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How to throw the ultimate backyard BBQ this summer

Being a host comes with a lot of responsibility, from making sure everyone has a great time to having the perfect food. Entertaining expert Lexi Haslam gave us the inside scoop on how to throw the ultimate backyard BBQ. 

INVITATIONS

Some may say that sending paper invites are old school, so feel free to send yours electronically. Whichever way you choose to notify your guests, sending out an invite is a concrete way to tell people to save the date.

There are a few pieces of information you should make sure to include! You'd be surprised how many hosts forget to clarify the type of event. Questions you can consider for this are: Is it adult only? What is the dress code? Are pets allowed? The more specific you are, the easier it is for your guests to understand the vibe. Plus, you don't want someone showing up in a business suit to a Hawaiian-themed party. 

Be sure to add the time and what guests should bring. If you plan to have dinner and a bonfire, include the timing of both (even if it's a close estimate). This way those that have prior commitments can decide if they're able to make it to one part of your event. Also, guests typically don't like to come empty handed! You can add a line on your invitations that specific what would be helpful for them to bring, such as a dessert or bottle of wine. 

SEATING

Depending on your theme or the vibe of your BBQ, the seating can vary. Some prefer to seat couples side by side while others prefer to seat them in front of each other. Either way, place cards are key when it comes to seating! You never want to leave your guests feeling awkward when searching for a place to sit.

RENTALS

Renting out products that you need is a great way to be environmentally friendly. Having an excess amount of paper plates, napkins and straws is wasteful. There are tons of inexpensive rental companies that allow you to rent everything from wine glasses to cloth napkins. If you're doing a seated picnic, silver cutlery and glass plates will help create a fanicer vibe. 

If you're worried about having glass outdoors, you can always rent plastic wine glasses. And the best part about renting? You don't need to clean! By having all your necessities rented, you won't have to spend any time cleaning up afterward, which saves have the hassle of hosting.

TABLE STYLING

The idea of styling your tables can seem expensive, but you can pick up fresh herbs and florals at your local grocery store! Not only will you save a fortune on decor, but they also smell as great as they look. You'd be surprised how beautiful a table can look with just a few simple items. 

AMBIENCE 

When it comes to an evening backyard event, lighting and music are everything. Sitting in the dark is not ideal at an outdoor party. Even if you have a bonfire going, additional lighting is an important element. From candles to string lights, the choices are endless. For a romantic evening, lighting candles will add a nice touch, just be sure to keep them away from plants. 

In terms of music, create a playlist in advance and test out the volume levels. Having the music at a comfortable volume that still allows for conversation is important. You don't want guests to get a headache but you also don't want there to be complete silence. 

When it comes to scents, fresh lavender is always a crowd pleaser. It's not overwhelmingly strong but it's still noticeable. You can also add an outdoor diffuser to your backyard and choose a soothing essential oil. 

COMFORT

Squinting all afternoon because the sun is directly in your eyes is not enjoyable. Ensure that you have shade options for your guests! Not everyone loves getting a tan so it's important to have some sort of umbrella or seating under trees. If you have outlets in your backyard, you might even be able to plug a small fan in. 

When the sun sets and the bugs come out, you don't want the party to end. Have bug spray and blankets ready to go so that your guests aren't going home with a whole bunch of bug bites. 

Low seating might look super chic and modern, but it isn't always practical. Keep in mind the age group of your guests and plan your seating options accordingly. Remember, being comfortable is a bigger priority than the aesthetic. 

SPECIAL TOUCHES

Cellphone photos are great to share electronically, but they certainly don't replace the nostalgia of looking back at a tangible picture. Adding disposable cameras s is a fun way for your guests to capture the moment! You can add one to every table or just keep them all in one place. It's also a good distraction for keeping people off Instagram and builds suspense for getting them developed. You can even make copies to give out to those that attended.