Hosting a backyard dinner party is so much fun, and having a plan so that you feel prepared is the key to being a stress free host. From deciding what food you want for your backyard dinner party, grocery shopping, cooking, and setting the table, we’re going to walk through all of the essential steps to hosting an easy and enjoyable dinner party.
Here are some helpful tips for hosting a backyard dinner party that’s easy and enjoyable for your guests AND for you!
This post is all about how to host a backyard dinner party.
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My family and I actually had a backyard dinner party recently, and I shared the process of getting ready on my YouTube channel. My mom did most of the cooking (she is amazing) and I baked a cake for dessert, decorated it, and made the charcuterie board!
Food for a backyard dinner party
It can be hard to choose what you want to eat at your backyard dinner party because there are so many good options. I try to think about how to create a balanced meal while also having some dishes that are easy to prepare and some that may be more time consuming but are super tasty.
Also, you can make it easy for yourself if you want to do potluck style where each guest brings something. It totally depends on what you’re going for – my family has done both over the years and whether you cook everything or have everyone bring something, you’ll have a very special night together.
If you’d rather make everything yourself, that also is a lot of fun! It’s a very generous way to treat your guests. I think it helps a lot to create a menu beforehand so that you know what you’re making and you can grocery shop accordingly. You’ll want to gather any dietary restrictions from your guests so that you know they can eat whatever you choose to make.
Grilling is a great option because it makes your life easier – it’s quick and easy. I love grilling steak tips, chicken, shrimp, and lots and lots of veggies. And don’t forget to grill some pineapple and peaches if you can because they are SO GOOD.
Grocery shopping for your backyard dinner party
It can be hard to estimate how much food to get, but I think it’s always better to get a little bit more than you need because then you can enjoy leftovers for a few days afterwards. Especially because after a big day of cooking and hosting, it’s so nice to pull yummy leftovers out of the fridge and not have to cook.
Assume that everyone is going to want a little bit of everything you make, and assume you can send people home with leftovers at the end of the party if you’re overwhelmed by the amount of food you have left.
When it comes to buying something like meat, I always Google things like “how many steak tips is enough for 4 people” and that helps A LOT. I also like to ask the butcher if I’m getting something at the meat counter, but I stopped doing that as much because I think they have a tendency to oversell and give you more than you need.
The most helpful thing is having a grocery list. I know, very typical advice, but it saves you from running back and forth to the store. It’s so reassuring to know that you have everything you need.
Cooking for your dinner party
Cooking in advance where you can is so helpful. Some things that are easy to prep in advance are things like pasta salad, any baked dish that can be reheated in the oven (like mac and cheese) – basically anything that won’t lose freshness after being left out.
I’ve definitely made mistakes before where I prepared a pitcher of mojitos with fresh mint and hour or two before the party actually started and the mint was so wilted it looked like seaweed. They still tasted great, but I wouldn’t do it again.
It’s important to estimate how much you need to do right before the party starts so that you can try to do everything that can be done in advance. And if you realize the day of that you may not be able to do everything you planned, you can always change the plan or ask for help in the kitchen.
Make a dessert in advance
Making a dessert in advance makes your life SO much easier when it’s party time. Plus, there are so many desserts that taste better after sitting overnight. It’s not hard to find a recipe that doesn’t need to be fresh out of the oven to be a delicious dinner party dessert.
Recently, when my family had a backyard dinner party for my sister’s birthday, I was in charge of baking a cake. I took the easy route (which there is NO SHAME in doing!!) and baked a gluten free chocolate cake using this King Arthur cake mix. I baked it the night before, and then I decorated it the day of the party. It’s essential to have a cake that is moist so that it won’t dry out overnight. Luckily, that cake mix is NEVER dry.
Here are some dessert recipes that are perfect to make in advance:
What to drink
It can be fun to make a special cocktail, and if you do it by the pitcher instead of by the glass, it makes your life a lot easier. There are so many fun mixed drinks you can make. You can go for something simple and easy like margarita, or you can get as creative as you want to with it.
If you’re hosting a special occasion, it can be fun to make a unique cocktail (or mocktail) that helps signify what you’re celebrating. It will make it so that you and your guests remember the celebration even better. Especially if it’s a really tasty drink!
Here are some recipes for cocktail pitchers that you might like:
Making a beautiful tablescape
You don’t need to overthink this! Intentional table setting works perfectly. If you want to add in extra things, like special cloth napkins and a tablecloth, feel free. But you really can get away with just the essentials – a pitcher of water, glasses, plates, utensils, and napkins. Then everyone will have what they need to enjoy the beautiful meal you prepared.
And sometimes all you need to make your table look extra beautiful is a fancy charcuterie board for appetizers – the best decor is more good food (I’m not even kidding! LOL).
What to wear
Dressing up is part of the fun! If you want your guests to adhere to a certain color scheme or theme, tell them. For example, you could ask people to wear pastels or florals.
But this doesn’t need to be a big deal either – encouraging people to wear what they feel good in and dress up if they want to is perfect. And enjoy getting ready as much as you can. I find it helps a lot to pick out your outfit in advance (that way you don’t feel like you need to try on a million things to figure out what to wear).
Those are my tips for hosting a backyard dinner party that’s easy and enjoyable for you and your guests. Eating together is one of my favorite ways to spend time with loved ones. And having a plan in place for a dinner party definitely makes the job of hosting a more enjoyable one.
This post was all about how to host a backyard dinner party. I hope that you found it helpful!
Alright, that’s it from me (for now)! 🤗
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