Anyone can throw together a grill session in a matter of moments. All it takes is a few friends, a couple burgers, and some beers. But hosting the ultimate backyard party takes a bit more planning. To make sure your next outdoor event is as much fun for you as it is for your guests, we put together our ultimate backyard party checklist.
The Month Before
- Pick a Date & Invite Your Guests – Summer is going by in a flash. Make sure you don’t get fully booked before it’s over. Take a look at your calendar. Find a date that will work for you. Then, invite your guests. You want to give your guests as much notice as possible. Like you, their calendar is likely to quickly fill up.
- Clean Up Your BBQ – Between living outdoors and getting used regularly, BBQs take quite a beating. It’s not unusual for them to become more than a bit dirty. Give your grill a good deep cleaning to remove any grease and/or grime that’s built up on the exterior. Check the fuel line to make sure it’s operating properly. If you have a charcoal grill, empty excess soot and check that the vents are working properly.
- Take Stock of Your Outdoor Furniture – Even the most active of guests will most likely want to sit from time to time. Take stock of your outdoor furniture. How’s it looking? Does it need to be cleaned or repaired? Do you perhaps need to replace a few items or bring in a few additional items – like an extra set of tables and chairs?
Three Weeks in Advance
- Outline Your Menu – Even if you’re going with the classic burgers and dogs, picking your menu in advance can help you plan what side dishes you want, how long each dish will take to make, how much you need to make, and whether or not you need to ask for help.
- Restock Your Essentials – Certain items are go-tos for almost every backyard party. These include fuel and/or charcoal, paper towels, aluminum foil, heavy duty paper plates, and sunscreen. The earlier you start resupplying your essentials the easier it will be and the better chance you’ll have to capitalize on sales.
- Pick Your Games – Most likely, you don’t want everyone standing around staring at one another eating and drinking. Games are a great way to get everyone moving and interacting. This is especially true if some of your guests don’t know one another very well.
- Buy Your Nonperishable Items – The earlier you can take care of the items on your menu, the less you have to do the week and day of your party. Items like wine, beer, pop, and condiments won’t go bad. Buy these items in advance and cross them off your to do list.
- Get Your Final Headcount – Check with anyone who hasn’t RSVP’d yet to confirm if they’re coming. You certainly don’t want to plan for 40 when only 20 are showing up. What a waste of food that would be!
- Give the Guest Bath a Once Over – One of the best things about backyard parties is that the guests are outside. You don’t have to worry about making sure the living room and dining room are perfectly put together. But your guests will most likely need to use your restroom. Make sure the toilet and sink are clean. Stock the bathroom with extra toilet paper, soap, and hand towels.
Get Your Tunes Ready – Whether you’re streaming music or playing some of your favorite old tapes, make sure the sound system is working and the playlist is appropriate.
- Get Your Perishables – One or two days before the party, get your perishable items. These include fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, and meat.
- Get the Tunes Rolling – It’s always more fun to set up if there’s music on.
- Get the Drinks Cold – Place your drinks in a cooler or large bin and top with ice.
- Prep Side Dishes
- Organize the Grill
- Put out a Garbage Can – This will help guests know where to toss any empty bottles and dirty plates.
- HAVE FUN!