One of the many reasons that most people love summer is because it’s the perfect time to host a barbeque party! The fine and sunny weather creates a perfect atmosphere to take out your grill, cook the meat, and invite your friends and families for some hot barbeques. Furthermore, a BBQ party can also be an excellent theme if you’re celebrating birthdays, reunions, and other social gatherings.
But like any other party theme, hosting a BBQ party will also require intensive planning, especially if you’re planning a massive party for a big crowd. But worry not, as this article will give you a step-by-step guide when planning a BBQ party and ensure it starts and ends successfully.
Here’s a simple guide along with some BBQ party-planning tips to help you organize a stress-free BBQ party that will surely impress your guests:
- Pick The Right Day For The BBQ Party
Before you start planning the food or location, your first move is to choose the right day for the BBQ party. As much as possible, pick a day when all or at least most of your guests are free and available (e.g., weekends, holidays). If you’re celebrating a birthday and the date falls on a weekday, you may schedule the party at night when most of your guests are already done with their work shift. You also need to do a quick weather check to ensure that the day you picked won’t be rainy, windy, or stormy.
- Plan Your Guest List
Even if a BBQ party may seem like an informal gathering, unlike wedding receptions or cocktail parties, you still need to plan your guest list. That’s because the number of guests you invite will affect the amount of food, especially meat, you’ll need to cook and grill for the entire crowd. So, have a good estimate of how many people will be joining your BBQ party. Perhaps you’re planning to invite your family, relatives, and friends. Just remember not to invite too many people if you don’t have enough budget to buy and prepare food for all of them.
- Plan And Prepare Your Menu
Just because it’s a BBQ party doesn’t mean you’ll only serve barbeques for your guests. The menu preparation for your BBQ Party won’t be easier than the other party themes. Before the party, take your time planning and preparing the menu.
Since you now have an idea of how many guests are coming, you’ll know how many kilograms of meat products you’ll need to order for the party. For bulk orders, you may check out the website of meat dealers such as the Grand Peaks Prime Meats or other meat suppliers in your area. You may browse their website for meat packages, especially if you plan to order multiple options for your guests (e.g., beef, chicken, pork).
Once you’ve got your ordered meat, ensure they’re ready to be grilled before your guests arrive. You don’t want to still be cleaning and slicing while your guests are already at your party waiting for you. As much as possible, by the time they arrive, the meats are already sliced and are currently grilled so your guests can chitchat or watch you as you finish the barbeques.
Aside from the barbeque and grilled meat, prepare all the side dishes before they arrive. You may ask a family or friend to help you chop the tomatoes and lettuce and form burger patties so that everything is almost or completely ready when your guests arrive.
- Adjust Your Menu To Cater To Your Guests’ Preferences
When preparing your party’s menu, you must always take note of your guests’ personal food preferences. Remember that even if it’s a BBQ party, your vegetarian friends will still surely come over to join in on the fun. So, instead of making them feel left out, be ready to expand your menu and provide dishes suitable for vegetarians. If most of your guests are red-beef lovers, consider forgoing the chicken to make more room and budget for beef. Meanwhile, if most of your guests are bringing their kids, you must prepare some finger food suitable for kids.
- Ensure You Have Enough Charcoal Or Propane
The last thing any party host would want is to leave in the middle of the party to run errands and additional supplies of charcoal or propane. Not only is it stressful and time-consuming, but it’s also a hassle and can completely ruin the mood of the party. Plus, once you return from buying charcoal, your raw meat will look rubbery from waiting too long to be cooked. To avoid such a situation, check if you have enough charcoal or propane to last the entire party duration.
- Do Not Forget To Prepare And Stock Enough Drinks
As part of your party preparation, stock your cooler with drinks suitable for all your guests, both kids and adults. Preferably, you can set up two separate drinking stations intended for kids and adults. For example, the kid-friendly drink station must be filled with juice boxes, bottled waters, ice, fruit shakes, and other kid-appropriate drinks. Meanwhile, the adult drink station may be filled with wine, beer, soda, and other adult beverages.
If you’re planning to offer summer season drinks like cocktails and mocktails, it’s best to have them pre-mixed. This way, you won’t spend the rest of the party stirring and pouring the drinks. Some of the best summer cocktails you can prepare are:
- Summer Sangria
- Mint Julep
During the party, make your guests feel welcome by offering them their first beverage. You can do this by the entrance or when they’re finally seated in their seats. Then, encourage them to help themselves with more drinks so you can resume your last-minute food preparations.
- Decide On The Location
Suppose you’ve figured out everything you need to prepare for the BBQ party’s food and drinks. It’s now time to decide on a fixed location for your party. Generally, BBQ parties must be held outdoors since it’s not possible to grill meat indoors. So, pick an outdoor location that will be easier for you to host and organize a party. Most people choose their backyard as the party location since it’s free, accessible, and close to their indoor kitchen. You can quickly go to your kitchen if you need to grab any equipment.
On the other hand, if your backyard’s not spacious enough for a BBQ party, you may consider other outdoor spaces like the park or campground. Just ensure you have the permits or permissions from the space owners before planning the rest of the event.
- Hang Decorative Outdoor Lights
Unless you’re having a BBQ party in broad daylight, you’ll need ample lighting to keep your BBQ party going for the rest of the night. Instead of the traditional light bulbs you currently have in your backyard, spruce it up with additional decorative outdoor lights like tiki torches, string lights, lanterns, butterfly lights, etc. These decorative lights can quickly improve the party’s atmosphere and add festivity to your BBQ Party.
- Have A There For Your Outdoor Party
Although a BBQ party is already a theme per se, you may still consider having another theme for your party decorations or your guests’ outfits. Some of the perfect party themes fit for a BBQ party are:
- Mexican Fiesta
- Escape To The Islands/Hawaiian Theme
- Country Rodeo/Cowboy Theme
Your chosen party theme will be your inspiration in picking decorations for the venue and buying props for your guests. For example, if you decide to have a Country Rodeo BBQ Party, you can buy bandanas, cowboy hats, and fake moustaches for your guests so they can wear them during the party.
- Prepare Outdoor Games For All Ages
What’s an outdoor party when there’s no game to play? Take your outdoor BBQ party to the next level and prepare outdoor games fit for all your guests. If you have kids at the party, organize some outdoor games like:
- Potato Sack Race
- Water Balloon Piñata
For adults, you can have games such as:
- Bottle Ring Toss
- Lawn Bowling
- Beer Pong
- Lawn Darts
Preparing outdoor games will keep the kids busy while adults can also play while drinking or socializing.
- Encourage Guests To Bring Side Dishes
Although not necessary, this tip can come in handy, especially if you’re hosting a large BBQ party. So, when you send invitations to your guests, you can include asking them to bring side dishes if they want to. Don’t worry as this isn’t compulsory and this won’t also feel like a burden for them. In fact, most guests love to show off their homemade dishes or DIY recipes, and bringing one to your BBQ party can be a perfect opportunity for them. Plus, your guests’ side dishes will save you time and energy from preparing everything yourself.
- Set Up The Snack Area Away From The Grill
During planning, the idea of guests surrounding you while you’re grilling may sound fun and exciting. But during the party, you might soon realize that having people surrounding you while grilling can be annoying. So, to prevent your guests from hovering around you while you cook, set up the snacks area away from the grill. This way, you have your own space to wrap up your last-minute cooking obligations while your guests continue to chitchat and have fun.
- Practice Fire Safety Measures
Hosting a BBQ party means you’ll be dealing with fire since you’ll be grilling and cooking in front of your guests. Meats like burgers and sausages are filled with fats that could cause flare-ups. For everyone’s safety, ensure to practice proper fire safety measures and have a fire extinguisher or spray bottle prepared in case of small grease fires.
Let Your BBQ Party Begin!
Now that you know how to host and organize a BBQ Party, you can start planning for your own. Just remember that the most important tip is to have fun. So, while ensuring your guests are having fun, you must also have a good time yourself while grilling the food.