Rachael Rachael, a mom of two daughters, is a freelance editor and writer who enjoys gardening and dreams of keeping chickens in her suburban St. Louis backyard. In her spare time, she helps to edit her husband’s science fiction books. Read more of Rachael's work at www.rachaelsjohnston.com or contact her by emailing rachael@mumblingmommy.com.

When planning a back yard picnic or barbecue, small touches can have a big impact. Consider ways to make the gathering enjoyable and memorable for your guests, and include some of these successful cookout ideas at your next party.

How To Make a Successful Cookout

  •       Offer plenty of comfy seating. Arrange lots of inviting furniture like wicker couches or chairs, footstools, hammocks, or even simple cushions covered with outdoor-friendly fabric around the yard.
  •       Do as much prep work as possible before the party so you can spend time with guests. The night before, set the table, chop veggies, prepare dessert, and put out serving dishes and drinking glasses to free up time later.
  •       Set up stations around the yard for food, drinks, and desserts. Spreading things out cuts down on traffic jams while guests are filling their plates. This also encourages guests to move around and mingle.
  •       Don’t forget decorations. Put out fresh flowers or simple table centerpieces. Look for ways to combine functionality with beauty, such as a glass-topped accent table where guests can set drinks.
  •       Set out a few activities for younger guests. Have some bubbles, sidewalk chalk, jump ropes, and Frisbees on hand. If your party will last into the evening, provide jars for catching fireflies.
  •       Light it up. When the sun sets, make sure your outdoor space is well lit. Create ambiance by setting out a few candles or decorative lanterns. Stock up on citronella candles to help keep bugs away. Line walkways with solar lights, or make your own lights by filling mason jars with a small amount of sand or Epsom salts and placing a votive candle in each jar.
  •       Send each guest home with a small gift. A potted plant, a jar of seasonal preserves, or a glass wine bottle stopper are great ways to help guests remember your gathering. No matter what else you do, remember to relax, enjoy your guests, and have fun!
What are some other ideas that helped you have a successful cookout?
Category: Family Free Time

Tags: back yard