It’s mid-May, flowers are blooming, the trees once again have leaves, and finally the grass is coming back to life again.

May is a time to celebrate. New England winter is over, spring is here! Memorial Day is to show gratitude and support for our troops who have served and protected us. I have many family, and friends in the military, and I always thank them for all they have given to our country, for all that we have. What better way to show your appreciation and thank them by inviting them to a backyard BBQ!!

Backyard BBQ Prep made easy


  1. Everyone always has hamburgers and hotdogs. Why not try grilling up something different… like sausage, brisket, or chicken.
    – Chicken can be parboiled the night before and marinated in the fridge over night. Then you just have to grill it long enough to heat up, and get grill marks on. Also this way it won’t be undercooked or dried out.

2. Buffet style makes things super easy with a larger crowd. Having tables ready for the food as it become available will make your life much easier. If you don’t have an extra table for that, a piece of plywood and a couple of sawhorses with a disposable “dollar store” table cloth can work in a pinch!

3. Potluck is also something to keep in mind for larger crowds. You supply the main dishes, beverages (I usually make a sangria, and have a few growlers of beer from a local brewery, as well as plenty of water, and other non-alcoholic drinks), and let your guests bring sides and desserts.
– It’s best to keep a list of who is bringing what so you don’t end up with too much of the same thing. Or just all desserts!

4. Seating, seating, seating! I find people never have enough seating. Now I know some people prefer to stand, but you should make sure you have enough seating for all. It doesn’t really matter what kind it is, patio furniture, folding chairs, camp chairs, garden benches, even your everyday kitchen table chairs brought out for the festivities . Sometimes people just need to sit!

5. Let’s talk decor. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but you should dress your party for the occasion. Memorial Day is to celebrate the nations finest, our military. Red, White, and Blue are highly appropriate. Flags, bunting, balloons, and table pieces. I love the dollar store for some of this stuff. Cheap, pretty, and disposable. Small flags are great for lining walkways, or in a glass on the table. Give them to kids to run around with and take home after the party.


6. Tableware is something you shouldn’t overthink. Paper plates, solo cups, and plastic utensils. They are colorful, not expensive, and you can write peoples names on them; especially the cups for reuse.
– I am big on recycling, so I always have marked bins for “Trash” “Paper” “Plastic/Glass” and “Redeemables”. I also compost, and bring scraps to the chickens, so I even have a food waste bin as well. (for those of you who are as earth conscious as I am)

7. Invites are something that is totally personal, as easy as a text, or a Facebook group, to an Evite, or even sending out actual cards. Just remember to keep track of who you invite, and who accepts your invitation. This will help you know how to prepare the amount of food and drinks you’ll need. Also never be shy about reaching out to your guests a few days in advance to (a) make sure they are coming & (b) double check what they are planning on bringing if potluck.

8. Entertainment is often something that is often over looked. I have a variety of yard games set up for people to play. Things like “Washers”, “Ladderball” “Cornhole aka Bag Toss” “Bocci” or if the yard is big enough I love having “Volleyball”. It’s always fun to set up some mini tournaments. Don’t forget to have something for the kids. Sidewalk chalk for the driveway (and street if its a quiet road), bubbles, pinwheels, jumprope, even little squirt guns and a tub of water for refilling.

9. Music is another big thing that is overlooked at times. Playing family appropriate style music, at a reasonable background level. You should be able to hear the music, and those around you talking. I usually choose something like “iHeartRadio” or “Pandora”. I have a favorites-for-all station I created on my “iHeartRadio” that I will play. It’s a mix of old and new, across many genres like country, rock, pop, swing, jazz, oldies, and alternative.

10. Paper towels and napkins! Lots of them, a roll of paper towels on every table and waterless soap/hand sanitizer. Enough said!

11. Have a backup plan incase of rain. Be ready for bad weather if the party needs to move inside, or if you have pop-up tents have them ready to go. Keep an eye on the weather report, if its going to rain have things ready to accommodate your guests the night before, or the morning of. On the other side of that, if it will be sunny and hot be prepared for that as well. Have tents/umbrellas for shade, I have a couple to box fans I will set up on the deck to keep the air moving across the yard. This keeps people happy, comfortable, and outside. I also suggest if you have A/C to have it on incase those with health problems, or heat intolerance need to retreat to cool off.

12. Bathroom facilities are very important. I have know some people who have very large parties and they get “port-a-potties”, I have never needed them. I just get my bathroom prepared for the event. I clean it top to bottom, have and extra container of hand soap on the counter, several rolls of toilet paper available, and extra hand towels on the counter. I’ll tidy it up through out the party, or ask one of my close friends/family to help me keep an eye on it.


Following this easy guide line should ensure you are prepared for a great time!

Feel free to print out the PDF file below to help you with get your shopping done!

Click this Link >Memorial Day Shopping List