list of tips to have an easy, breezy 4th of July BBQ

* This post is written by guest blogger, Cassandra Gershaw.

We’ve officially hit summertime (aka BBQ prime time) and if you’re planning to be the Hostess with the Mostest this 4th of July (one week from today), you’ll need a list for that! No one wants to be a ball of stress the day of their party and with a little planning and prepping, you’ll never feel frantic again.

list of tips to have an easy, breezy 4th of july bbq |

The Week Before
  • Prioritize. Would it be very adorable if you had a special drink/appetizer/dinner item/dessert representative of each state? Yes. Will your guests notice if you don’t? Nope. But they will notice if they don’t have a bun with their burger.
  • Enlist help. Many soon-to-be guests will offer – to help set up, bring a side, or clean up. Take them up on it!
  • Clean the house. Top to bottom. Yes, the week before. This may seem like it’s a bit ahead of schedule but if you do a big clean ahead of time, the day before your BBQ you’ll only need to wipe down your kitchen, the surfaces guests will see, and the bathrooms guests will use.
  • Scope out where you’re hosting your party. If it’s your backyard, make sure you have enough seating and schedule when you will mow the grass, set up tents, etc. Also make sure you have a contingency plan in case of rain.
  • Nail down your numbers. Make calls if you haven’t heard back from people you have invited.
  • Plan your menu. Consider how many people you expect and what food you’d like to serve. Make lists of what you have, what you need, and any other necessary items (i.e. cups, plates, plenty of napkins, etc.).
A Few Days Before
  • Do your shopping. Unless there’s an item you need to buy fresh the day of the BBQ, picking things up ahead of time will save you stress.
  • Plan your serving dishes. You have a menu – match it up to any cooking/serving dishes you will want to use. Missing something? Borrow or buy it now.
  • Decide what you’re wearing. You don’t want to be figuring this out as your guests ring the doorbell. Keep in mind you want to be relaxed and comfy.
The Day Before
  • Set up. As much as possible. Lay out your serving dishes, set up tables and chairs, and put up any decorations your heart desires.
  • Wipe down remaining surfaces. Bet you’re happy now you cleaned last week.
  • Cook. Make your pasta salads, shuck your corn on the cob, make your dips, and marinate your chicken or steak (if you’re having chicken or steak). Bake your desserts but leave the icing for the day of the party so it’s fresh.
Two Hours Before
  • Cook. Yes, again. Cut up your veggies, put chips in their bowls, set up drinks in coolers with ice.
An Hour Before
  • Glam up. Shower and get ready before your fabulous guests arrive.
Party Time
  • Party! Put out appetizers and greet your guests. Make yourself a cool drink and relax.
  • Have fun. You’ve worked your behind off to have a great party. Enjoy it!

What else do you do to save yourself time and stress when you plan your marvelous parties?

Cassandra Gershaw, MS, is a Certified Social Worker, an organizer since childhood, and the Queen of Chaos Control at Chaos Coordinators, where she helps clients deal with chaos in their lives, homes, and families.  Based in Northern New Jersey, Chaos Coordinators serves clients in the tri-state area but long-distance services are also available.  For more information, visit her website at or Like her on Facebook at has lots of lists and planning pages to help you concoct a terrific barbeque for your family and friends. You’ll find party planning pages, grocery lists, cleaning lists, and even a timeline to plot your preparation and party, all in Holidays & Occasions or in Meal Planning.

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