Picture this: Your friend invited you over for a BBQ. The event started at 5pm, it’s now approaching 7pm and it’s so dark you can’t differentiate a burger from a sliced tomato. It’s cold, dribbling with rain, and the kids are getting bored. You’re sitting on an uncomfortable step; all the other seating was taken. There are dead flies in your drink and you’re covered in bug bites. Doesn’t sound like fun, does it?

Hosting a BBQ can be challenging. There are so many aspects to consider that don’t involve cooking on the barby. A guest’s experience of the event has got to be considered when planning the perfect BBQ, from comfort to entertainment, to pure aesthetic satisfaction. We’ve gathered together some of our favourite ideas for spicing up your outdoor dinner.

Decorations

The great thing about a BBQ is that the relaxed atmosphere means you don’t have to stress that all of your outside furniture doesn’t match. A mix-matched and laid back vibe can be perfect for a BBQ. Try these tricks to get your guests feeling chill and enjoying their surroundings.

Floating candles:
  • Pop a tea light in a jam jar filled with water. Put them around the edges of pathways in the garden to light the way for guests when it gets darker. You can even put fruit in them to give them pretty colouring! Additionally, place some tea lights around tables to help guests see your delicious food if it gets dark.
Bunting:
  • Is there anything that says British BBQ better than bunting? Hang some pretty bunting around the trees in your garden to add to the aesthetic.
Tree Lighting:
  • Lights draped on and around trees aren’t just for Christmas! Grab some fairy lights and wrap them around the trunks or branches of trees and your garden will be looking like Tinkerbell’s safe-haven in no time.
Pic-Ni-Q (Picnic/BBQ):
  • Not enough seating? No problem! Another reason BBQs are fabulous is that it’s one of the few times it is seen as socially acceptable to eat on the floor! Get the picnic blankets out of the airing cupboard, dust them off, and use them as a cute area for your guests to sit. Hold the edges down with some candles or flower-filled vases and you’re good to go!
Table art:
  • Show off your children’s latest art work by using it as the center piece of the tables. Their paper-mâché penguin has never looked as good as it does in-between all of your perfectly cooked chicken!
Adorable foliage fairy lights:
  • Check out these foliage-style lights from Urban Outfitters. There are many house decorations out there that could be doubled as BBQ decor.
Whiteboards:
  • Use little whiteboards or chalk boards to label your foods. You can even put one on your front door to tell guests where to find you!
Hay bales:
  • If you’re really going for that laid back, country atmosphere, why not use hay bales as seating? To save your guests from being covered in hay, throw a cloth over the bales and these comfy seats will be a unique addition to your BBQ.
Scavenger Hunt:
  • Alright, this ones not really a decoration, but to keep the kids entertained, give them the task of finding various items in the garden. A rock, a leaf, your cup that you misplaced somewhere in the bush, challenge them to find it!
Box of sunscreen:
  • Fill a container with sunscreen and bug spray for your guests to help themselves to throughout the event.

Food and Drink Accessories

After you’ve spent all that time preparing and cooking the food for your guests to enjoy, it may be disheartening to see it just plonked on a tray ready for your guests to grab. We’ve come up with a few suggestions for making your food look prettier.

Individual bags:
  • Put chips,  or even crisps, in individual paper bags. This makes it easier for guests to get equal portions, and it looks nice!
Fruit sticks:
  • A fun way to make children, and even adults, eat more fruit is to put them on a lolly-stick. Watermelon are great for turning into a healthy popsicle alternative.
Frozen fruit ice cubes:
  • Freeze your favourite fruits in water to make ice cubes more appealing. Grapes or cut up strawberries look great in ice!
Salad station:
  • Separate the different elements of a salad into stylish glass containers with lids. This makes it super easy for guests to choose how to build their salad.
Wheelbarrows:
  • Make use of your wheelbarrow by cleaning it, placing a decorative cloth inside and filling it with bottles and cans for your guests to drink.
Cupcake liners:

Use cupcake liners as cup covers to save the insects from trying to nab your guests’ drinks. Poke a straw through them and your friends will be able to enjoy their refreshment without fear of critters creeping in.

Cup labels:
  • For the eco-conscious amongst you, putting sticky labels on cups is a perfect way to save waste. Guests can write their names on their cups to ensure they don’t unnecessarily throw it away thinking they’re about to drink from somebody else’s waste.

With these tips, you’re sure to be having a blast with your friends in the summer sun in no time! Here’s to a unique BBQ!

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