltering heat. Have plenty of ice and water on hand too, more than you think you’ll need. If you don’t have a covered patio or seating space that’s shaded by trees, consider renting or purchasing an outdoor tent.
Set up family-safe games to play while your guests are outside. Things like yard Yahtzee, badminton, volleyball, or cornhole are always good options. You might also want to plan activities like relay races or water balloon fights to keep the kids entertained.
Remember, the most important part of hosting a family barbecue is the company. So keep the planning process as simple as possible so you can relax and enjoy the fun.