The Northeast is known for its beautiful fall colors and what better way to celebrate than to plan one more backyard BBQ before the chill of winter is upon us? Gathering family and friends for great food and drink may seem easy, but why not make it an event to remember by following these five tips from Cabaret Tent and Party Rental for planning the perfect New York City backyard BBQ.

Tip 1: Secure Shelter

While you always hope for perfect weather, counting on it can be pretty risky. Whether you’re cooking for 10 or 100 of your closest friends, you don’t want your event to be ruined by inclement weather. Check into renting a tent or canopy for your party. This will provide shelter from rain, wind or sun and they come in a number of different sizes and styles. High top tents can even add elegance to your outdoor event or support a creative theme. If you’re expecting a big crowd, make sure they have a safe place to sit and eat by renting plenty of tables and chairs.

Tip 2: Choose A Theme

One of the easiest ways to spice up your NYC backyard BBQ is to choose a theme and decorate accordingly. Perhaps you want to plan a Hawaiian luau with hula table skirts, floral linens, and pineapple fruit displays. Or, maybe you’re more the old style country type with gingham tablecloths, burlap and bales of hay. You can even choose a clambake, surf and turf or just a favorite color scheme. Regardless of your choice, it gives you a starting point for the rest of your event. Send invitations by email or create a social media event using your theme colors and designs. Plan your food, drinks, and even games around the theme of your choice. And throwing up some white twinkle lights can be a great addition to any theme! You can use the RSVPs to find out the number of people, if any children will be attending and if any of your guests might have allergies or dietary restrictions.

Tip 3: Go With Popular Food

The chances that you know what types of food every guest is going to like are not favorable, so plan your menu with the most popular entrees and side dishes possible and give your guests a variety of choices. Use your theme to plan your food to provide a unified feel to your event. If you are a grill master, choose burgers and dogs, brats, or sausages. A variety of topping and bread choices can give your guests numerous different tasty directions – whether they choose cheddar cheese BBQ sauce and bacon for a western flair; or pepper jack cheese, avocado, and salsa for a more southwestern taste. Or go for smoked meats like ribs, pulled pork and brisket. Don’t forget about great side dishes – whether it’s grilled corn, watermelon, southern baked beans, or in-season vegetable or fruit salads. Your vegetarian friends will appreciate having several healthy choices of sides to replace that burger!

Tip 4: Drinks Can Be Fun

Sure, you may want to throw some water bottles and cans of soda in a tub of ice and call it good. But you can also add a few specialty alcoholic or non-alcoholic cocktails that support your theme and show you took some time and care to plan a memorable NYC event. If you’re going with the luau theme, consider a sweet and refreshing pina colada recipe. Add a cocktail umbrella and garnish with pineapple and a cherry and you have a beautiful addition to your party decor. Or, create your own signature “cowboy punch” cocktail with your favorite ingredients and garnishes.

Tip 5: Include No-Talent-Needed Games And Entertainment

Both adults and kids will appreciate having something to keep them busy and help them unwind. Use your theme to plan games that don’t require a lot of talent, to keep the stress levels low. Set up cornhole, yard darts, croquette and board games to give many options. Even decks of cards can provide some social entertainment for your guests. And don’t forget music. Create a playlist to go with your theme and the mood you want to set the night before. Then grab your bluetooth speaker to set up your outside entertainment. You can also rent flooring if you want to add dancing to your activities, or if you’re worried that your grass might be too muddy or wet or get trampled by your guests.

Need A Party Planner?

If you have no time or expertise to plan a big backyard BBQ, don’t worry, help is only a phone call away! Cabaret Tent and Party Rental has been planning parties in and around NYC for 35 years! Call us at (718) 356-8500 or (212) 534-TENT and we’ll put you in contact with our expert party planners who can help you plan every facet of your big BBQ. Make it comfortable. Make it creative. Make it a Cabaret Tent and Party Rental party.