BBQs are a popular way to celebrate the warmer weather with family and friends. When you plan a barbecue, pick a specific theme, invite your family and friends, ask them to bring a dish, set up the yard or patio ahead of time, and organize outdoor recreation. You can grill a variety of meats, seafood, poultry, and vegetables to provide a variety of food choices for guests. Below is a plan to help you organize your BBQ this year. Find a Day That Works For Family and Friends Talk with your family and friends and try to find a day and weekend that works for most of them. Most Americans that work think vacation is important, and 96% agree with this fact. You can call or email your family and friends and ask them to give you some of their specific vacation dates to work with. Try to be realistic and realize that some people will not find any dates that work due to very busy schedules. Pick a date that works for most of the people on your list and mail out invitations with RSVP information. This will help you plan for the number of guests that come to the BBQ. Ensure You Have the Proper Grilling Equipment Whether you own a gas grill or charcoal grill, make sure you have enough charcoal and propane to cook and equipment to serve the food. Clean the grill ahead of time and test it to make sure it is ready for your barbecue. You should have spatulas, forks, tongs, serving platters, and a thermometer ready to be used for your barbecue. Go out to the store and buy extra propane tanks and charcoal so you won't run low. Avoid having hungry guests waiting for food to be cooked because you have to go out to buy propane or charcoal at the store. Ask Guests to Bring a Dish to Pass Around You can ask guests to bring side dishes, desserts, and unusual items that you may not provide. If some of your guests are vegetarian, they may want to bring vegetarian burgers, hotdogs, sausage, or dishes. A variety of foods will allow your guest to try new foods. You can suggest they bring potato salad, pasta salads, vegetable salads, beans, fries, beverages, corn, biscuits, rolls, pickled vegetables, cornbread, cookies, pies, cakes, or sorbet. Clean out the refrigerator ahead so you have room to store the food that needs to be refrigerated for the barbecue. Set up snack foods on a separate table away from the grill and main picnic area. This keeps your barbecue organized and gives your more room to cook and prep food. Prepare Your Backyard With Furniture and Lights Mow the lawn in your yard ahead of time and weed your garden if you have one. Most lawns require about one inch of water weekly, so watering your lawn and garden before your barbecue should be on your to-do list. Set up picnic tables and lawn chairs ahead of time to save you from the stress of last-minute preparations. Wipe off all the tables and chairs with warm soap and water and dry with paper towels. You may want to hang lights for entertaining at night, buy citronella candles and bug repellents for guests, and suggest they wear lightweight pants and shirts late in the day. Put Out Lawn Games Set up games for adults and children to enjoy during the barbecue. In hot weather, slip and slides and water sprinklers are perfect for children to keep cool. You can set up a table for guests to play cards, bingo, or other popular board games. Other games you might have available to play are cornhole, bocce, badminton, horseshoes, and Twister. Try to provide a variety of games for children, teens, and adults. Set Up the Food and Drinks Before Guests Arrive At home, set up food and beverage areas before your guests arrive. Organize and defrost your meats, seafood, or poultry, and prep your vegetables early to have them ready to grill. Chill your beverages and set up a separate area for adults with alcoholic beverages. Make sure there's enough room for adults who'd like to bring specialty beverages, such as one of the 42 bottles of whiskey exported from Scotland every second! Also, put out tablecloths, placemats, plates, napkins, and utensils ahead of time to save you time and added stress. Decide what you plan to grill and find recipes to help you prepare tasty dishes. Planning your BBQ ahead will help your event be successful this summer. It will give you time to enjoy the food and the guests you have invited to your home barbecue.