One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to host outdoor parties with friends and family. It’s the perfect weekend activity, eat delicious food, play fun games and catch up over some drinks. Although its always a good time it can be a lot of work and take some planning. So to make your life a little easier, I have a complete list to hosting your backyard party.
I included everything from the decorations to food, games, and even lighting. Don’t forget to download the free printable outdoor party checklist and I hope you find some epic backyard party ideas.
To get ideas on how to throw a backyard party, you need to take into account four different areas. The set-up and decorations for your party, figuring out if you have enough seating and tables, as well as how you want to style your party. Determining what type of food and drinks you will serve and preparing all your required supplies. Last but not least, setting up entertainment for your guests and ensuring that there is proper lighting should the event run into the night.
Backyard Party Decorations
When I think about an outdoor party the first thing that comes to mind is BBQ. It is kind of the perfect solution because you can cook outside with your guests, rather than being stuck inside for half of the party. So to start off our list of backyard party decorations why not set up a burger bar for your party? I am in love with this burger bar created by Fantabulosity. The metal rack combined with the wooden box and wicker basket give it a rustic look, perfect for the outdoors.
My favorite thing about her table set-up has to be this condiments and toppings basket. Its such a unique idea and actually a good space saver since you can fit everything into one basket.
I found an equally cute condiment set-up from Kara’s Party Ideas. Using mini metal buckets (that I know for a fact you can get from your local dollar store).
If you are looking for a more elegant BBQ set-up Celebrations At Home came up with this one. The wire rack that she used for the burgers and hot dogs, paired with the parchment paper is stunning! I think it makes the whole table. I also love how she used shot glasses for the condiments.
If you’re not down with the BBQ theme, how about Italian? Pizza anyone? Whats great about pizza is that you can order it and skip the cooking, unless you are lucky enough to have a pizza oven in your backyard. This gorgeous table set-up from The Defined Dish looks 100% Italian and 100% delicious!
Tacos are one of the most versatile dishes. They can be made a million different ways using all your favorite foods and are loved by everyone. That makes it a perfect dish to serve for your next backyard party. This taco bar by Giggle Living is so cute! I love the way they hung the chips from the clothespins, it doubles as a decoration and snack too!
Having an outdoor party, but don’t have enough seating? This idea from Miss Kyree Loves could easily be recreated. By using pallets you can create a temporary outdoor table, then throw down a blanket for the base and some pillows for seating and you have yourself a bohemian backyard party.
Backyard Party Food
You can’t have a backyard party without good food! I included everything from finger foods to make ahead dishes and the top budget friendly recipes to keep costs low. To start off this delicious list, we have some classic outdoor BBQ favorites with a twist.
I never imagined that you could make hot dogs in so many ways, but How Sweet Eats shows you how its done. She created eight different kinds including a Chicago dog, BLT dog even a Hawaiian dog.
Butter and burgers anyone? The Cookie Rookie came up with this mouthwatering recipe to take your burgers to the next level. She cooks the onions, burgers and drenches the buns in delicious, juicy butter. Not the healthiest of choices, but one that is sure to please.
Steak, the ultimate BBQ food. Even though steak can hold its own, a good marinade always brings it up a notch. This steak marinade recipe created by Gimme Some Grilling combines juicy steak with the savory flavor of garlic to create a finger-licking good dish that all your guests will love.
Finger foods are great for outdoor parties, especially if people are eating off their laps. And by skipping the utensils they also save on dishes, so its a win, win.
These fried mac and cheese bites from Mommy Musing make a tasty option for finger food and would be a hit with adults and kids alike.
If you like some spice, then you will fall in love with these bacon wrapped, cheese stuffed, jalapenos from Sally’s Baking Addiction. The perfect finger food and appetizer for your backyard party.
I love anything pineapple. Pineapple smoothies, pineapple chicken and yes pineapple on pizza (although I know some of you will disagree). So when I found this recipe for sausage and pineapple kabobs, I just had to include it. Joy In Every Season created this masterpiece combining sausage with pineapple with a sweet and savory sauce, ideal for snacking.
Deviled eggs. The classic picnic and party food. They work as a finger food, can easily be made a head of time and are one of the most budget friendly appetizers you can make. I would say they are near perfect, but also kind of boring. One Lovely Life recreated the classic deviled egg and made a little something for everyone with twelve different recipes.
For a healthy option, The Bossy Kitchen combined bell peppers with cheese to make these little beauties. Made for snacking and ideal for a make ahead app.
Make Ahead Dishes
Make ahead dishes are the best. They save you the headache of running around the day of and instead let you enjoy the company of your guests. Plus, there are so many different dishes that can be prepared from cold salads to barbecue pulled pork, you could prepare the entire menu ahead of time.
In addition to a few of the dishes listed above that can be pre-made, will start off the list with a classic pasta salad dish. Cheap, creamy and delicious pasta salad is popular for a reason, its so damn good. Try this recipe from Mama Loves Food where she makes the ultimate tuna pasta dish (if your not tuna fan, just substitute it with something else).
Adding to our salad list, you can’t have a party without a good potato salad either. Centless Deals created a loaded baked potato salad that is sure to please a crowd.
This BBQ meatballs recipe from savory nothings looks heavenly. I love slow cooker meatball recipes, their easy to make and tasty to eat. The best part is they only take 15 minutes to make!
On to my favorite dish of the entire list, BBQ pulled pork……yum. Oh, Sweet Basil has a recipe for slow cooker pulled pork so that everything can be made ahead of time and be cooked to pull apart perfection.
Budget Friendly Dishes
To create a budget friendly menu for your next cookout, I say stick to the basics. The classic BBQ menu options are actually some of the cheapest and work for large parties too. Below, you will find a list of the top ten budget dishes that you can include in your party day menu.
- Hot Dogs (Average $1.50 pack of 8)
- Hamburger (Average $15.00 pack of 12)
- Deviled Eggs (Average $4.50 pack of 36)
- Meatballs (Average $6.00 pack of 64)
- Pasta Salad (Average cost to make $5.00)
- Potato Salad (Average cost to make $5.00)
- Corn on the Cob (Average $0.99 each)
- Baked Potato (Average $0.32 each)
- Ice Cream (Average $2.50/ 48 oz)
- Cake (Average $10 – $15)
Backyard Party Games
What fun is a party without some entertainment? And what is more entertaining then to have some laughs at the expense of each other. Good party games can turn a boring party into one your guests will remember. With all the recent popularity around minute to win it games I included a YouTube video with some of the more popular ones. That way while you are figuring out what games you want to include you can have a laugh too!
Backyard Party Lighting
The final thing to take into consideration for your party is lighting. In the case that your party continues into the night, you will want to ensure that everyone can see. There are lots of DIYS that you can complete with string lights, candles and solar lights if you want to save on electricity.
String lights are a great option for a party. You can invest in some good ones and keep them up after to use permanently. Feathers And Strips hung her string lights on the fence. This is great idea because it lines your whole yard so everything is lit evenly.
The Honey Comb Home also used string lights, but in a completely different way. They made a DIY arbor of string lights by using plant pots and poles. The result is beautiful and it is a fairly easy project to complete. Be sure to check out their post for all the details.
To combat bugs and light your space at the same time, why not try out a tiki torches like the ones from Tiki Brand.
If you are looking for a cheaper option, candles always work. Take some mason jars or vases fill them with candles and you have some outdoor lighting! I like how Coffee And Blueprints lined their stairs with them.
If you are looking for a solar powered option, Warmly sells solar powered lights that hold a charge for up to 16 hours. They are a gorgeous option that can be used as a permanent solution to light your space. But if its not in your budget, remember that the dollar store sells solar powered lights too!
This last one is definitely not a budget buy, but I included it because I love them. A tabletop fireplace like this one from Wayfair is a gorgeous addition to any backyard and will provide your space with ample light. They can range in sizes and shapes, you can also get free standing ones.
I hope that you found everything you need to plan your outdoor party and if you didn’t check out our tropical themed party post here for more ideas.
To download the outdoor party ideas checklist click here.