Are you looking to host the perfect barbecue garden party this summer? It can be tempting, but also daunting. We all know the feeling of wanting to invite family and friends over for some fun and some good food. Yet, we worry and we put ourselves off by claiming it will be bad, there will be too much to do and it won’t be enjoyable… Here’s how you can ensure you throw a killer barbecue this summer
Food and Drink
You want to throw a barbecue, so you need to put together some good food. Of course, there is some pressure involved, but pressure makes diamonds and don’t forget that. What’s more – never be afraid to ask for help. You can even frame it in a way to highlight your accommodating nature and natural hosting ability. If you pose the idea of welcoming suggestions, contributions and help you will seem like the thoughtful leader your loved ones are looking for.
Keep it simple with your choices of meat – the classics. Burgers, sausages and all that is expected. You should, however, bring some fresh twists to the originals. So, how about a pork and apple sausage? You could add some summer heat to your burgers with jalapenos, bring out the brioche buns and offer plenty of toppings. Just try new things and offer variety – you can’t go wrong.
Veganism is becoming vastly more popular and it is crucial to cater to your friends living a green life. Your best bet is to ask them when they like and do some quick research. There are some great recipes for things like peach and mushroom burgers that may sound unusual, but will go down a treat. Don’t sweat about preparing crazy, elaborate dishes for the vegans in attendance – we all love simple food and it’s best not to have too much that can go wrong!
Finally, put out a spread. Lay it down buffet-style and you’ll be a hero. Guests can choose for themselves and nobody feels uncomfortable about not eating this or that. You can switch out the savoury for the sweet when the time comes and it will be a quick transition. Furthermore, you can package all the leftovers up and take them to your local homeless shelter. We all bring in too much food during barbecue season, so there is no need to throw away all that is extra.
We need to give a moment to desert. It’s important – it’s summer, you don’t need to get your bikini body ready for winter, so it’s okay to indulge for this one night. Put together some fruity cheesecakes, some ice cream, some fruit salad options and you’re set. Play it cool – pardon the pun – and let others bring deserts if they like. Keeping it light will mean you’re not too full for the fun and games that are about to kick off…
Drinks… Yes, the vital component to ensuring your garden party is a scorcher. Again, it’s best to keep it simple. Ask people to bring what they like so everyone can share and try new things. If you stock up on the classics and bring in some fruity summer specials there will be no trouble. Don’t forget about the little ones and those not alcohol-inclined. Plenty of ice-cold water, fruit juices, squash and soft drinks always go down well on a warm day.
Equipment and Entertainment
Are you prepared for how many people you have coming? What does your garden furniture setup look like? Garden furniture is paramount to comfort, especially for those that eat and/or drink too much at barbecues. So, just offer some options. Some might want to take a lie down – you can set down some blankets and cater for that. Some might want some more structure – you can set out some outdoor sofas, metal chairs, loungers – the options are endless. For some more targeted inspiration, check out our outdoor furniture page.
You should also think about the transition from arrival, to eating, to relaxing. By thinking about the different situations your guests will be in, you will be sure to curate the perfect barbecue situation. Think about tables and chairs for eating, some communal areas for people to sit, talk, eat, enjoy each other’s company. People aren’t generally picky or difficult, just make sure there is enough room for everyone!
Entertainment; it’s imperative for a great garden party. In case you were wondering, the tone to set is relaxed and pleasantly competitive. Games are great for some friendly competition and the dynamic of hyper children running rings around parents in any field sport is enjoyable for all – tag rugby (let’s keep it safe, no contact), football, tennis, cricket – there is something for everyone. How about setting up a zone for the kids away from the barbecue? You can arrange some activities that are still in your view, but will allow the younger ones the space to do their own thing. As cool as the adults might think they are, children like their own space too.
It’s time to talk about music. Firstly, set up a few playlists to suit the mood. And again – outsource it. Get your sound system outside and prepare your setup to allow for swift changes in aux ownership. By letting everyone chip in, you’re creating an environment that is inclusive and – once again – catering to the tastes of the many, not just yourself. It’s great to open your mind to the preferences of different people and change it up now and then. Also, consider the different times of a barbecue… Much as is true with seating, there are different moods to set with music – start off with something ambient and relaxed while you’re guests are arriving and everyone is eating, then think about turning it up a notch with some well-known music for people to dance and sing to. Don’t forget, it starts as a barbecue and ends as a garden party.
Finally, why not turn your party space into an intimate movie screening? You can tie a white sheet up, hook up a projector, arrange some seating (blankets at the front and chairs or sofas at the back) and bring everyone together for a relaxing end to a packed garden party. Obviously, it’s going to be pretty late at this point (naturally, it needs to be dark in order to see projection), so it’s a great way to wind down and see the day in. Remember – the theme running throughout this guide – keep it classic. There is a reason things are classic, so for a guaranteed hit, go for a flick for everyone. How about a ‘kids’ movie that has some jokes for the adults?
It can be intimidating to be responsible for the good time of a barbecue, especially when you’re aiming for a garden party. So, it’s important to know that nobody is expecting you to do everything or for everything to go smoothly. People are also always willing to help out. By remaining calm and presenting a relaxed setting, there is no reason for anyone to feel uncomfortable and it should go down a storm. Providing there is no geological storm, of course.
Do you feel well prepared to host the perfect barbecue garden party this summer? Well, the fun doesn’t stop here. We have plenty of other articles to inspire you to take your garden living to the next level – check them out here.