Summer BBQ, party hosting

By Lauren Capri for Civility Experts Worldwide

 Regardless of our late spring, it seems summer has made up for it, entering the picture with a welcome vengeance. How many of you have family getting together, camping or barbecue plans? Why not try to add fun and build a theme into your events? For example: Hawaiian Luau BBQ, Nautical Barbeque, Beach Barbeque, Southern Barbeque Cookout, Backyard Burger Barbeque, Surf & Turf BBQ!

IF you decide to throw a themed BBQ or bash- add something special to ensure attendance and  interest by brainstorming creative invite ideas for your guests. Make sure the approach to invites goes along with your theme and try to escape the predictable 2 dimensional card. For example, if you wanted to host a Hawaiian Luau inspired BBQ, you might send the invite written onto inexpensive colorful flip-flops, or fill small inexpensive mason jars with sand and bury the invitation inside…. attach a miniature beach shovel or tiny pail to the invitation! Interesting invitations promote a feeling of excitement and spark curiosity- a much better approach than typical yawn inducing, neutral colored paper kind.

You simply cannot forget the importance of the food you will be serving at the barbecue! You can search amazing ideas online at some of these sites:

Now, there are a few things that you should NOT forget to have or do at your party:

  • Ample beverages
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellant
  • Napkins
  • Wet naps for after sticky, messy foods
  • Music (best if you choose something that goes with your theme)
  • Food options, e.g., Make sure you’re aware of any vegetarian/vegan friends and include items for them
  • Plan to cook 20% more than you think you will need
  • Ice….or proper storage e.g., Ensure you don’t leave fish, meat, and mayo products out for more than 4 hours
  • Activities such as games, sports etc
  • At least one “high” end item, for example, pair a simple (even store-bought salad) with good quality meats. Go for Smokies instead of hot dogs, make your own gourmet burgers, or finish things off with a fancy dessert

Let’s not forget that just by having the proper items handy, you can avoid sometimes messy or uncomfortable situations for your guests.

Don’t plan to serve each guest so much food that he/she feels obligated to eat until he/she bursts; similarly plan to have enough drinks as to be able to serve each guest one once per hour or two. Have enough sources of entertainment that you don’t have those awkward lulls in conversation; give your guests something to talk about, and create an easygoing and relaxed atmosphere.
If your guest offers you a gift upon arrival, a prepared dish or bottle of wine, offer to serve it at the event. Sometimes host/hostess gifts will not fit the theme, so this can be a bit awkward, but it’s good manners to be gracious and serve the idem.

Now, some inevitable “Don’t” do’s for your event:

  • Don’t allow your pets, especially if too energetic. This makes guests uneasy, put them away
  • Don’t use your house to show off. Make it party friendly
  • Don’t spend all night serving and not mingling- it’s your party!
  • Never, ever, run out of ice
  • Don’t overreact to spills or dropped food
  • Don’t make people wait for late guests. They remember being hungry and resent it

With so many ways to make your event unique and memorable, you’ll guarantee all of your guests a good time by following some basic hosting rules. It just requires a bit of planning and creativity! Contact us to work together on your Social IQ, Dining and Everyday Etiquette!