Summer is officially here! It’s time to set up your hammock, break out the lemonade and start celebrating all the things that make this season so great. One of our favorite things about the summer is throwing a bbq with friends and family. What better way is there to enjoy the warmer weather, than by grilling up some food and spending time with loved ones?

Pulling off a great bbq takes a little more effort than just firing up the grill and throwing on some meat, however.  Here are a couple ideas to get you started and help you plan the perfect bbq event:

Start with a Plan

A little bit of planning beforehand will ensure that your bbq is a success. Start off by deciding who you will invite and making a list. Once that is complete, it’s time to think about the food. Barbeques are all about food, so this is the most important part to get right. After you have decided who you will invite, you will have a pretty good idea of how much food you’ll need. Now you need to decide whether you want to provide all the food or make it a potluck. A potluck is nice, because it will save you time and money, however, you will have a little more planning to do to coordinate what everyone will bring. If you decide on a potluck, take your invitation list and divide it up between the necessities. One group should be responsible for salad, another for side dishes, and others for desserts, drinks, etc. Once you know who will bring what, make sure to communicate that clearly and follow up with them before the event. As the host, you should take care of the meat or main dish, and the condiments, and of course, it’s never a bad idea to have some drinks and ice on hand as well. Also, make sure to find out if any of your guests have special dietary restrictions and plan appropriately. Finally, if you are using a gas grill, make sure that there is enough gas in the tank. If it’s on empty, replace it before the bbq begins. There is nothing worse than running out of gas while you’re grilling.

Set the Stage

Last summer we wrote an article about getting your backyard organized. Before your barbeque, it’s a great idea to get out in your yard and see what needs to be cleaned up. A little time spent cleaning and organizing should get your yard ready for the event. Once that’s taken care of, take a little time arranging your patio tables and chairs. Make sure that everything is set up to provide easy access to the food and encourage socializing. You want to provide plenty of seating for your guests to sit and relax. Set up a buffet table for the food with enough room for your guests to congregate around it. Place the drinks on a separate table or in a cooler nearby.

Depending on how fancy you want to get, you can decorate your yard for the occasion. C candles, light strings, lanterns, and torches work well for producing light and creating a great bbq atmosphere. In addition, make sure to provide some background music.

Plan Some Activities

Nothing goes better with a bbq than fun, summer games. Depending on the size of your yard, there are a lot of options to choose from. Here are a couple of classics:

• Frisbee

• Bocce

• Croquet

• Horseshoes

• Badminton

• Latter Ball

• Volleyball

Enjoy

A properly planned bbq is a great summer activity you can enjoy with your friends and family. Once everything is prepared for your bbq, it’s time to relax, welcome your guests, and fire up that grill. Most importantly of all though, enjoy!