One of the first steps you could consider when hosting a summer BBQ party is a theme. Picking the perfect BBQ theme sets your party in motion, helping you decide what kind of decorations to put out and the overall food choices.
A few of the most common summer BBQ party themes are the following:
- Traditional Country BBQ Party. Sticking to a classic theme that you can put your own twist on.
- By The Sea Party. Looking for a unique summer BBQ party theme? Then tap into your seafood side with a ‘By The Sea’ grill party. Instead of the usual red meat and chicken, you can feature some of your favourites like grilled shrimp, scallops, salmon, seafood skewers, and more.
- S’mores Camping Party. Summer BBQ parties are the perfect opportunity to enjoy other summertime favourites too, like s’mores and campfires. Between fireside chats and tasty treats, no one will want to leave the party.
Other great themes include:
- Garden tea party
- Tropical; think floral shirts & flower garlands
- Decades: 70s, 80s, and 90s are crowd-pleasers
- A fiesta
- A favourite film
2. Don’t Forget About Making the Guest List
Table linens help to convey the theme of your BBQ party. One of the most common tablecloths for decoration when it comes to outdoor parties is gingham fabric.
This type of tablecloth is usually made with white and another colour, creating a check or plaid design. Layering gingham linen with a whimsical floral tablecloth on top will add an unexpected twist.
If you want to go for a rustic, country chic theme, you can even re-purpose some old cans and put something floral in them for a centrepiece.
4. Set-up a Fire Pit to Keep the Party Going All Night
If dining alfresco in the evening is something you have in mind for your BBQ party, string lights are an essential piece you don’t want to miss. Hang string lights around your garden on the fence or even trees to set a romantic mood.
To create a cosy, inviting environment, you can put sheepskin throws over benches. Add some candles on the tables as well and your alfresco is set.
6. Deck Out the Bar Cart
Drinks and barbecues go hand in hand, so you might want to consider adding a bar at the corner of your alfresco area, and stock your outdoor bar with a variety of beverages. For adults, make sure to add an amazing selection of beer and wine.
If you’re serving a summer cocktail, you can also use a bar cart as a simple storage for your signature cocktail recipe. In addition, soda with a variety of colours will make super fun additions to the bar and will be enjoyed by all!
7. Use a Wheelbarrow to Store the Beers
Nothing beats homemade popsicle sticks in the summer. Whether it’s apple juice or orange flavoured ice pops, both kids and adults will be hooked with some popsicles for dessert.
Top tip: Consider adding keto-friendly popsicles on the dessert menu for your guests who are on a diet.
9. If You Own a Pool, Pull Out the Floats
One of the important things you need to keep in mind when hosting a BBQ party is to prep up the food before your guests arrive. Prepare as much as possible beforehand so you can enjoy the cookout with your family and friends.
With this, you’ll want to make sure the menu is ready to go and on the grill even before the guests come in. Any side dishes should be cooked as needed and assembled out on display.
You don’t want your guests to see you scrambling to chop lettuce and tomatoes, do you?
11. The More the Merrier: Ask Your Guests to Bring Side Dishes
Whether you’re using a BBQ charcoal grill or gas grill, it’s important that you have spare charcoal or propane in case you run out in the middle of your grilling session.
If you don’t want to end up serving half-cooked burgers, triple check your essential tools to make sure you have enough charcoal for your charcoal grill or gas in the propane tank.
13. Step up Your Outdoor Movie Night BBQ
Hosting a BBQ is always a fun time, and it’s a perfect excuse to throw an outdoor party! To make the most of your BBQ summer party, why not extend it until night and have an outdoor movie night barbecue sesh?
With popcorn, s’mores and cold drinks, you and your guests can cosy up on the lawn in front of a big screen while showing off your all-time favourite movies. Don’t forget to grab your burgers and dogs, and create some gourmet popcorn!
14. Soda Float Buffet Sounds Fun!
They say the grill is the heart of a great barbecue, but without the right equipment, it would be pointless. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced barbecue griller, a good set of BBQ tools is a worthwhile investment.
Grilling equipment includes stainless steel spatula, tongs and grilling fork, basting brush and some handy flame-resistant glove and apron.
16. Serve Ice-Cold Drinks for Everyone
Condiments, spices, and sauces can add extra flavour to your barbecue. You can create a designated area for the condiments and sauces so your guests can experiment with their own sauces and touch up their BBQ.
While there are lots of BBQ sauce choices available on the market, you can make your own and give your grilled meat a custom touch. It could be a fruit-based BBQ sauce or chicken barbecue sauce, just to name a couple.
As for the BBQ condiments, you can add salsa, French onion or ranch dip, hummus, or simply salt and pepper to the table. You may want to add sauce or condiments for burgers and hot dogs, too, such as ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, and more!
18. Add a Simple BBQ Centrepiece on the Table
If you don’t own a pool, no problem! There are lots of alternatives to keep the kids occupied, and lawn party games are a great plan!
Here are a few classic, fun DIY outdoor game ideas that will surely keep the BBQ summer party fun going.
- Corn hole Boards – No lazy summer days, barbecue party, or casual gathering outdoors would be complete without this classic yard game. If you want to spice up your family get together during self-isolation, then a corn hole board is a must-have. Don’t worry; this one is fairly easy to build. All you need to do is follow a guide like this one:
Popcorn is a tasty and versatile snack. In fact, who doesn’t love popcorn? So why not consider adding a popcorn bar to add a nostalgic touch to your BBQ party?
If you’re expecting a large crowd, make sure to shop for big bags of popcorn. You can even rent a popcorn machine (if you don’t own one) from your local party store to bring a festive country fair atmosphere.
Alternatively, you can use a large bucket for the popcorn and small ones for a variety of fun sprinkle-ins, such as nuts, candies, tropical fruits, and more.
Top tip: Fill the popcorn sack half full, add toppings, then more popcorn, and a last sprinkle of good stuff.
24. Set the Location and Time
Location and time are the other important things you need to consider when hosting a BBQ party, regardless of the season. Location options include your backyard, apartment terrace, compound, or outdoor spaces where grills are available.
When it comes to time, weekends usually work best for everyone, either late afternoon/evening (5-9 pm) or during the day around 12 pm – 4 pm. Plan to have a four-hour window of time so your guests won’t end up stressing over arriving.
25. Utensils, Plates, and Cups
Don’t forget the rest of the BBQ essentials like utensils, plates, and cups on your checklist! When buying utensils and plates, opt for heavy-duty party packs that come with large and small plates, forks, spoons, knives, and even tablecloths.
As for the cups, have a couple of packs on hand. If you’re not in a hurry, try to look online and you might find even find themed ones, perfect for your party.
26. Stock the Bar
Stock up your bar by keeping the cooler full of ice-cold drinks, and don’t forget to replenish it throughout the evening. Unless you want to leave your guests high and dry. We’d bet you don’t!
Make sure to provide non-alcoholic guests with alternative options like iced tea, lemonade, and water. Above all, don’t forget the ice!
27. How About a Sundae Bar?
Try showing off your bar and barista skills with a signature drink and get everyone in the party spirit! Summer cocktails along with refreshing mocktails sound brilliant! Or a nice coffee at the end of the night for those who’re driving home.
Think about concoctions that use fruits, seasonal herbs, or even sangria – whatever you prefer on the menu. Make sure to stock the bar as well!
29. Set Up a Killer Playlist
Unleash your inner DJ by playing tunes that’ll keep guests going all night long. Set up your playlist with upbeat background music that is loud enough to set the mood, but not so loud that your guests have to shout to talk to each other.
30. Consider Your BBQ Apparel
Preparing the BBQ menu in the morning can give you more time to sit back and relax in the evening. Feel free to follow these few prep ideas that will save you loads of time:
- Make and toss salads in advance. You can add the dressing just before serving.
- Prepare the meats and fruits, including onions and peppers for kebabs ahead of time by chopping them and getting them all ready in bowls.
- Make sure to glaze and marinate breasts, joints, fillets, and any other meat and fish the night before.
- Don’t forget to pre-cut the buns for burgers and hot dogs.
- Get your skewers ready for the grill.
32. Set Up a Tent
A memorable BBQ summer party must come with a memorable menu that will satisfy everyone’s taste buds. Burgers and hot dogs are common, so how about some unique menu items for an unforgettable BBQ party?
How do you survive the sweltering heat? Other than serving cold refreshments, if possible, consider buying handheld fans and ice-cold compresses for your family and friends.
Look for cheap handheld fans and place them in large baskets where your guest can get at them. As for the ice-cold compresses, you can create your own version for a cheaper alternative.
Buy a pack of inexpensive washcloths, then roll each up and secure them with a rubber band. Toss them into a cooler of ice water and let your guest grab one.
40. Hey, Pre-made Burgers Taste Good Too!
Look, you don’t have to spend the whole day in the kitchen or in front of the BBQ grill. Be kind to yourself and buy some premade foods like burgers, chips, buns, drinks, and desserts. No one’s going to say no to some oven chips or microwaved party platters while they wait on a burger.
There you go – part 1 of our 80 BBQ ideas for summer completed! We’re absolutely sizzling just waiting to tell you another 40 ideas in part 2! But until then, why not get the jump on summer and check out our selection of BBQs for your garden or patio space?