Memorial Day is the unofficial start of the summer season for most of us – schools get out around then, the pools and amusement parks open, and the temperature starts to climb. Nothing kicks off the first summer holiday like a backyard party on Memorial Day weekend! We’ve put together some tips for throwing a fantastic open-air fete!
First things first, pick a location. This could be your backyard, front yard, the neighborhood pool, or even a public park. Your backyard is generally your best bet for smaller gatherings.
Take a few minutes to think about how many people you want to invite by assessing your seating, serving, dining and parking options. Inviting too many guests can make your party feel small and crowded. It may be hard to cut friends from your invite list, but your guests should be able to spread out comfortably. An adult-only party may help reduce your numbers.
Show off your star-spangled style! Memorial Day decorating is as easy as red, white, and blue. These hues can be incorporated in everything from flatware and tablecloths to floral centerpieces and snacks.
Fire up the grill to feed the group with traditional fare like hamburgers and hotdogs or experiment within the grilled meat world. Some exotic meats don’t require a lot of time or preplanning. Sliders are a fun alternative to full-size burgers. Don’t forget to make room for a spread of toppings and sides for guests to load up on. You’ll be able to focus on getting the meat on the bun and moving on. Encourage your friends to bring their own slider toppings with a potluck invite.
When it comes to dessert, food coloring is your friend! Add it to your dishes and arrange accordingly for some Insta-worthy patriotic flair.
You’ll want to make sure there is a flow for where everyone will be. Think of your yard like a clock with 12 being the access point to your home. Ice chests and the drink bar should be at 1 or 2 o’clock so guests can join the fun upon arrival. Place the grill at about 3 o’clock so it’s close to the door to the kitchen. The fixings area at 4 or 5 o’clock, dining at 6, and the rest of your yard should be left available for chat groups and activities. It’s a great idea to have a trash can at 12, 3, 6, and 9 for easy access. Guests will instinctively flow in this clockwise manner making your job as host that much easier.
If your yard is prone to mosquitoes, lighting citronella torches around the party perimeter and little candles around the dining areas will help. You should also plan ahead and spray a yard fog repellent over the area up to an hour before your guests arrive.
While the torches provide some lighting, you’ll need to ensure your guests can see as the sun goes down. String lights can be placed between trees or along walk ways while spotlights can up-shine larger trees. A fire pit is an excellent way to bring the evening to a close as it draws everyone in and calms the mood down substantially.
The key is to have fun!