There is no better way to usher in the warmer weather than by dusting off your barbecue and grilling as many of your meals as possible. Barbecuing is a popular past-time and a great opportunity to socialize and share food with your friends, coworkers, neighbours and family. Planning a barbecue party may seem daunting but with a little planning, you can easily execute a memorable evening of good company, fun times and delicious food.
Because backyard parties are centered on food, you should start by planning the food you will serve. To please all of your party guests, you will want to have a selection of meats. Popular choices are hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, steaks or chicken breasts. Certainly two or three options is ideal. In addition to meats, you will want to think about side dishes. Popular barbecue side dishes may include, but should definitely not be limited to, tossed salads, macaroni salads, coleslaw and fruit salads.
Once you decide what foods to serve at your party you will then need to plan how those foods are prepared. You will of course prepare the meats during the party on your barbecue but most of the side dishes will need to be made ahead of time. Most side dishes can be put together the day before and refrigerated. If you are planning a large party, do not hesitate to ask that guests bring a small dish a la potluck style.
Drinks and snacks are also important options to have at your backyard barbecue party. Great snack ideas include crackers and cheese, cookies, chips and pretzels. If you are hesitant to ask guests to prepare and bring dishes, you can always ask them to bring a small snack with them. For drinks, you will want to provide guests with water as well as choices such as juice or pop. You can choose to provide alcohol or ask guests to bring their own.
To keep everyone entertained, especially any little ones coming along, you will want to plan some fun activities. For children, try to set up some outdoor toys such as slides or teeter-totters if available, or activities such as soccer, mini-golf or hula hoops. For adults, you can always acquire a washer-toss game or a cricket set. Fortunately, most adults may want to get involved in some of the kids’ activities as well.
If you have a pool, then you already have a party! Definitely incorporate swimming into your backyard barbecue party. Be sure to ask guests to bring swimsuits and towels and establish some clear rules for pool safety – especially if children are involved.
Lastly, you need to let guests know about your party! Invitations can be sent out via social media, text or, better yet, a quick phone call or formal invitation in the mail (there’s something to be said about old-school forms of communication). Prepare a guest list to keep your numbers organized and to track who is attending and who is not.
Most importantly: HAVE FUN! This is a chance to connect with others, not to cater to guests or show off your impeccable hosting skills. Delight in the company of others and enjoy this beautiful time of year!