Summer entertaining. It’s one of our favorite things to do! Warm weather, good food, and better company. We love summertime and really, there’s nothing like having your friends and family over for a nice BBQ. Whether it’s for a holiday or long weekend, or just a fun Friday night of entertaining, you want to make sure you have everything ready to go for an unforgettable time. But what elements are key when it comes to outdoor entertaining? Obviously, the food and drink should be the stars of the show, but it’s also a good idea to have some entertainment like yard games prepared for your guests. Finish off your space with some great decor and a killer tablescape and you’re ready to rock and roll. By the end of the night, you’ll have everyone asking if they can come back next weekend for round two!
Food and Drink
The most important aspects of any BBQ are the food and drinks. We suggest easily portable appetizers so you can munch while playing yard games. The main course should feature at least one grilled item (it is a BBQ after all!) and a few bright sides. Try some skewers with colorful veggies, chicken, and steak tips. Grilled corn on the cob is another one of our favorites, too. Compliment it with some green and pasta salads and you’re ready to go.
Speaking of dessert, we love keeping things on the lighter side in the warm weather. Try incorporating fresh, seasonal berries and classic summertime favorites like s’mores! There are so many fun variations on s’more you can play with to keep things interesting. Pair it with a fun sundae bar to cover both hot and cold elements in your desserts.
Drinks should be refreshing, fun, and pretty! We love having a signature drink for each event. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy. If you’re celebrating July 4th, opt for a signature drink with patriotic colors. If it’s just a fun weekend event, try something with lemonade. A quick Google search will provide endless options. Be sure to garnish drinks with fruit, citrus, or herbs to add some pizzazz and elegance. Set up a small bar cart on the patio so guests can conveniently refresh their drinks or make another!
Your decor sets the mood for the entire BBQ, so make sure it stands out and pairs with your theme. Once again, this doesn’t need to be anything fancy! Remember: simple is elegant. Incorporating small touches like decorating the patio with garlands, and placing flowers on tabletops can make all the difference and create a beautiful, relaxed atmosphere. Run twinkle lights along railings and around the yard. Evenly space citronella candles, in decorative lanterns, around the main entertaining area to deter pesky bugs when the sun goes down. Make sure you have the bug spray handy too!
We love having some fun with our tablescape for a summer BBQ. The bright color palette of summer is just so fun and whimsical, why not include that in your table? Do not be afraid of mixing patterns; it adds texture and excitement! Stack plates to add dimension, and bring elegance with a floral centerpiece or table runner. Pick one or two items that you want to accentuate in your tablescape to keep things budget friendly. And pick items that you can reuse all summer long in different ways. For example, opt for a neutral colored plastic plate and pair it with different colored placemats and napkins for different parties. That way you can reuse the plates all summer long but have a completely different look each time by switching out other details.
It’s summer and nothing says summer entertaining like some good, old fashioned yard games. This year, we’re looking at different ways to step up our game. How? We suggest taking childhood games to the extreme by making them supersized! We love these giant Jenga and Connect 4 sets, and they are easy DIY projects. They’ll last for years to come and not only act as entertainment for playing, but also as a great conversation starter. If everyone wants to get involved, set up a volleyball net or even play some wiffleball!
We love ending the night with a fire pit. Even if you aren’t a big s’mores fan (how is that possible?!), it’s just a relaxing way to finish off the festivities and reflect on the day. Warm up and add some natural light as the evening cools off and the sun goes down. It also creates a natural end to your party, as the fire dies, it’s time for everyone to pack up and head home! Plus, what’s a summer BBQ without a fire pit?