You don’t need the Fourth of July or Labor Day Weekend as an excuse to throw a super chic backyard barbecue. Such holidays may be the go-to times to invite the neighbors over and grill up a storm on the back patio, but any sunny evening graced with warm weather will do. All you need are a few choice items to transform a normal night of lounging into an occasion that will impress all your guests. We were going to walk through multiple wardrobe options to help you look properly put together and summery as the hostess of a big cookout, but upon further reflection, it seemed best to simply present a list of key ingredients that will make any barbecue a success. So here it is, Richard Magazine’s quick and easy guide to a killer summer BBQ.
They sound like a given, but you’d be surprised how many people use ceramic kitchenware to serve up an at-home barbecue. We get how dishes that clink feel more refined than paper plates, but just imagine the pile of work waiting for you in the sink once the festivities die down. Forego a little pride and settle for patterned paper plates. You’ll thank us later.
Since you’re going to save time using paper plates, think up other ways to make your barbecue feel sophisticated. One simple trick is to plop a classic vase of summer blossoms on your patio table. It may seem superfluous now, but once everyone is seated with casual plates and plastic silverware, a few floral arrangements will remind them just how great a hostess you really are.
Think something nice and simple, like a checkered bodice with bow-tied shoulders. It hints at the structure of a dress without roping you into watching how you sit in the grass. This is your chance to embrace the cowgirl Americana trend that’s been appearing on runways in New York and London. Keep your cleavage under control and you can’t go wrong.
You can go with khaki short shorts if that’s you really want to, but if you’re serious about the Americana motif denim cutoffs are the only option in this category. You can get away with any shade as long as the ends are frayed. Don’t stress about wearing something this casual as the hostess either. It’s rare you get to entertain in comfy clothes, so take what you can get.
Every well-planned barbecue has a good soundtrack playing in the background. These tunes can be anything you want from rap music to classic. Just make sure you keep the sound low enough for people to talk over. Obviously, if there’s going to be music, you need some kickass speakers to spread the sound around. Something minimalistic and wireless if your best bet.
They may be the most couture thing on this list. You won’t need shades once the sun has set, but if you’re hosting a barbecue dinner at 3pm or starting the meal before sunset, these trendy summer accessories will come in handy. You can dabble in designer fashion in this category. Sexy sunglasses are always a good choice when the summer sun is out.
This list isn’t the be all, end all of barbecue planning guides. You still need to plan your menu and some recreational activities to fail at once you’ve eaten your fill and had one too many beers. We just wanted to get you started on your journey to crafting the perfect summer BBQ. Take our advice and run with it. You’ve got this.
— Julie Grossman