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It’s time to prep your grill and send out the invites for your upcoming friendly backyard BBQ!  Here’s a few tips to help you have a stellar BBQ that will impress your friends and family this outdoor season.

Make sure to have the food ready before guests arrive

It’s fun to have friends over.  And it’s even more fun to be able to enjoy time with those friends when they are there. Try to have almost everything done before they arrive, especially the food.  Main course items like hamburgers and hot dogs can be grilled while enjoying a drink and talking with friends outside, but prepare as much beforehand as possible to save your sanity.

Summer BBQMake it a Potluck

Another way to save yourself some time and peace of mind is to ask a few friends to bring side dishes.  Not only will this save you time (and money) but it will also create a great array of offerings for all your friends.  Those bringing dishes probably won’t make what you would normally make and it gives your party different options!  This is nice to do for those who have food allergies and sensitivities too.

Don’t Forget the Details

We all know that we want some easy clean up at the end of a long hot day.  But, nothing makes your guests feel more special than little tiny details.  Think about trying non-disposable plates and flatware instead.  Look for melamine picnic dishes with liners – they are usually inexpensive and are sure to make your backyard bbq stand out!  Then take a quick minute to wrap silverware bundles in napkins.  Add a handwritten tag with a fun song or the names of your guests. They are sure to love these small details and tell their other friends all about your party!

Snacks Snacks Snacks

Snacks are super important.  Especially if you are going to be cooking the main course once the guests arrive.  Make sure to have dips and finger foods so everyone can snack while they catch up.  Also, make sure to have foods that are ok outside too.  Cut watermelon, fruits and veggies, and chips and salsa are always crowd-pleasers and don’t take a lot of effort.  

Try a Fun Cocktail

Whip up a big batch of Moscow Mules or Sangria for your guests.  These easy drinks with easy garnishes still bring a touch of something special, setting your party apart!  Offer mocktails or soda and water for those who don’t drink too.  If you are looking for something that can work for both, check out Tailored Toddies.

Decorations

Throw up some decorative lights outside.  This simple step can really go a long way.  And when the sun goes down, you’ll have a beautiful ambiance that is sure to impress your guests!   Also, layered tablecloths on the outdoor tables can give a warm feel as well.  Just takes your party up a notch… and an easy one at that!  And you can leave them up all year round!

Citronella

We all know mosquitos can really ruin a good thing.  Make sure to grab some extra citronella candles for the evening.  Not only will they keep those pesky bugs away, but they’ll add to the ambiance of your outdoor lighting too!  And just in case, grab a couple different types of bug spray for your guests to use if they’d like.

Yard Games

There’s so many yard games out there to play.  Party favorites include Bocce Ball, Cornhole, and Giant Jenga and most can be found at your local Target or Walmart.  The best thing about all of these is that they are enjoyable to both watch and play.  They keep everyone engaged and excited throughout the afternoon or evening!

Skip Desserts and Make Smores

Load up the firepit with some logs and take it back to old campfire style.  Roast up some S’mores and enjoy!  Offer fun extras like peanut butter, Reese’s cups, or candied bacon to create some different recipes.  Everyone loves sitting around a fire on a cool night, especially at the end of a great party.

Have a Back-Up Plan

Listen, we all know that the day we have a big event, we don’t want it to rain.  But unfortunately, we can’t guarantee that won’t happen.  Don’t break the bank or anything, but just make sure you have a plan for if it does start storming in the middle of the party.  This might mean making sure the garage is cleaned out or asking a couple friends to throw some extra folding chairs in their trunk.  The best part of the day will be being with friends, even if you have to get a little cozy inside if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Enjoy!

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