Tips for Planning the Perfect Backyard Bash

The laid-back charm makes the backyard bash ideal, but it does still require some preparation. Here is an outdoor party to-do list that will allow you to check things off in advance so you feel relaxed and ready to mingle when party day arrives.

One Month before the Party

Look at your schedule.

It’s easy to let the days slip by during the summer months, leaving things you wanted to do go undone. If hosting backyard parties is on your list, make plans now. Take a look at the upcoming months and get a date set for when you want to host and write it down.

Maintain the grill.

Both gas and charcoal grills need a deep cleaning at the start of grilling season so they stay in great condition. A safety tip for gas grills is to check the fuel line for any cracks and ensure burner holes aren’t clogged with debris like grease.

Pull out the outdoor furniture.

If you wish you had a few more seats where friends could sit and chat, it may be time to order more. Online orders can take some time to ship, so if you want to add to your existing furniture or replace your old stuff, start shopping.

Invite your guests.

Give your guests a few weeks notice so you can make sure more people are able to attend. If you have a theme in mind, like a Speakeasy theme or high-stakes poker winners, incorporate that into your invitations. This holds especially true if you want to ensure a good turnout, like if the backyard bash is being held to celebrate a milestone birthday party or a holiday, such as the 4th of July.

Two Weeks before the Party

Decide on the party’s menu and make your shopping list.

Whether you plan to serve hot dogs and burgers or reach outside the traditional menu, you will clear your head if you get your plan written down in advance. Make a list of the side dishes you plan to cook and the drinks you want to serve too and make a master-shopping list.

Decide what activities you plan to have.

Life is about choices and making decisions. Similarly to when you want to figure out how to occupy your guests so they have fun. Outdoor games and activities are key to a fun backyard bash. If you plan to roast marshmallows, make sure you have a marshmallow roasting set. If you want to rent a bounce house for the children, it’s time to get the details ironed out.

Get with your friends.

If you plan to have a potluck party, collaborate with guests to make sure all dishes are represented. It’s not ideal for everyone to show up with bags of chips or to have six desserts and no macaroni and cheese or baked beans.

Things to do the week of the party

Get a final head count. Check with guests who have yet to RSVP and confirm what food guests are bringing to share so you can fill in any gaps as needed.

Stock up your bathroom with necessities.

You don’t need to clean your home from top to bottom, but you should make sure your bathroom is ready to go. Tidy up the bathroom; stock it with extra hand towels and rolls of toilet paper and top of the hand soap.

Week of the Party

Chill the drinks.

Make sure the drinks are in the fridge or cooler a few hours pre-party so they’ll cold. No one wants a lukewarm soda on a hot summer day!

Cue up the playlist.

Music is always the life of the party. Turn on some tunes to set the mood as you prepare for your friends to arrive. The music will set the tone for the party and make it more festive.

Set up an outdoor trashcan.

You want to keep the party clean, so place a garbage can and recycling bin near – but not too near – the party area so people can easily throw away their trash. It’s also a great idea to have a large pan or bag to transport dishes and platters inside for cleanup.

Set up a self-serve table.

Your guests will better be able to help themselves if you set out necessities, from dishes, napkins and cups to silverware, ice with tongs and serving spoons. Go ahead and get out the food too so your guests can start enjoying the backyard party.

This year’s backyard bash doesn’t have to cause you a lot of last-minute stress. Use this checklist to help you tackle the tasks associated with hosting a get together so you can relax and enjoy yourself when party day arrives.