As soon as temperatures get back up into the 70s, the urge to host a backyard BBQ skyrockets as fast as your vitamin D intake. Maybe you’re thinking about low budget activities for a sunny Sunday afternoon, planning a Memorial Day celebration for the neighborhood block party, or simply looking for a reason to get together with family and friends.

The thought of spending time outside in the sun with good food and better company sounds fantastic, but without a little forethought and planning, friends and flip flops could just turn into a floundering failure. Remember to keep these tips in mind to make sure your backyard BBQ goes off without a hitch.


What are you cooking?

It goes without saying that one of the biggest selling points for guests to attend a BBQ is, of course, the spread of food. And we’re not talking about floating snack trays; we’re talking about real food for real people. You need some good, hearty fare that guests can dig into (preferably with their hands if you want to avoid a huge mess of dishes at the end of the night). Need some suggestions? You can’t go wrong with these timeless classics:

  • Hamburgers and hot dogs
  • Fried chicken
  • Roast beef sandwiches
  • Corn on the cob
  • Chips and dip
  • Self-serve taco bar
  • Watermelon slices
  • Stuffed peppers
  • Veggie platters
  • Crab Dip
  • Chocolate dipped strawberries
  • Assorted cookies
  • S’mores station

Your list of choices goes on and on! We suggest trying to stick with a specific theme, whether that means a Cinco de Mayo fiesta, and red-white-and-blue 4th of July bash, or a Hawaiian luau complete with tiki torches, floral leis, and pork sliders. If you’re feeling a little stressed about the meal prep and decoration setup, check out these life hacks that are a game changer when it comes to saving time.

What are you wearing?

If you go with our suggestion to give your BBQ a theme, encourage all your guests to dress up accordingly! Hosting a Hawaiian luau? Promote Hawaiian shirts for men and grass skirts for women to recreate those island vibes. A patriotic party? Fun and festive sunglasses are the perfect accessories to show your colors.


Even if you’re not hosting a themed BBQ, as the host or hostess, you should still make an effort to look your best. You might be in the comfort of your own home, but that doesn’t mean you should wear comfy sweatpants at your own event—so embrace all those hot summer styles instead! Gentleman, make use of our dapper man’s guide to unacceptable summer fashion and you’ll have no excuse to look less than best. Spoiler alert: it’s time to toss those tattered clothes, logo-laden tees, and ill-fitting accessories!

What are you doing?

Eating, obviously! But your guests will need some form of entertainment for before and after their meals. There’s nothing more awkward than a group of people who barely know each other just standing around in silence—so encourage them to socialize with some fun games and activities! Play some classic tunes through your backyard sound system so guests can listen to music while playing outdoor games such as:

  • Cornhole
  • Washers
  • Horseshoes
  • Spikeball
  • Kan Jam
  • Frisbee

If you’re planning a backyard party to celebrate your child’s birthday, you’ll need extra entertainment ideas in addition to these well-loved party games for adults. Activities are the ticket you need for keeping all the kiddos smiling and engaged, so consider the following to take your BBQ from a 10 to an 11:

  • Face painting
  • Entertainers (clowns, magicians, mad scientists, princesses, etc.)
  • Party rentals (inflatable obstacle courses, bouncy houses, carnival games)
  • Slip-n-slide
  • Water balloon toss
  • Potato sack race
  • Bubble machines

Kids are pretty easy to entertain and keep happy, so as long as you have a few options they can keep themselves busy with, you’ll be sure to stave off boredom and receive the title of Party Planning Perfectionist!

Whether you’re throwing a kid’s birthday party or hosting an Adults after Dark affair, popup photo booths will be your biggest fan hit. They’re super fun to pile into and pose with props, plus they give your guests a souvenir to take home from your party. You have the best advice beneath your belt—now it’s time to bust out those invitations and get your planning underway!