Hosting a Summer Barbeque

With lingering nights, warm temperatures and perfect grilling weather, summer is an ideal time to host a barbecue.

However, when you’re in the thick of the daily grind, pulling one off can seem impossible. It’s easy to let the thought of having to plan and organize an event overwhelm you and stop you in your tracks. But if you keep it simple and follow a few basic ideas, you will be able to host a gathering that is certain to be a fun time for guests. Whether you want an intimate bash with a few friends or a larger neighborhood affair, if you approach this event with the right mindset you’ll have guests raving about it and begging you to make it an annual bash.

Alicia on “It’s the Company that Matters Most”:

Hosting a summer barbecue is not about having a perfect party. Your guests are not coming to your home to see over-the-top decorations or gourmet food. They are joining you for good company and some relaxation. With this in mind pick a date and just do it. Don’t make it complicated, with tons of decorations, or spend a lot of money on the food. I know that when folks say they are having a barbecue, I look forward to eating a burger or kabobs, some pasta salad and a brownie or cookie. If you’re worried about the minute details of getting gourmet steaks, serving five different salads, having the perfect wine and fancy desserts, you’re more likely to end up with an uptight and stressful gathering than a relaxed one. Keep the focus on having fun and connecting with your friends, and it will be a great party no matter what you serve.

Sarah on “Enlist Sous-Chefs”:

Delegating tasks is important, especially if the guest list is large. Most guests are grateful to pitch in and help take the burden off you — and that’s especially true at a barbecue. So consider hosting a potluck party and have every guest bring a side dish or dessert. You could even make it a chili cook-off and have everyone bring his or her favorite pot of chili — or do the same thing with sloppy joes. Also, if you decide to have alcoholic beverages at the party, you might want to consider a BYOB. Liquor is expensive and there’s always a ton left over. If each person brings a six-pack of beer or a bottle of wine or liquor, it takes the stress off your pocketbook — and has the added benefit of ensuring that everybody is able to have a favorite drink.

Here are a few tips that will help make that summer barbecue party a cinch:

#1. Get on
There is no reason to spend extra money on paper invitations for a summer barbecue when you can make them for free online. You can also set up an event on a social-networking site like Facebook and invite friends that way. The other great thing about e-vites is you can usually link to a map site so they can print door-to-door directions to the party.

#2. Set a fun mood:
Get a few hanging lanterns or tiki torches and utilize your iPod. You can create an awesome playlist with just Jimmy Buffet, Bob Marley and the Beach Boys or a mix of your favorite songs. The joy of the MP3 player is that you can be your own DJ.

#3. Top it off:
Make some flavored icy treats. Simply get molds from Target or Wal-Mart and mix lemonade or limeade with fresh pieces of fruit like strawberries or kiwi and freeze for healthy and refreshing goodies for kids and adults.