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How To Throw A Summer BBQ Party That’s Simple And Last Minute

Summer is about rest and relaxation, so why stress yourself out when hosting a backyard barbecue? Too often people choose not to throw a summer bbq because they fear it will be too much effort. Don’t skip the idea of entertaining just because you’re nervous about what’s involved or how professional you’ll look!  With a little advanced planning and a bit of help from your guests (yes, it’s okay to accept their help), you’ll be flipping burgers like a pro — without even breaking a sweat.

Follow our tips below and you’ll be well on your way to throw a summer bbq that’s just perfect and a blast!  Do you have any of your own tips to share? Let us know in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: Jennifer Lutz is the home décor expert at and knows how to get ready for any fabulous holiday or party in style! To go above and beyond this summer, consider one of these party themes for your next bash.

How To Throw A Summer BBQ

1. Plan Ahead

What’s more fun than hosting a bbq during the summer? Embrace the maxim, “the more, the merrier!”  To keep stress to a minimum, and to be prepared for last minute get-togethers, have party supplies on hand. From cups, napkins and plates to drinks, hot dogs (we love Costco’s all beef hot dogs) and s’mores supplies, we recommend keeping your pantry and freezer stocked at all times.

throw a summer bbq - 4 easy steps

See how easy it is to throw a summer BBQ, last miminute!

Tip: If last-minute plans stress you out, then choose the best date for your backyard party. Would it be better on a weekday or a weekend? Consider the summer activities your kids are enrolled in, other errands you may have on that day, and when your guests will be free to figure out the best day to hold your barbecue. Once you’ve got the date set, plan your menu. This way you can buy what you need ahead of time and even put together some dishes together a day or two before, such as cold salads and desserts.

2. Delegate Chores

Enlist help and assign chores, so you won’t stress out over getting everything done yourself. Have your husband scrub the deck or clean the grill. The kids can do some light weeding or wipe down the outdoor furniture. Don’t be afraid to ask guests to contribute, too! Ask guests to bring an appetizer, dessert, or maybe a bottle of wine. You can even put someone in charge of entertainment or games.

3. Keep It Simple

You don’t need to go overboard with decorating, lighting, and the menu. Just remind yourself that as a guest, you’re thrilled just to be invited to someone’s home and grateful for the time out with friends. Fussy food and decorations are not necessary for a memorable party!

outdoor bbq decor and table

Keep it simple with no-fuss table decor for a summer bbq. | Photo Credit: Style Me Pretty

4. Choose Your Menu Wisely

Check out Ina Garten’s basic hosting principles, as they’re very helpful when planning a menu. Don’t make more than 3 items from scratch, as it can get too overwhelming. Store-bought isn’t always a bad thing — especially if you have a favorite bakery or specialty store nearby. If you’re low on time, run to the store and pick from a wide variety of healthy or organic dishes. Stick to your tried-and-true recipes that are sure to be a hit with your guests to save yourself time and effort.

Think quick dishes and light sides that won’t leave your guests feeling too heavy in the summer heat. Salads and finger foods are great paired with barbecue mainstays such as burgers, hot dogs, and brats. End with cool treats like ice cream or popsicles for a welcome way to beat the heat.

Put up food stations, such as a burger bar with all the condiments, or a beverage station, s’mores bar, and hotdog spread, among others. Set things up in such a way so your guests can “build” their own meals, cutting back on serving time.


Serve menu items that are tried and true | Photo Credit: Gimme Some Oven

Set up a condiment station for guests to make their own burger or hotdog | Celebrations At Home

Set up a condiment station for guests to make their own burger or hotdog | Celebrations At Home

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About The Author

Jennifer is the home décor expert at and knows how to get ready for the holiday season in style! Follow her holiday tips on Pinterest and Twitter.

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