Ideas for the Best BBQ Garden Party 

Summer is finally here and that means BBQs are back. But this year, why not try something different such as a full-on BBQ garden party?

If you’ve read our article, Halloween garden party ideas, you’ll know we have you covered with the best food, entertainment and activities your guests can enjoy. Whether you’re looking to host a small gathering or a larger party, read on for some inspiration.  

What to prepare for a BBQ party

Before you get into the fun stuff, there are a few things to consider before you throw your BBQ garden party

  • Firstly, it’s important to know who will be attending, their dietary requirements and create a shopping list: a lot has to be covered!
  • Secondly, consider the seating arrangements and space you have available to ensure everybody can be catered for. It might be worth setting up a marquee or a pop up gazebo if you have the space. Setting up a garden gazebo can also be a useful way to plan for the weather so that people can shelter from the rain or avoid any dreaded sunburn. Find out what size gazebo you need.
  • It is also important to maintain a good relationship with your neighbours by notifying them of your barbecue party and how many people you are inviting. This is especially important if you are planning to host your party in the evening so they can plan for any potential noise.

What to wear to a BBQ party

As a host, choosing a dress code for a BBQ garden party is completely optional, but fun dress codes can add a touch of playfulness to your gathering and can make for some great photo opportunities. On the other hand, dressing smart/casual and in line with the weather forecast ensures you and your guests are comfortable.

What to wear to a BBQ garden party for women

For women, the most popular choice of outfit for a BBQ garden party is a summer dress. These are stylish and incredibly versatile, especially if you opt for floral patterns or bright colours. 

If you want something more smart casual, opt for the shorts and blouse combo. Pair this with some casual trainers and a pair of sunglasses, this outfit will leave you comfortable and looking stylish.   

What to wear to a BBQ garden party for men

For men looking to dress to impress, a simple button-down shirt is a great option. Pair this with some smart chinos, a pair of loafers and some sunglasses.

If you want a more casual look, a classic polo shirt can be perfect. Pair this with some jeans and smart trainers, you’ll feel stylish while maintaining a casual look. 

What to bring to a BBQ pool party

If your BBQ party features a swimming pool, you will have to encourage your guests to bring different attire. It is important to encourage guests to bring towels if you can’t provide them and to bring flip flops, sandals or sliders to throw on after being in the pool.

Things to have at a BBQ

The main event at a BBQ is, of course, the food. There are a variety of BBQ food options to choose from such as meats, fish and vegetarian options. 

The food that you choose to serve at your barbecue party should all be dependent on the dietary requirements of your guests, which is why it is one of the first things to consider when planning. It’s also important to consider whether you’ll need more than one BBQ, especially if you are cooking vegetarian and vegan options. 

Meat

The most popular food option at a BBQ is meat, with burgers and sausages being the favourites. If you’re feeling adventurous, consider barbecuing some steak or even pork ribs.

A useful tip is to provide a selection of meats so that everyone can dip into their favourites. Also, if you’re buying meat from a butcher, make sure to tell them how many people you are feeding so you don’t over-purchase!

Fish

Fish is a great option to take your BBQ party to the next level. Popular options include salmon, cod (topped with lemon and herbs) and prawns. If you want a more luxurious option consider trying lobster or crab topped with some lemon and garlic.

Salads for a BBQ garden party

Salads are a popular choice for a garden party and can act as a refreshing palate cleanser after eating a burger or as a flavour enhancing side dish. There are lots of salad options to choose from, so it’s best to make a range of salads to fit all preferences. 

A few examples to get you inspired include:

  • Potato salad
  • Tomato, peach and burrata salad
  • A classic Greek salad
  • Summer panzanella salad
  • Griddled vegetables & feta with tabbouleh
  • BBQ chicken chopped salad
  • Mediterranean pasta salad
  • Pesto orzo salad
  • Pomegranate and wild rice salad

Top tip: keep food covered using a pop up gazebo to make sure it doesn’t spoil or get wet if the weather changes.

Vegan options

For those who don’t eat animal products, provide a variety of vegan options for them to choose from. If you are not vegan yourself, ask them what they like and cater to their needs by stocking plenty of vegetables and meat-free products. 

If you or your guests are not a fan of supermarket veggie burgers, try making your own using chickpeas, beans and other organic ingredients.

BBQ party drinks

Another essential at a BBQ party are the drinks. There should be a variety of alcoholic drinks and non-alcoholic options available to cater to all ages and preferences.. 

Alcoholic Drinks

Classic Margarita:

Ingredients: Tequila, lime juice, triple sec, salt for rim, ice.

Serve: Over ice or blended with ice for a frozen version. Garnish with a lime wedge.


Sangria:

Ingredients: Red wine, brandy, orange juice, sliced fruits (oranges, lemons, berries), soda water.

Serve: In a large pitcher with ice. Let the sangria sit for a few hours to allow the flavours to meld.


Michelada:


Ingredients: Beer, lime juice, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, Clamato, and spices. Serve over ice in a salt-rimmed glass.


Mojito:

Ingredients: White rum, fresh mint, lime juice, sugar, soda water, ice.

Serve: Muddle mint with sugar and lime juice, then add rum, ice, and top with soda water. Garnish with a mint sprig.


Non-Alcoholic Drinks

Fresh Lemonade:

Ingredients: Lemons, sugar, water, ice.

Serve: Over ice in a tall glass. Garnish with lemon slices and mint leaves.

Iced Tea:

Ingredients: Black tea, sugar or honey, lemon slices, mint, ice.

Serve: Brew tea and chill. Serve over ice with lemon and mint.

Fruit Punch:

Ingredients: Orange juice, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, ginger ale, sliced fruits (oranges, strawberries, pineapple).

Serve: In a large punch bowl with ice. Add fruits for garnish.

Watermelon Agua Fresca:

Ingredients: Watermelon, lime juice, water, sugar (optional), ice.

Serve: Blend watermelon with water and lime juice. Serve over ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Tips for Serving

Garnishes: Fresh herbs (mint, basil), citrus slices (lemon, lime, orange), berries, cucumber slices.

Presentation: Use clear pitchers and drink dispensers to show off colourful drinks. Add ice last to prevent dilution.

BBQ party games

A party wouldn’t be complete without some fun activities. Depending on the space you have in your garden, there are some great games you can provide for all ages such as outdoor games, creative games and interactive games. Get the most out of the space in your garden by preparing your garden for summer.

A simple outdoor classic for all ages is the bean bag toss where players take turns throwing bean bags at a small circle on the ground. The aim of the game is to get the bean bag in the circle – or as close to it as possible!

To keep children entertained consider creating a treasure hunt. Hide small prizes around your garden/property and give children clues on where to find them. 

You can also host a variety of interactive games such as a pub-style quiz. If you want to get creative, give your quiz a theme. 

If you’re still stuck for ideas check out some of our suggestions below:

Number of Guests     Party Game     Description
1-5CharadesPlayers act out words or phrases to other guests
Board GamesStrategic or fun board games
6-10Trivia QuizA great option if you want to get creative
Bean Bag TossA classic outdoor party game for all ages where players throw a bean bag into a circle
KaraokeHost a singing competition
11-20Team SportsHost a mini football league 
Piñata A fun game where blindfolded players try to break into a piñata

BBQ party themes

Make your BBQ garden party stand out by giving it a theme. There are many different themes to choose from but it’s also good to get creative. If there’s something you’re interested in whether it be a certain subject, a favourite book or even an in-joke among your attendees, theme the BBQ party around it.

If you’re stuck for ideas, popular BBQ garden party themes include:

  • Beach-themed
  • Country Western
  • A Hawaiian BBQ party
  • A fancy dress BBQ party featuring a prize for the best costume
  • 80s/90/00s

BBQ party music

Despite BBQ parties being social gatherings, having some music is essential to create a good atmosphere for your party. Try to stick to common songs that don’t include explicit language or themes – (we don’t want you falling out with your neighbours!) 

Additionally, your choice of music might depend on the theme. If you’re going for a Hawaiian theme, for example, beach music might be a better option than indie.

If you really want your barbecue party to stand out, why not consider live music. You can do this by either hiring a band or getting a few of your musically-talented guests to perform themselves. You can even incorporate an open-mic event where guests take to the stage and play their favourite songs. This will make for a memorable experience for everyone involved.

Ensure musical equipment such as instruments and speakers are kept sheltered under a garden gazebo! (which also doubles as a great performing area/stage)

BBQ party decorations

There are many decorations you can buy for a BBQ party, but some are more essential than others. It also depends on whether you’re giving your BBQ party a theme.

For example, a beach themed BBQ garden party might require picnic tables rather than normal garden chairs combined with bright colours.

Gazebo lights are also a great idea, especially for when it starts to get dark. There are lots of choices from string lights, to lanterns to fairy lights. Again, pay attention to the theme you are going for and use it to influence your choices.

What to bring to a BBQ party as a guest

Guests have a role to play too! If your guests are asking you what they should bring with them, consider some of the following:

  • Firstly, a selection of drinks – alcoholic or non-alcoholic – for other guests to consume and as a polite gesture to your hosts. 
  • Secondly, it’s a good idea to bring a few items of food whether they are salads, pasta dishes or even nibbles. However, make sure you know the dietary requirements of everybody attending and whether anyone is allergic to anything.
  • Why not stand out and bring your favourite game to the party? Why not create your own quiz or your very own board game? 

Summary

And there you have it, all the things you need to create your very own BBQ garden party this summer. Remember that planning a BBQ garden party takes time, but is incredibly fun. It is important to start by sorting out your guest arrangements, dietary requirements and alerting neighbours of your BBQ party. Then, go wild with planning your BBQ party, choosing the music and, most importantly, making the food.

Don’t forget to check out our range of garden gazebos if you want to make your BBQ garden party even more unforgettable.

BBQ garden party FAQs

What’s the best food to serve vegans at a BBQ?

The best BBQ options for vegans include meat-free burgers, dairy-free cheeses, grilled vegetables, tofu and beans . Grilled stuffed peppers are a great choice, as are plant based salads and barbecued tofu and aubergines. Make sure to use a separate grill to ensure meat is kept separate from vegan friendly food. Alternatively, cook the vegan food first, then add meat to the grill when the vegan food has been removed.

Are you allowed to have a BBQ in your garden?

Yes, having a BBQ in your garden is perfectly fine as long as you follow safety guidelines and keep an eye on smoke levels. Consistently producing lots of smoke can be a nuisance to neighbours and could land you in trouble with your local council.

Where is the best place to put a BBQ?

The best place to set up a BBQ is at least 10 feet away from your house or any structures, ensuring it is clear of any overhead obstacles like low-hanging branches or awnings, to prevent accidental fires and maintain safety.

Previous article The Complete Spring Gardening Checklist 2024