Backyard parties are special. They give you an excuse to celebrate with friends and family in a casual setting. You don’t have to worry about dressing up, you can wear your most comfortable men’s or women’s T-shirt and shorts, and you can sit around as long as you like without anyone rushing you out. It does take a little bit of work to plan a backyard party, though. But it’s completely doable without enlisting the help of professionals.
If you’re considering taking the job of “host with the most,” check out our easy DIY tips to make sure it goes off without a hitch.
Some parties are impromptu, and oddly enough, they end up working out great! That’s most likely because people don’t expect much if they realize they’re throwing something together on a whim. But if you really want to throw a great backyard bash, you’ll want to plan. That involves sending out invitations, whether via mail, email, or text message. Then you have to get a final count of who may be coming so you know how much food and drinks to plan for. You also have to check the weather forecast and have a backup plan in case it rains. You may even need to borrow some extra outdoor furniture from the neighbors. There may be a lot to consider, but it’s completely doable if you plan instead of panicking at the last minute.
You want people to remember your bash for all the right reasons, and ambiance plays a lot into the equation. No matter how great your food is, they’re not likely to stick around if there’s nowhere to sit, if they’re bored, or if they can’t see each other because it’s so dark. Make it comfortable for people. Make sure you have an ample amount of seating and a place for people to place their food and drinks. String up some garden lights. Light some citronella candles to keep mosquitos and flies away. Add throw pillows and throw blankets in case it gets cool outside. You get the idea!
Whether to invite kids to a party is a dilemma that lots of people face. It’s fine if you have kids, but if you don’t, we know how “different” a party can be when little kids are running around. Relax though. There’s not an easy way to get around it, so you might as well make the best of it so your friends who have kids can attend. Our recommendation is to simply keep them busy — preferably at the opposite end of the yard. If it’s nice out, consider filling a kiddie pool with water and inviting them to bring their swimsuits and beach towels. Have a little area with age-appropriate outdoor toys like kites, sidewalk chalk, water balloons, and other fun things. You might find that you’ll end up having just as much fun as them.
Let’s hear it for the designated drivers! They make it possible for people to have a few drinks if they want, and they make you more relaxed about serving said drinks. Knowing that your guests will get home safely takes a lot of pressure off of party planning, so we recommend offering something special for these heroes. Make a little sign over a table, labeling it as the Designated Driver Station. On the table, add a variety of nonalcoholic drink options, candies, and goodies in little storage baskets . While it’s specifically a reward for designated drivers, you might find that other people may take part once they see your options, so make sure you have enough.
When you have games like cornhole (bag toss), lawn darts, bocce ball, or any other outdoor game lying around, it’s a great way to ensure that people have a good time. Games are especially great when you have a group of people who may not necessarily know each other very well. When the conversation lulls, they can always say, “Hey, do you want to play a game?” This can take the pressure of socialization away immensely.
We know it can be stressful trying to tend to everyone and make everything perfect, but nobody expects you to wait on them hand and foot. They want you to be social and relaxed as much as possible. When people show up, show them where the locations of the self-serve drinks, the bathroom, garbage, etc. Then emphasize the “help yourself” part. You’ll likely have a few people who leave plates and drinks lying around, but they’re probably not doing it intentionally, so don’t get too flustered. And don’t feel like you have to pick up after them either. Save it until the end of the party. You’ll likely have a few people offering to help anyway, which brings us to the next tip.
If someone offers to help clean up after the party, let them! It’s also a good idea to accept any help that’s offered in advance of the party. If someone offers to bring something, consider letting them bring an appetizer or drink. They wouldn’t offer if they didn’t want to help.
One clever idea involves the topic of grilling. It's a backyard bash, after all, so see anyone wants to take the job of “Grillmaster.” Some people love standing around a hot grill, flipping burgers, and drinking beer. This is where most of the men seem to conjugate anyway, so why not have fun with it? We think it’s hilarious to make it a competition where they have to submit a culinary resume (even if it is just one sentence long), explaining why they’re the right one for the job. You can even award a funny grilling apron or monogrammed women’s or men’s T-shirt to the winner. This frees up your time while ensuring you don’t end up smelling like a sausage during the party.
With a handful of great tips and some thoughtful planning, you’ll host a backyard bash to remember.