When hosting a backyard BBQ, do you have to invite all the neighbors when you really only want to invite some of the neighbors? What do you say when those who are not invited peer over the fence and watch you eat? What if they conveniently drop by during dinner to return your snowblower? Are you obligated to offer them a beer? If you don’t want to get skewered by neighbors who feel “burned” over a BBQ- here are some guidelines from Canada’s etiquette ladies;

  1. You are not really obligated to invite everyone when you host a neighborhood BBQ, but it would be terribly rude to invite all but one family. Even if you know they won’t come- extend the offer, it’s the polite thing to do.
  2. Always let guests know who else is coming so there aren’t any surprises. Hopefully, everyone gets along but you never know.
  3. If the event is informal, face-to-face invitations or a telephone call is fine, but you usually have to ask people to confirm they’re coming, as casual invitations typically don’t require RSVPs.
  4. Only invite as many as you can afford to feed. Technically, unless you emphasize a BYOB or “pot-luck” event, you are on the hook to provide all the food and beverage.
  5. Always have some non-alcoholic options available and don’t encourage people to overindulge unless you are prepared to arrange their transportation or offer them a comfortable couch.
  6. Let people know if there is a theme for the party. If it’s a pool party, ask them to bring swimsuits and towels but have extra on hand just in case they forget. If the party will be “child-free” tell guests in advance so they can make arrangements for their children.
  7. If you tell people not to bring anything but themselves, don’t be put off if they do just that. People don’t really expect to come empty-handed and most are uncomfortable doing it- so think of something small they could bring. For example bug spray, ice, outdoor candles, lawn chairs, mix or pop, board games, outdoor games, paper plates, disposable camera, etc.
  8. Make a point of introducing everyone and encourage conversation. Delegate responsibilities to keep everyone busy until they feel comfortable. Let someone start the BBQ while someone else helps with the salad or skims the pool. When people first meet it’s very uncomfortable to be left standing around looking at each other while the host and hostess are preparing things.

Looking to step it up from hamburgers and hotdogs to impress an important guest? NoTimeToCookDinner teaches you how to cook the perfect steak in this video.

A backyard bbq doesn’t have to be plain. Country Living provides ten creative tips to make your bbq into an event that guests will remember all year, and this article on Your Dog Advisor has some great tips on how to have a BBQ that’s safe for our furry family members.