21 Jun Tips for the perfect housewarming barbeque
You’ve spent weeks looking for the perfect house, endured the stress of the negotiations and the seemingly endless conveyancing. Finally, you’ve got the keys and you’ve moved in. One last thing to do – organise the housewarming barbeque.
June, July and August can be some of the best months to organise a barbeque so, with those lazy days of summer upon us, invite friends over for an alfresco feast and celebrate your new home.
If you want to ensure your barbeque goes off without a hitch, here’s our handy guide to plan ahead and keeping the party going when night falls.
Test your equipment
Sounds obvious but, before you send out the invites, check your barbeque is still up to the job. If it’s gas, make sure it’s working – remember it may not have seen the light of day for a year. Additionally, the size of your grill should determine how many people you invite. The last thing you want is people waiting for their food when you run out of room.
You may well have upsized your house so if you’re planning to entertain bigger and often (or you are a serious cook), it might be worth investing in a larger barbeque with a prep area.
Think about your seating
Guests will need a comfortable place to sit and eat, so think about seating. In a compact space, consider bench seating so everyone can squeeze in. Having a stash of collapsible chairs or a fashionable (and also foldable) Bier Keller bench could be good standbys, too.
Think about practicalities, too: some people are happy to eat on their laps, but others prefer will a surface. A mix of both is a good idea. If you have nothing to hand, stacked pallets like these could be a good quick solution. Employ trays as makeshift table tops, or a suitable piece of wood.
Prepare, prepare, prepare!
Behind every laid-back and effortlessly smooth barbeque, there’s normally a deceptively high amount of planning. Ensure your barbeque runs easily with plenty of preparation. As soon as you know who is coming, ask all confirmed guests for any dietary requirements and write up your shopping list accordingly. The day before your barbeque, take time to marinate any meat and prepare salads and accompaniments.
Organise the music
Some background music is always a good idea to keep everyone in the party mood. But don’t just put your ipod playlist on and hope that your taste appeals to everyone. Consider your audience and customise. If you know Auntie Mabel likes Marvin Gaye, throw in a couple of songs. Think about timing and whether you’re getting the party started or calming everyone down at the end of the evening. Finally, be mindful of the neighbours – better still, invite them along!
Pack away any breakables
Avoid broken glass and plate mishaps by swapping ‘indoor’ tableware for brightly coloured ‘outdoor’ tableware. There are some super-stylish melamine plates, cups and bowls available and they don’t cost a fortune. You could opt for a mix of bright colours or choose blue and white or a monochrome set for a pared-back look.
Get the drinks ready
If you’re planning to mix up some cocktails, a drinks trolley makes a fun and portable bar.
Make sure there’s a good selection of beers, wines and ciders and they are chilled in plenty of time. Ice buckets or cool boxes are a great idea for keeping drinks cold and can be left in the shade for easy access. Bags of ice are pretty cheap and will mean that you won’t have your freezer taken up making ice bags the night before.
You should also have plenty of water (still and sparkling) and soft drinks, some bottles of squash for the kids and perhaps even a fruit punch for the adults. Low or no alcohol options are also a good idea.
Create a children’s area
It can be a good idea to give children a designated seating spot of their own. It will keep them safely out of the way of the barbeque and free up seats for the grown-ups. How about a Moroccan-style picnic tent is perfect as a shaded den and can be set up easily with a gazebo, cushions, rugs and blankets?
Make simple and fun desserts
Give yourself plenty of time to socialise with your guests! Don’t add extra work for yourself e.g. Keep desserts fuss-free and make them ahead of time if you can. Some easy jam tarts are a good choice, and easy to eat without plates. Alternatively, set up an ice-cream bar, with a selection of flavours and different toppings, for guests to help themselves.
Don’t let the rain stop you
At least one of the summer’s barbeques is bound to be accompanied by a downpour. Plan for all eventualities with a temporary gazebo, or go for a fairly simple garden sail. For an even easier solution, you could keep a garden parasol (or two) in the sidelines to bring out when the heavens open.
Light up the space
Hopefully, your barbeque will go swimmingly (no pun intended especially with the great British summer) and carry on into the evening. Plenty of lighting is really important to keep the party going and so that you’re not plunged into darkness when the sun goes down. Dot some solar-powered lamps around the flowerbeds to give a glow to your greenery, string up fairy lights and add even more atmosphere with some candles.
If the party does continue when night falls, be ready with plenty of blankets and throws. To add even more warmth, invest in a fire pit. For a cost-effective solution opt for a brazier-style pit, which can be used as both a barbeque (if guests get hungry again) and a heat source!
If you’re looking for a home with the perfect outdoor entertaining space, we would love to speak to you. Why not call one of the team today on 01325-776424