Sunday, October 30, 2022


By Nina Simons

Image by Freepik

Gathering people to make and eat food has been going on for ages. While once reserved for family and celebration, today having a party doesn’t need any special occasion but hanging out with friends. Still, even such a casual get-together needs some planning. Here is some advice on how to organize a fabulous BBQ party for all ages.

Decorate with lights for the evening BBQ party

Having a BBQ party means you don’t have to move the furniture and roll up the carpet, but it will still need some decorating to be festive. Canopies, tables, and chairs paired with picnic blankets on the grass are perfect for a relaxed and cozy atmosphere.

You can place tiki torches and candles in the jars around the backyard, by the pathways, and on the patio. Another great idea is hanging string lights overhead, on the bushes, fence, and façade. To avoid wires all over the yard, use models powered by solar batteries with automatic timers that turn on the lights when the sun is down.

Ask guests to bring side food

If you are hosting a big BBQ party, chances are you may have a lot to prepare. Asking guests to bring side dishes instead of wine and flowers can be a huge help. This may sound unusual, but people will enjoy showing off their cooking skills, and your guests will be overwhelmed with delicious food. From salads and salsas to deviled eggs and baked beans, side dishes go hand in hand with grilled meat, and some can even be served as snacks.

Photo courtesy of Nina Simons (Click to enlarge)

Set up a self-service bar

If you don’t want to get stuck mixing and pouring drinks, or hire a waiting staff, set up a self-service bar with a wide choice of beverages. Create interesting arrangements, like beers on ice and a lemonade dispenser. To make everything available on the spot, you can rent an ice machine and a cooler to keep drinks cold and refreshing. Lastly, don’t forget appropriate glasses, napkins, and sliced fruits, as well as fun straws that kids will love.

Get the food ready before everyone arrives

Instead of waking up early to go shopping, order meat online, and until it arrives prepare some delicious marinade. For example, make a basic marinade with salt, oil, soy sauce, and honey, then add herbs, garlic, and spices. Once the meat arrives, prick holes in it with a fork and soak it in the marinade, covering the container on all sides. It should be refrigerated and left to marinade until it’s time for grilling.

Other food, like veggies and fruits, don’t need such an early preparation and you can peel and chop them a couple of hours before the guests arrive to stay fresh. Avoid seasoning salad before the meat is ready, since oil, vinegar, and salt can make it soggy and mushy.

Image by Freepik

Think of easy main dish ideas

Marinated meat is the star of your BBQ party, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make more main dishes to impress the guests. For example, chicken kabobs on the skewers with onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers, as well as pineapple cubes for contrast sweetness.

Spicy shrimp, seasoned with lemon juice and cayenne pepper will take 15 minutes to prep and 6 minutes to grill. Of course, prepare some vegetarian dishes, like Portobello caps simply seasoned with butter, salt, and pepper or grilled goat cheese.

Make a playlist beforehand

Entertainment is an integral part of the party, but hiring a band may be too much. Instead, prepare a playlist you can play from the sound system inside to the outdoors. Try to include music that generally everyone will love and maybe even dance to, for example, bossa nova covers of popular songs. If you are unsure what guests would like, stick to one genre or theme, like jazz and summertime.

Photo courtesy of Nina Simons

Image by Freepik

Put out a snack table

A snack table may sound like an unusual thing to set up, but it’s important to have one for two reasons. Firstly, until the meat and main dishes are ready, people will mingle and drink, with most of them probably being hungry. A snack table with canapés, tortilla chips, and breadsticks will keep that hunger at bay and prevent alcohol from kicking in too quickly. However, carrots, celery sticks, cheese, and olives are a better choice if you want to make sure that guests have room for BBQ food.

Secondly, you want to avoid crowds around the grill and in the kitchen, so there is room to do some last-minute preparations. Folding tables are perfect to place where ever you want and store them away after the party. In case you have an outdoor dining table on the deck or patio, move it away from the BBQ area and turn it into a buffet.


Everyone wants to organize a fabulous BBQ party that will leave the guests in awe and be the talk of the town. But it's okay to do it in the easiest way possible, like ordering meat instead of buying it at a store or setting up a self-service bar. As long as the food, music, and drinks are great, people will have fun like you spent days prepping and planning.

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