The Ultimate Guide for Hosting a Backyard BBQ

Whether you’ve lived in Northern Colorado for two months or 20 years, it’s likely you’re enthralled with the area’s gorgeous summer weather. One of the best ways to enjoy this time of year to the fullest — besides going on a hike or attending a summer festival — is by hosting a backyard BBQ for family and friends.

You may be overwhelmed by this thought, imagining all the preparation you must do in advance in order to make this event Pinterest-worthy. Have no fear! We’ve collected several money- and time-saving tips and ideas to help you pull off a successful summer gathering without a hitch.

Invite Your Crew

Keep it simple with an email or text blast with all of the information about your BBQ. This is also a good way for people to see who else is invited and respond with their excitement. Sending out a simple “invitation” this way works perfectly for a less formal gathering with family and friends.

Take it up a notch with a virtual invitation. You can send an Evite or even make a Facebook event group that is private. This will help you keep track of your head count as invitees can RSVP online.

Outdoor BBQ Initation

Photos courtesy of Kayla Zimba Printables, Jen Simpson Design, Kori Clark, and A Bird and a Bean

Or get artsy with an invitation sent the old-fashioned way via Mr. Postman. Keep the cost down with a free printable that you can write on or type on, or order custom-made invitations tailored to your event.

Prep the Space

Another important must-do is to prepare your backyard space for the party in advance! First things first, you’ll want to clean up your yard if it’s a little less presentable using our gardening tips. This ensures you have a clean slate to work with before you start adding in some decorative details…

Outdoor BBQ Decoration Ideas

Photos courtesy of Mom.Me, Think Garnish, jane can and Gray House Studio 

Create a canopy of string lights to add a dreamy glow to your backyard space, which will look even better as the sun goes down.

Put together a creative DIY Popsicle Garland to add a splash of color to your backyard space. This DIY screams summer — and it can be used year after year!

Display utensils in these cute and functional Utensil Pockets, so guests can grab it and go during the BBQ.

We also love the cheery and simple centerpiece idea using succulents and candles to add some life to your tablescape.

Keep Those Pesky Bugs Away

Guests can rave about your backyard setup during the BBQ, but if mosquitoes start to swarm after the sun goes down, they might not be as pleased. Create your own Mason Jar Bug Repellant to solve that issue. Plus, they will double as decor for your tables!

DIY Mason Jar Bug Repellent

Photos Courtesy of A Little CLAIREification

Make a Toast to Summer

You can grab a case of soda or beer, or some bottles of wine to please the crowds, but you might want to offer something special as well. Any of these summery cocktails will provide a sweet, refreshing and unique flavor to your BBQ. Consider making a non-alcoholic version of your drink that the kids will love!

Summer Drink Recipes

Photos courtesy of The Cookie RookieDamn Delicious®, Creative Culinary and Whitney Bond

Strawberry Margarita Punch: Tequila, strawberries, limeade, agave nectar, orange juice and strawberry soda

Raspberry Limoncello Prosecco: Prosecco, limoncello liqueur, raspberries and fresh mint

The Firecracker: Prairie Cucumber Vodka, watermelon, lime, cucumber, mint

Peach Basil Moscow Mule: Basil, lemon, peach vodka and ginger beer

Get Things Started

Serve an appetizer or two to keep your guests satisfied while they mingle with drinks before the main dishes are revealed.

Backyard BBQ Recipes

Photos courtesy of Half Baked Harvest, Taste With The Eyes and CenterCutCook

Veggie cups are a healthy and fresh item to serve, and are easy for people to grab and snack on throughout the night!

Anything bacon-wrapped is fair game when it comes to BBQs — and anything in life, really. Serve some bacon-wrapped pineapple with Hawaiian dipping sauce (packed with brown sugar). This savory-sweet appetizer will be gone in minutes!

Whip up a gorgeous (and delicious!) summer fruit salsa and pesto hummus, perfect for dipping pita bread or tortilla chips into.

Play a Game

Both the adults and kids in attendance will love an interactive game at your BBQ! These games can be run by themselves, rather than you having to facilitate an organized game involving everyone. That way, people can play at their own pace over drinks and appetizers.

DIY Outdoor Yard Games

Photos courtesy of Constantly Lovestruck, Andrea’s Notebook and Dallas Moms Blog

Make some letters for a game of giant bananagrams, or get extra crafty by creating a setup for Giant Connect Four. Make your own DIY dice and Jenga games, or transform some old pallets into a cornhole game.

The beauty about all of the above is that you can reuse the equipment all summer long, and year after year!

Feed the Masses

An easy and cost-effective way to ensure there is plenty of food for everyone at the BBQ is to make it a potluck! Create a sign-up sheet using a Google Spreadsheet or via email, asking guests to bring a particular food item (salad, appetizers, main dish, dessert, etc.).

If you decide to provide all the food yourself, here are some ideas to make the process as simple as possible…

Backyard BBQ Recipes

Photos courtesy of Good Housekeeping, I’m Bored, Let’s Go, Half Baked Harvest, and Noble Pig

What is a BBQ without corn? Try one of these easy grilled corn recipes using unique and delicious toppings.

Make the perfect BBQ chicken that is neither undercooked nor dried out!

Or et extra crafty with a Jameson Whiskey Blue Cheese Burger with Guinness Cheese Sauce + Crispy Onions. Or peruse these tantalizing recipes of burgers perfect for a BBQ.

End on a Sweet Note

S’mores are the perfect dessert to provide at your BBQ. Create a s’mores bar or a lineup of personal s’mores pots to display the ingredients in an attractive way!

Make these Grill Cupcakes to capture the BBQ theme in a creative way. Or satisfy the healthy folks with this semi-healthy Fruit Pizza recipe!

Summer Dessert Recipes

Photos courtesy of Martie Knows Parties, Bella, Frugal Mom Eh and Livin’ the Dream in Bean Town USA 

Happy Summer!

Use these ideas for your upcoming BBQ or pass along a few of your favorite tricks! We’d love to know what you’re grilling up this summer.