At this point, most of us are of gearing up for the long weekend ahead. Whether you’re heading out of town or planning to stay local to celebrate with family and friends, do more to maximize your extra day off! Throwing a party to kick off summer and commemorate Memorial Day is a great option, but it doesn’t have to be a lot of work for you, as the host. Just focus your energy on a few key points to keep your gathering simple, yet successful.
- The Menu
Whether you want to go the barbecue route or try something a little more adventurous, involve your guests! Making the event a potluck alleviates some of the stress of providing enough food for everyone, since the burden’s not solely on you. If you plan for the primary entrees, asking others to bring their favorite side dish or dessert can quickly fill the food table. You may find that many guests will even offer to bring something, so this part may be easier than you think!
With the side dishes covered, you can focus on the main recipes and stocking up on extra snacks. Barbecue favorites like hamburgers, hot dogs, and pulled pork aren’t just popular, they’re easy to cook and less expensive in bulk. So if you want to mix things up with a spicy salad or signature drink, consider adding those to the menu rather than replacing the classics. Not only will this be easier on your budget, but also it’ll help you spend less time preparing food and more time enjoying your party!
- The Setting
Having a great outdoor space is key to hosting a true Memorial Day party. Show off your deck, porch, or patio with a good scrubbing, subtle decorations, and ample lighting in case your party lasts through the night. Get creative with a little patriotic flair and don’t be afraid to repurpose items. After all, who says twinkling light strands are only acceptable around Christmas?
You can also set up separate areas to improve the flow of the party. Plan where you want the food to go—whether it’s inside or outside—and have seating spread out so people can mingle and move throughout the evening. Fortunately, you can accomplish most of this ahead of time (and even recruit help) over the weekend.
- The people
Now, you can’t forget the guest list! Invite the people you truly want to share the occasion with and try to prepare an accurate headcount. While it’s inevitable that one or two unexpected guests will trickle in, if you’re not a host who adopts “the more, the merrier” attitude, be upfront about it. It’s your party, ultimately, so if you want to make it an invite-only situation, just let your guests know ahead of time. People will understand and you’ll be more relaxed throughout the day.
Create opportunities for your guests to interact, whether with the aforementioned seating arrangements or with activities. People may not remember the food you served, or the special lights you hung, but they will remember having a good time. And you should be involved in that! You’re not just the facilitator as a host, you’re also the center of the party.
Whatever you decide, we’re wishing you and yours a happy Memorial Day! If there’s anything we can do to make this gathering better (or the next one), don’t hesitate to give us a call. We can help give you the outdoor entertaining space of your dreams!