5 Memorial Day Party Ideas For the Ultimate Backyard BBQMay 23, 2018
Memorial Day weekend is right around the corner! And while we are all looking forward to a long weekend and the unofficial beginning of summer, planning a fun, casual and respectful Memorial Day party can be stressful. In addition to the usual hunt for original backyard BBQ ideas, it can be difficult to come up with Memorial Day party ideas that honor the history and significance of the holiday and provide some much-needed relaxation and entertainment for friends and family. So we have put together a helpful checklist of tips and must-haves for hosting the ultimate Memorial Day party right in your own backyard!
Grill outside the box
Traditional backyard BBQ staples like burgers and hotdogs are never a bad idea when you are planning a Memorial Day menu—especially when you’re playing host to the pickiest eaters in town: kids! But why not shake things up for your more adventurous adult guests by throwing some unexpected items in with your standard Memorial Day menu ideas? For example, mix it up with some delicious grilled chicken recipes for guests who prefer white meat. Leave the chips and potato salad on your Memorial Day menu, but wow hungry friends with yummy—and healthy—veggie side dishes. Or make your vegetarian/vegan friends’ hearts sing with a veggie burger option.
Keep your friends close, and the alcohol closer
Real talk: It is bad enough that a parade of guests will be in and out of your house all day to use the bathroom; you do not want them traipsing through your kitchen every time they need a fresh drink, too. Keep two coolers or festive tubs filled with ice stocked and easily accessible to guests—one for beer and other alcoholic beverages and one for non-alcoholic options. If you would like partygoers to serve themselves, set up an outdoor bar cart, complete with mixers and maybe even some easy fruit options like quartered limes and orange slices. And if you are going for gold this Memorial Day, try out some signature Memorial Day drink recipes.
Go subtle with decorations
Memorial Day decorations can be tricky. While the Fourth of July is the definitive holiday for stars and stripes, Memorial Day is also a time to celebrate our country and show patriotism. Go for an understated look. Use rustic American decor mixed with color to remind partygoers of the holiday’s patriotic significance without breaking out the American flag tablecloth. Use disposable red, white, and blue dishes, napkins, balloons and streamers for a more casual or kid-friendly party or integrate the colors into a more sophisticated set-up using cloth table runners, napkins and candles. Use mason jars as glasses and bandanas as table settings or napkins for a festive country feel. Check out the table below. Nothing really screams “stars and stripes” except the small pinwheels, but even they are interspersed with the daisies. And yet the colors, the mason jar and the old fashioned checkered table cloth are quintessentially American.
If you’re crafty, Today has some pretty unique ideas for DIY Memorial Day decorations.
Entertain your guests
We’ve all lived through that awkward moment—or hour—at a backyard BBQ when the food is not quite ready yet, and everyone is there without much to do. Avoid that pitfall at your Memorial Day party by preparing some fun, easy games. And we’re not talking about Pictionary here. Have bubbles and sidewalk chalk—in red, white and blue, of course —for the kids, as well as backyard BBQ favorites like cornhole. You can build your own set if you’re so inclined, or order one online. You can even get creative and make an outdoor Twister board on your lawn with grass paint. And never underestimate the entertainment value of a pack of playing cards. Your guests will be having so much fun they will not even notice the burgers are not done and the corn on the cob isn’t even on the grill yet.
Honor the fallen
Backyard BBQ tips and Memorial Day party ideas aside, this holiday honors those who died while serving in our armed forces, and our celebrations should reflect that. If your home features an American flag, fly it at half mast until noon on Monday. Attend your local Memorial Day parade and encourage guests to join you before the party.
Pause your festivities to observe a national moment of remembrance at 3 p.m. on Monday. For a personal element, encourage guests to bring pictures of veterans in their families to display at a designated table, or start an informal conversation over the meal by inviting guests to share their loved ones’ names, ranks and stories. It might be a solemn moment in an otherwise fun-filled day, but what’s the point of a Memorial Day party if we do not take the time to remember our history and the people this holiday honors?
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