The Best-Ever Backyard Party Planning Checklist

Follow this easy party planning checklist to make sure your next cookout goes off without a hitch!

Backyard cookouts are a staple for summer, filled with cool drinks, big laughs and easy-does-it food that just tastes better in the backyard. Leading up to your party, space out tasks and prep food ahead of time (hello, slow cooker) so you can take it easy on the day of!

Download Your Printable Checklist

Check Out Our Best BBQ Recipes
1 / 32

Get the Ball Rolling (3 Weeks Before)

  • Send invitations
  • Take inventory of your tables, chairs, plates, cups, napkins and utensils

Plan Things Out (2 Weeks Before)

 Tie Up Loose Ends (1 Week Before)

  • Borrow any additional tables or chairs that you’ll need – Just ask friends or family members if you can borrow their extras
  • Clean the house – To keep things extra-fresh, clean with vinegar
  • Follow up with guests who have not RSVP’d

Go to the Grocery Store & Clean the Yard (3 Days Before)

Prep, Prep, Prep! (1 Day Before)

  • Spot-clean the house – Here’s how to tidy up fast
  • Buy a bag of extra ice
  • Make as many mains, sides or desserts ahead of schedule as you can – This is key!
  • Cut up any fruit and / or vegetables
  • Put beverages in the refrigerator to chill

Set the Table (Morning Of)

  • Put serving dishes/platters on the buffet table
  • Set out plates, cups, napkins and utensils
  • Set up extra tables with tablecloths

Final Prep (2 Hours Before)

  • Prep any raw food you plan to grill
  • Begin reheating any pre-made hot foods
  • Stock coolers with ice and beverages

Get Ready to Eat (30 Minutes Before)

  • Set out food with corresponding labels on buffet table
  • Preheat the grill
  • Relax!

Tasty Potluck Recipes to Feed a Crowd
1 / 60

Lara Eucalano
Lara is a writer, editor and gardener who loves to cook almost as much as she loves to eat. She will absolutely hop on a plane in search of good food!