A summer barbecue is one of life's simple pleasures; it is one of the most relaxed functions you can attend. It provides a great excuse to get family and friends together. In addition to showcasing your fresh, seasonal food, it allows us to enjoy the great outdoors, soak up the sun and try out all of our new summer drink recipes. And there is something about barbecuing that makes
everything taste better.
If barbeque etiquette sounds like an oxymoron, it isn’t. There are indeed rules for properly conducting yourself as a host and as a guest. Just because these festive events are generally held outdoors and are casual in nature does not mean anything goes. There are rules to observe when you are the host;
- Invitations. An afternoon barbecue is not as formal as a wedding or sit-down dinner. When crafting your guest list and invitation, write it to reflect that it is a casual event. Include the usual invitation details such as where and when the gathering will be held. At the end of the invitation ask for an RSVP by email or phone so you can get a count of people attending.
- Be prepared. Once you have an idea of how many are coming you need to plan for the BBQ. Make sure that your grill is clean and functioning and that you have clean and adequate seating, plates and utensils for all that you have invited.
- Provide all the food and beverage. Unless you are hosting a family reunion or the traditional
neighborhood party, don’t ask people to bring food. If people insist on bringing food, you’ll want to coordinate so that you don’t wind up with too much of the same thing.
- Sun and bugs. Be sure to provide protection from both. People don’t need to be worrying about
protecting themselves from either. Make sure that you have ample shade provided and that you have citronella candles. I don’t think we have to worry too much about bad weather in the Inland Valley just that it may get too HOT. If you see people are wilting, have a plan to cool them off. Bring them indoors, offer a splash in a pool, and provide fans or cool drinks.I like to purchase bug spray and sunscreens and place them in a fun summer basket with a container of pre-moistened wipes for their hands and let my guests know that it is available if needed.
- Socialize. Make sure that you speak with everyone at your BBQ. Be sure to thank them for coming and ask a
specific question or two about them. Also be sure to let them know how much you appreciate that they are
there. The quickest way to end a party is to begin cleaning up while the guests are there. Most guests will see that you are cleaning and take that as a sign that the BBQ is over and that it is time to leave. So if you do not want your guests to leave do not begin cleaning until after they have all departed.
- Clean up. Have covered receptacles (keep away the bugs) placed around for people to throw out their used plates and cups. Do not start tiding up unless you want your guests to leave. See above.