1) Create a concept that is fluent, coherent and fun. Something as simple as a colour scheme or theme can do the trick and instantly make guests feel like they are at an event rather than a casual lunch.
2) Consider seating arrangements. You don’t want guests to be too far away from one another, but you also don’t want to squash them in too closely. Think about the outdoor furniture that you’ve got at current or can get your hands on, and how you can arrange it so that people can sit and eat comfortably.
3) Prepare for the Great British weather. We all know of the unpredictability of it so create an area of shelter outside using a marquee or even a couple of tents! Fill them with pillows and cushions to give it a comfy atmosphere and they can also double up as a place for kids to play.
4) Think about the numbers. Make a guestlist, and invite people a couple of weeks before the event so you know how many to expect. The easiest way to keep track of this is by making a Facebook event, but you can always send out paper invites, texts or emails if you prefer.
5) Food for thought. Firstly, make sure you know about any dietary requirements from your guests, and then use the number of attendees to plan your menu. At large events it’s best to stick to simple recipes that you can part-prepare before guests arrive, and don’t forget to provide some options for any kids that will be attending, side dishes that can be snacked on by early birds and of course, the desserts.
6) Shopping! Once you know your menu and the number of attendees you can go shopping. Preparing a list is vital and don’t forget any equipment or utensils that you’re lacking too.
7) Plan a playlist. Nobody likes music on a thirty minute loop, so make a 5 hour+ playlist on your MP3 player (around 100 songs) or have someone in charge of regularly changing the CDs. Also, if your barbecue party is themed, try not to make the music too cliché! Alternatively, if you like a little live music, why not ask some local bands to play?
8) Don’t forget the drinks. Unless you are asking guests to bring their own drink, provide a wide selection for guests and make room in your fridge! Coolboxes can be used to keep bottles handy in the garden too. Ensure there is enough choice of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for all, and a good tip is to keep bottles of squash handy in case soft drinks for kids run out. You may even want to knock up a great British summer punch if you have time!
9) Get help wherever possible! Kids love to help out at barbecues and lots of guests will offer to bring some sides, desserts or drinks so don’t be afraid to ask for what you need and delegate jobs where you can - even if it’s just decorating the garden or laying the table.
10) Last but not least, socialise! You may not realise it, but your guests are there to see you and not just sample your culinary delights! So don’t spend all night running around clearing up or serving food - just have fun, don’t stress and be present!
You should now have all the confidence and inspiration you need to host your big BBQ bash, so head on over to our Facebook page and pledge that you will host a barbecue party: you could win some great prizes for it! If you need any further advice or want to share some of your own party-planning tips, visit the BBQ Talk community and someone will no doubt be able to help!