Oh, the summer sun, summer nights, and summer fun!
Labor Day is approaching, as is the promise of warmer weather, longer evenings, and festive summer nights. As the desire to take your summer get-together into the great outdoors of your backyard grows stronger, so does the need to be a good host or hostess.
So, here are some handy DIY tips for hosting the best BBQ bash this summer!
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1. Mood Lighting
We all know that lighting can truly set the tone for the perfect evening in. Well, the same rule applies to your own backyard! What's worse than stumbling around in the yard after the sun has set with only the glow of a dodgy porch lamp or your indoor lighting peeking through?
A quick and effective fix for this comes with the addition of fairy lights. Yes, fairy lights can literally hang anywhere around your yard to create the perfect mood! All you need is a little imagination and creative hanging skills (think: tree branches, gazebo legs, fences, and the border of window ledges).
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2. Flowing Drinks
Here's how you can keep the drinks flowing, and accommodate every one of your guest's diverse tastes.
Stock up on a few varieties of soda and iced teas, and pour it into some drinks dispensers (be as creative as you want) topped up with some ice. Then, people can
Don't be scared to tell your invited guests that the BBQ is a BYOB affair; this will ensure everyone has access to something he or she will enjoy, and it keeps you from spending a fortunate on booze. However, be prepared with a small number of alcoholic beverages, just in case!
Create a makeshift bar in your garden complete with cups and scoops for ice! Allow your friends to create their perfect mixers and alleviate the financial burden of supplying all of the alcohol and the stress of potentially running out mid-party!
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3. The Main Event
The main event: FOOD! Typically, whoever hosts the BBQ is also the one fixed to the grill for the duration of the event. It's time to change that, starting with a main dish that is easy to prep and serve.
Get everyone involved with a build-your-own burger station. Stock up on the staple burger toppings, and allow for some creativity with some fun condiment flavor combinations! Plan grilling and eating time accordingly, and stick to a schedule, this way you can ensure to free yourself up from the grill and rejoin in the party!
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4. A Little Bit on the Side
Make sure you have a plentiful supply of sides! Think, potato salad, pasta salad, green salads, fruit salad, mac and cheese, chips and salsa... yes! It is common for cookouts to have a pot-luck theme where guests bring different snacks and sides, so this is the best place for you to ask your guests to get involved in the planning.
You can even secure your side dishes from bugs and creepy crawlies by serving up in large glass canisters with airtight lids. Just make sure you have scoops or spoons for your guests to easily access their treats!
Image source: Simple Bites
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5. Organized Dishes and Utensils
So, what should you do about plates and utensils, you ask?
For silverware, grab some mason jars. They're available at almost any home store nowadays, and they can be found in tinted colors for a more fun, festive look. Other ideas include beach buckets, empty planters, wicker baskets, or a picnic caddy. Find a nice-looking stone or paperweight to hold napkins and paper/foam plates in place if the evening turns breezy.
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6. Give Me S'more Dessert!
For dessert, you can't go wrong with s'mores! If your BBQ is a family affair, your kids will love you forever.
Much like your burgers, tackle dessert with a do-it-yourself approach, and let the kids (and adults) get creative! Prepare a small table with small bowls filled with marshmallows, chocolate squares (bonus "wow-factor" for different chocolate varieties), graham crackers, and any additional treats!
Let people crowd around the grill or fire pit (if you have one) to toast their own marshmallows, and voila! The perfect treat to satisfy sweet teeth!
Warning: Make sure small children are supervised at all times when working around an open flame or grill.
Image source: Catch My Party
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7. After Dark Entertainment
Finally, for some post-BBQ entertainment, set the scene! Have you ever thought about a pop-up movie under the stars? Well, it's not such a tough idea to follow through with!
All you have to do is fix a white sheet or screen to a flat surface—an exterior wall should work perfectly—and project your desired film. If you don't already own a projector you can rent one (or DIY one if you're super creative).
Lay out some blankets and set up lawn chairs to make sure everyone is comfortable. Encourage your guests ahead of time to bring something to sit on if they have a preference.
Then, just press play! You can even serve some popcorn and candy to add to the mood!
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