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If there is one thing that we value now more than ever before, it is spending quality time with our friends and family. Now that Ottawa s looking a bit more like the formal normal we once knew and loved with outdoor and indoor gatherings officially permitted,  many of us are looking forward to making up for lost time by indulging in activities like patio hopping, reacquainting ourselves with some of our favourite storefronts for offline shopping, enjoying cottage country and outdoor activities, and perhaps what may seem the most foreigh of all: hosting backyard gatherings with our favourite people. 


It has been far too long since we could pass along an invite for a Saturday night BBQ, but now that we have spent the last year and a half working on our homes and outdoor living areas, it’s time to show them off and make the most of our summer, before the nights get too chilly. The only problem left is, do we remember how to host a BBQ for more than just our housemates? Here are some tips to help you host the best BBQ event at your home this summer. 


Be The Grill Master

Whether you spent your lockdown creating the perfect outdoor cooking station, or elevated your backyard with a brand new grill, now is the time to show off your set-up and your skills. You may want to spend some time practicing with the settings of your grill to ensure you cook the meat perfectly on the day of your gathering. After all, you will want your guests raving about how delicious the meat was instead of talking about how their steaks were way beyond well-done. Also, ensure your grill is clean and set up your station ahead of time with your cooking utensils, grilling pans, condiments, and anything else you may need to make the grilling experience a positive one. 


Mouth Watering Menu

Whether you are preparing the entire menu or you are serving potluck style, stick to the classics when it comes to preparing food for a gathering. Over the last summer, the things people have missed the most are the things they once took for granted. This craving for old favourites gives the greenlight for steak, ribs, hamburgers and hotdogs as well as sides like potato salad, deviled eggs, corn on the cob, and your favourite salad greens side. Ensure you have a table with condiments, cutlery, napkins, and hand sanitizer readily available as your guests will be eager to dig in!


Stock The Beverage Cooler

Make available a variety of drinks for people of all ages and different tastes! Yes – this means a non-alcoholic selection. Stock up with your favourite sodas, water bottles, and juice, and make a  sweet summery sangria topped up with fruits, ice, and garnish for the adults. Your guests will be impressed by the variety of beverages you have available and enjoy their time feeling refreshed under the hot July sun. 


Create The Perfect Playlist

The music can sometimes make or break the vibe at your gathering, so choose your music wisely! If you haven’t made any personalized playlists in a while, many music streaming services like apple music or spotify have ready made playlists for all occasions under every genre that will be sure to keep your guests entertained and their moods elevated for the duration of your get together. 


Backyard Games

Your guests may be enjoying themselves fully with the highly anticipated socialization to even think about playing games, but keeping them available and set up just in case is a good idea. A few good outdoor party games include horseshoes, ring toss, and bocce ball. If you are looking for something to get the heart rate up, busting out your badminton rackets will be a great way to encourage some active competition. A few other mentionables include lifesize games of classic games like Connect4, Checkers, and Jenga. 

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