This weekend we hosted a BBQ with some of my loveliest friends and their families. It was such a blast. It’s a summer tradition I am really looking forward to, as we have pre-set dates once a month to get together in this fashion. In preparation for our first of many monthly BBQ’s, I sent the invite and reminder emails + carefully watched the forecast. Ya’ll it just got H-O-T here in Wisconsin and while I’m not one to complain, outdoor activities do get a little sticky when the temperature reaches 90 degrees.
You see, our back yard and patio are fully exposed to sunlight in the last half of the day. There’s no real relief from the hot sun and of course, our pergola was set to be built after our hosted BBQ day. Maybe it was the hot + sweaty pregnant woman persona in me, or worry that we would give our guests heat stroke, but I started to worry a little about what we would do. The umbrella on our patio dining furniture surely wouldn’t shade us all and summer is not meant to be spent entirely indoors.
Also, at the last minute I had a little panic that we didn’t have enough food. (Seriously, why do I always think that would be the worst thing ever?) Basically, I was sweating it in every sense of the word.
My sweet husband helped set up the patio, we filled a container of water balloons and put the sprinkler in the yard. We had our air conditioning set and made the executive decision to keep food inside. I put a few extra snacks out that I found in our pantry and guess what? The BBQ was perfect. My friend Rachele wanted to sit in the sun; we had enough shade for those of us who wanted to escape it; the kids ran wild in the water; everyone went inside when they needed to.
The point of this story here is that you should host the BBQ. Whether hospitality seems out of your realm of spiritual gifts, whether the forecast is a sauna or a thunderstorm, and whether or not everyone can make the selected date – do it. Just host it. The quality time, the memories, the laughter and the fun make all of the difference in the world. And summer flies by all too quickly, so live fully in BBQ season while you can.
Here are a few tips to make it easier to host a Summer BBQ (especially if you are one to sweat it, like me):
Have a potluck. Provide the main course and send out an email to guests to RSVP + reply with what they will be bringing. Keep your course simple. Ours was just hamburgers – yes I realize not vegan, gluten free, or fit for all diet types, but there were plenty of other selections for someone who may not indulge in the beloved burger. Also, potlucks are such a fun way to get a selection of foods you don’t typically make yourself.
Stick to your budget. There is absolutely no reason you need to put your family finances or monthly budget in jeopardy to have some friends over. Don’t feel like you have to get the most expensive, organic, grass-fed beef for hamburgers with gourmet buns if it doesn’t fit the bill. Honestly, I went to Costco and stocked up on our food for the day. It was very affordable and everyone’s belly left happy.
Create the ambiance. This is not supposed to be an overwhelming tip. It simply means, let your house be your house. Let people feel comfortable walking in and out with wet feet or with the door open + air conditioning on. Play some good tunes. Put a smile on your face. A happy house is a welcoming home.
Encourage the kids to be kids. There’s something about kids running wild with joy at my house that makes my heart so happy. It’s like that’s just how it was meant to be. By having activities that encourage them to play together and entertain themselves, it gives adults a little bit more freedom for conversation + they create memories themselves. We bought the coolest water balloon kit that was literally so easy to fill… and the kids loved them. (I did show a video of this in my Instagram Stories because I was so amazed…though note to self: 100 water balloons only lasts about 5 minutes. We should get 10x the balloons next time.) We put the sprinkler on, let them go crazy with the hose for a while and even set up their dinner picnic style. They had so much fun. Some ended up playing inside together and others wanted to play with our dog, but every child found some joy in the gathering.
Pick one special thing to do. Maybe this doesn’t seem special to everyone, but we bought juice barrels for the kids to enjoy as a treat. (We don’t usually give our kids juice, so Maven and Sylvie loved this at the very least.) Okay, we also bought popsicles for the kiddos to indulge in but they didn’t freeze in time 😆 therefore we didn’t even mention the word for fear we would have tears. Basically, just don’t spread yourself thin. Having one fun item (for adults and/or kids) is plenty. People come to see you and spend time with you, not for all the frills and fancy.
I think we can put too much pressure on ourselves to be the perfect hosts and serve the perfect food to accommodate everyone’s tastes or preferences perfectly. Or, we worry about things like comparison because some people host with the latest beautiful summer dishware from Crate and Barrel and cloth napkins as oppose to paper plates and red solo cups. I say, don’t sweat it. Drop the pressure. Send the email or text or make the calls. Get the date on the calendar and host the darn BBQ.
Enjoy yourselves friends – it’s only summer for so long.
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