With Memorial Day right around the corner, it’s time to start planning for summer’s unofficial kick-off! Backyard barbeques are one of the best ways to bring all your friends and family together for delicious food and good old-fashioned fun. Looking for ways to elevate your backyard bash this year? Here are few tips to help make your next outdoor gathering utterly unforgettable.
Consider the Details
Attention to detail and décor at a backyard event can really showcase your style and go a long way in making guests feel special. Decorations can be simple and classic, like tea lights in mason jars, or strung up Christmas lights, but the ambiance they add are remarkable. For a daytime gathering, arrange succulents or fresh cut flowers as centerpieces; visit the AARP Member Advantages website for 20% off savings at 1-800-Flowers.com. Also consider displaying the menu on a chalkboard, or upgrading your disposable dinnerware to include wooden cutlery or pretty, colorful and eco-friendly cups and plates.
Keep It Comfortable
Make guests feel at home by offering them ways to relax more casually. Formal dining tables can be too stuffy for outdoor celebrations, and it’s often hard to find seating for 20+ people. Lie out picnic blankets instead, and encourage guests to eat al fresco, enjoying your beautiful yard or scenery. Once the sun goes down, spring nights can get chilly. Consider having a basket with blankets or shawls for guests to borrow, and light a fire while enjoying the camaraderie.
Plan Your Playlist
Set the mood of the party by playing some background tunes. Make sure you have at least five hours of music on a playlist, to ensure guests aren’t hearing the same songs over again several times. Keep it upbeat and go heavy on the classics to keep the party lively and guests grooving. The Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffet, Michael Jackson and The Beatles are always surefire hits!
Prepare an Inspired Meal
Just because it’s a barbeque doesn’t mean you have to serve boring basics! Spice up your menu by shopping for locally grown, in-season produce at your nearby farmer’s market, or grilling something unexpected, like peaches or watermelon. Don’t feel like cooking? Order carry-out for your BBQ from Outback Steakhouse and save 10% everyday as an AARP Member, or pre-order your meats, saving 20% on exceptional quality meat delivered right to your door, from Stock Yards. Then you have time to add flair by creating a signature cocktail (spiked strawberry lemonade or sangria anyone?) or making “adult” popsicles. Try freezing margaritas in ice cube trays, and make sure to keep some non-alcoholic versions on hand for guests who don’t drink.
Stave Off Bugs
There are few things worse about a backyard party than the critters that it attracts. Keep bugs at bay by lighting citronella candles, lanterns or tiki torch oil. Keep mosquito repellent handy for guests to apply as needed – and try the bug wipes instead of spray to avoid the smelly fog. Use tabletop or box fans to keep bugs away from food and seating areas. Mosquitoes are weak flyers and won’t be able to withstand the wind. Also try natural scents. Burn herbs like sage in the fire pit or grill and display lavender. Both are known to repel flying pests.
Upgrade the Fun
Don’t forget the yard games! Offer classic lawn fun like croquet, horseshoes, corn hole, bocce ball, badminton or Frisbee to ensure that everyone can have a good time!