To keep with our theme of celebrating all that is left of summer we are giving tips on how to throw the perfect backyard BBQ or Pool party. The best parties are the ones you prepare for. The more prepared for the party you are the more time you will have to mingle with guests and have as much fun as everyone else is. A BBQ is a great reason to have people over or a great way to celebrate something like a birthday (mine is tomorrow 🙂 ), or a new venture in life. Whatever your reason, here are 6 tips to help make the day a success.
1.) Be prepared – Prep everything and anything you can in advance. If you are one to make everything yourself make anything that will be kept cold the day before. Prep desserts or any baking one or two days before the party. If you want to make it even easier on yourself don’t be afraid to buy some sides at the store. Just transfer them into your own dishes that go with party rather than serving them in the plastic tubs they came in. The more you can prep before the day the easier it will be to get ready the day of.
2.) Embrace the Crock-Pot – I don’t know about all of you, but I love, love, love using my crock-pot, especially when it is time to feed a small army. It is the perfect way to make side dishes like baked beans, warm dips for the party, and even things like BBQ pulled pork or chicken. Just prep everything early on in the morning and it will be ready to go when the guests arrive.
3.) Prep you Backyard – Make sure to clean up the yard and clean off all the furniture you will be using. Rearrange the yard for the day if you have to. Make an area for food where you can set out snacks, the main dish, and a beverage station. It will make the most sense to set the food up close to the grill, but not too close that the heat is too much for colder items or the people grabbing food. Set up a couple different sitting areas. If it will be a pool party with children make sure to set up the sitting areas with a good view of the pool so someone is always watching the kids when in the water. Leave another area open for some games, you don’t want anyone to get bored or run out of things to do.
4.) Décor – Keep it Simple – Let you backyard be the majority of the decorations. Choose matching outdoor dishes or use paper products. There are many places out there now to order coordinating party décor. Get colorful tablecloths for easy clean up when everything is done. Use mason jars to set out things like silverware and napkins so things don’t fly away if the wind kicks up. If setting out items that need to stay cold get a bowl larger than what the dish is in and fill it with ice, set the cold items over the ice so food doesn’t spoil. You don’t have to go overboard with the decorations a simple table that looks nice with coordinated items is all you really need. Do as much or as little as you want (or your budget allows).
5.) Lighting is Essential – You want the party to go on after the sun goes down then you will need some lighting. You don’t want to flood the area with light, but you do want nice ambient light that allows people to see what they are doing. Outdoor sting lights are great for this as they put off a dim light that is great in a space. You can add some candles to the tables as well or even the battery operated “candles” you can get now so you don’t have to worry about the flames if they are left unattended. Looking for some fun colorful lights for the pool without spending a lot of money? Get glow sticks and put them in balloons, blow them up and toss in the pool for cool floating lights.
6.) Always have Activities – Of course everyone wants to hang out and chat, but the best parties always have other things to do. Remember in the third tip when we said leave a spot for games, now you need that spot. This could mean have some fun board games you all like to play stacked off to the side and ready to come out once dinner is done and people are looking for something new to do. It could mean setting up a game of horseshoes or cornhole (the bean bag toss game) in the yard. If it is a pool party make sure to have some floats out or even some volleyball or basketball sets to get the pool games going.
However you like to celebrate if you follow these steps and prep right for the big day you will have more time to enjoy the party as much as your guests most certainly will.