Backyard grilling is more fun with friends, so call everyone over for the day or just for dinner. There are ways to simplify in order to spend less time working and more time mingling.
- Decide what beverages you’ll be serving and make them ahead of time. Store in pitchers in the refrigerator. Freeze some in ice cube trays or use frozen berries or mango chunks so drinks won’t be watered down when you have the pitchers outside on the day of the event.
- Blow up helium balloons with glow sticks inside. They’ll add color and cheer while it’s sunny and create a fun floating ambiance as the sun starts to set.
- Streamline your decor. Buy a set of neutral melamine (hard, reusable plastic) dishes to use all season. For each party get fun themed napkins. Label reusable metal straws with pretty paper tape that coordinates to the different themes—a decor trick but also a way to help guests keep their drinks straight. Use patterned wrapping paper as cost-effective and recyclable placemats or table runners.
- Provide activities for a spectrum of ages. For the teeniest of guests, prepare a safe place they can roll around on the ground next to their grown up. Supply sidewalk chalk for an art station. Is there space for water balloons and a sprinkler--away from folks who don’t want to get wet? People of all ages enjoy bean bag toss, giant Jenga, and a game of horseshoe. A s’more station would be fun for all ages, but if there are children attending, make sure it’s in plain view so grown-ups and little ones can safely team up for this tasty project.
- Place citronella tiki lights around the yard or design centerpieces with citronella candles so mosquitoes don’t crash the party.
- Set out a skincare basket with sunscreen at varying SPFs and different kinds of bug repellents for guests to choose from. As you greet people, let them know where it is located.