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Culture: Tips for Throwing a Stress-Free Labor Day BBQ

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As summer winds down, you may be looking for the next big holiday—and that’s Labor Day!

Some look at it as a day to officially celebrate the end of the warm season, the last hoorah before fall begins. On this long weekend off, you can relax and enjoy the company of friends and family by throwing a Labor Day BBQ.

Check out the following tips that’ll make it a stress-free ordeal, just as the day was intended.

1. Plan Ahead: It never hurts to plan ahead when it comes to throwing a party. There’s a lot of different details that are involved, including who to invite, what to make, who’s bringing what and how you’ll execute it all.

Start by sending out the invite. You can do it with evites—sending a Google Calendar invite that can be directly placed on everyone’s personal Google calendar is especially useful. Or you can opt to send a group text message giving a save-the-date notice a few weeks prior. Then as the BBQ approaches, try individually texting people to coordinate who will be attending for sure and compiling a list of what they’ll bring to the table.

That way you have an idea of what you will have to eat and drink and what still needs to be made for the party.

Also make sure to grocery shop ahead of time and not last minute. That way you have all your ingredients ready, and should you forget anything leading up to the big party, you can simply go to the store with a little less pressure and stress on your mind.

2. Make it Simple: Simplicity is one of the best aspects of barbequing. You don’t need a lot of ingredients or dishes.

First decide on a menu that’s easy yet tasty. Choose what you want to grill as your main meats and figure out how you’ll season it. Then figure out what kind of veggies or side dishes would complement the main course. Additionally, if you take reigns on the meat, you can usually assume that your guests will likely be willing to bring the sides or dessert.

3. Prep to Grill: The last thing you want to happen is for your grill to run out of propane or charcoal during your Labor Day BBQ.

This can easily be avoided by thinking ahead and heading to the store to pick up the necessary materials. Also make sure you have the proper serving dishes and cooking utensils like barbeque tongs and spatulas along with a meat thermometer. Also decide if you want to use regular plates and cups or if you’ll opt for disposable.

If your guest list is extensive, you may want to consider the paper plates, Solo cups and big garbage bags for easy clean up.

4. Get Ready to Entertain: Every good Labor Day BBQ needs some good music to pair with it. Start compiling your music playlist a few days before the party. You can use apps like Spotify to make your own, catering to your tastes along with the guests.

Alternatively, you could use a premade, Labor Day-themed playlist—usually one of the music listening platform’s strong suits. Don’t forget to get some portable speakers if you don’t already have some. Since your guests will be outside and all about the house, JBL speakers are a good fit because they pair with smart phone device apps (like Spotify) using Bluetooth.

Also try brainstorming some games, just so you have them in your back pocket should people be looking for something to do. Maybe some obstacle course races and Limbo for a family friendly BBQ, or getting everyone involved in a game of Flip Cup with those Solo cups for an adult gathering.

5. Create a Labor Day Cocktail: As you say goodbye to the summer sun, go out with a bang by whipping up a summery cocktail for your guests.

A fruity sangria pairs well with BBQ fare. You can make a white peachy sangria that’s refreshing, sweet and perfect for sipping. The day before the party, combine four bottles of Moscato wine, four cans of Sprite, a cup of brandy, a cup of peach schnapps and fresh sliced fruit, like peaches, strawberries, mangos, pineapples and raspberries.

Let it chill overnight and serve with ice to guests upon arrival the next day.

Hosting a stress-free Labor Day BBQ can be easy once you have all the pieces of the puzzle in place. From planning ahead to prepping cocktails, you can avoid unnecessary last-minute hiccups and fully enjoy what might be the last BBQ of the summer time.

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