I love barbecues. Who doesn't? Barbecues are an awesome way for friends and family to come together and enjoy great food, cold drinks, fun and games. Creating a carefree social environment is not an easy and can require a great amount of effort.
In this article, you will learn the basics on how to organize and host a fun and engaging BBQ. Pretty soon, all of your guests will be asking you when the next BBQ will be. This guide consists of steps that I use when planning a last minute BBQ. Just follow along, and try some of these tips yourself!
Before the BBQ
Pick a Date & Time
It may seem obvious, but picking a date and time for the event is the very first step in planning it. Whether tomorrow or three weeks from now, try to choose a date and time that works best for both you and the majority of your guests. Be definitive when deciding and once you communicate the date and time to your guests try to stick to them.
Once you have determined the date and time of the BBQ, you can start inviting people. There are a number of ways to reach a large number of guests with relatively little time and effort. Here are a few:
- Create an event on Facebook and invite your guests.
- Draft a text message. Then, copy and paste it to guests in your phones contacts.
- Tweet out the invitation.
- Use word-of-mouth to spread the word.
Facebook can track the number of individuals who are going, maybe going, or not going to your event. This feature can come in handy. In my opinion a text message is more personal, yet difficult to keep track of. Tweeting can get tricky, but it is definitely a way to reach a large number of people at once.
Lastly, word of mouth is not to be underestimated. We all have those friends. You know, the "connectors" who seem to know everyone. Tell your connector friends to invite others. That is one of the best ways to meet new people.
When sending the invitation, encourage guests to bring a drink or a side dish. This will cut down on the amount of items you will need to purchase ahead of time and guests love contributing to events in this way.
Check the Checklist
Now, there are a number of things that must be done to prepare for the day of the event.
Food - Decide on what types of meat, drinks and sides you will be providing.
Grill - Ensure there is enough gas (or coals) for your grill and have your BBQ utensils ready to go.
Flatware - Purchase disposable plates, cups, forks, knives, spoons and napkins.
Trash - Organize a few places for guests to dispose of their trash. Leave extra empty trash bags out in the open. When the trash can gets full, someone will usually open an empty bag if they see a box of them laying around close by.
Clean - Focus first on the bathroom. Then move to cleaning any other areas where guests will primarily be congregating. Perhaps you may want to mow the lawn, or wipe off the outdoor seating. Most importantly, make sure there is enough toilet paper for your guests.
Music - The music you choose has a direct effect on the vibe of the BBQ. Spotify has thousands of playlists created by everyday people and creating an account is free. You are able to use your smartphone or iPad and shuffle any playlist you choose. You can even create your own playlist to shuffle. They have a million songs to choose from so have some fun with it. If possible, I strongly recommend delegating this task to a music savvy friend.
Camera - Make sure your camera is charged. Take a lot of pictures. Once the BBQ is over, upload the images to Facebook and tag your guests. This is another opportunity for guests to connect with others they may have met for the first time at your BBQ.
Games - Games are what make a BBQ fun. It is important to have games planned that allow a large number of people to play at one time. Personally, I enjoy playing Cards Against Humanity and Catchphrase with my guests. Both of these games can have a large number of players, and have my guests laughing so hard that they cry.
The Day of The BBQ
The day is finally here! It is the morning of the event, and you have begun setting up for a few hours. Run through the list and make sure the important things are accounted for. Notice I said "the important things." Odds are there will be a few things that you forget about and that is okay. Some things are not important so don't waste time worrying about them. However, if you forget something like trash bags or toilet paper, then have a friend available to run to the store or pick something up on their way.
When your guests start to trickle in, give them a general overview of where the drinks, food and bathroom are located. Odds are you will be finishing up a few minor touches when the first few guests begin to arrive. Don't be afraid to ask your guests for help. I learned this the hard way. Being a good host (hostess) doesn't mean refusing to ask your guests for help. Guests want to feel like they are a part of your home and what better way to do that then by giving them the chance to actually be a part of it!
The music is playing, the food is cooking, the wine is flowing - now what? Simple. Enjoy yourself. Don't busy yourself with meaningless tasks and chores. Take time and enjoy the party. Mingle. Connect old friends with new ones. Have a few drinks and be the life of the party! That is what BBQ's are all about - being yourself and enjoying the company of others.