August: the tail end of summer and the jumpstart to the school year. It's a great time to bring family and friends together for a barbecue before summer fades into fall. The following are a few tips to throw the perfect get-together in your very own backyard!
First off, when planning a party, it is wise to pick a day or night you know will work for the majority of the people you’re inviting. As a general rule of thumb, inviting people a couple of weeks in advance is appropriate so guests will have time to put your party on their calendars but not so much that time they forget about it. Facebook, email or texting invites are all good choices. To add that je ne sais quoi to your barbecue, send out tangible invitations… on paper…with a stamp! People will love seeing it in the mail and be excited to see what else you have in store for them at the barbecue.
The key to drinks is to have a variety. You can set up a tub or bucket, fill it with ice and place your various drinks inside the ice. This will not only make grabbing a drink stress-free, it adds a unique decoration piece to the backyard. Mason jars are a trending cup of choice that are a great addition to your backyard party. You can set out some jars and let guests add mint, lemon slices or berries to their lemonade, tea or water. This is an easy way to impress the crowds because people will be able to tailor their drink to their liking.
Pro tip: Decorative, colored straws are a cheap and effortless way to add a pop of fun to the beverages at your party. For really creative drinks, check out these tasty wine cocktails!
Now for the obvious - food!
When throwing a backyard barbecue, grilling is a great start! Grilled chicken or hamburgers are a classic fan-favorite; however, don’t be afraid to throw vegetables on the grill too. Corn is in season in August and its taste is perfected on the grill. If you’re feeling adventurous, throw some fruit on the grill. Watermelon and pineapple are exceptionally tasty when grilled. Finger foods, like chips and dip or a potato salad, can be set out while the grill is creating magic. This will make a casual and comfortable atmosphere as people don’t feel like they have to line up for food once everything is ready. This will also take some pressure off the cook as everything wont’ be expected to be ready right at the same time.
Let’s talk décor. An affordable and memorable embellishment to your backyard party is a set of twinkle lights, or Christmas lights. Hanging a strand or two from the house to a tree or around the food table can add an enchanted feel to your get-together. Another inexpensive and functional décor piece could be a basket of bug spray, sunscreen and blankets, as it starts to get cooler into the night. This will make guests feel at home and cared for at your house.
Pro tip: Have a cute, handmade sign pointing to the bathrooms so guests feel comfortable navigating inside your house to use the facilities.
Hospitality is an art that anyone can master. Invite some friends and family over, enjoy this month outdoors and take some time to appreciate the house you live in. We’ll bring the potato salad!