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Filtering by Tag: #MARTHASTEWART


Gina Giordan



Memorial Day weekend 2019 is here!  It’s the unofficial start to the summer season.

This holiday weekend is the perfect time to host a backyard, deck or porch-side BBQ celebration in honor of our fellow veterans and active military members.  

If you are anything like us here at THE WANNA, we realize doing things last minute and on a budget is key.  No worries, we’ve got you covered!  

THE WANNA put together some solid resources to help you plan, including a handy checklist, so you can host the perfect BBQ soiree.  You just need to provide the working grill and we can help you plan the rest!  

Let’s do this! 

GUEST LIST:  Make a quick guest list.  Nothing fancy.  Text or create an official invite or send an electronic invitation with, Evite.  Just have a solid number of people who will attend and plan to eat!  Once you have a solid number of attendees, make sure to ask if anyone has any specific food allergies or special dietary needs, such as gluten free or vegan.  Then be sure to plan accordingly.  We agree shrimp on the barb sounds great but some folks are allergic to shellfish so providing a few options from fish, meat and non-meat food dishes. are a safe way to go.

FOOD MENU:  Based on how many guests attending and their dietary needs, start planning your menu and make a list of all the food/drink ingredients and non-food supplies you’ll need for the barbecue.   This is also a good time to think of a theme for your BBQ.  See “DECOR” for more on this topic.

DRINK MENU:  Create a signature drink.  This can be with or without alcohol.  A signature drink is a great way to create a memorable theme or just spice up the celebration.  Plus, buying and creating anything in bulk can save time and money.  Our favorite cocktail that you can put your own spin on is an, Aperol Spritz.  If your guests like prosecco and orange, this is a big hit!  American flag garnish is optional.



FOOD & SUPPLIES SHOPPING LIST:  Create a master food and supplies list.  This CHECK LIST from our friends over at STOCKYARDS STEAKS is a super handy checklist that you can print out and get the ball rollin’.  An all American basic BBQ menu typically includes hamburgers, hotdogs and chicken.  Side dishes include corn, grilled veggies and potato salad.  For dessert, fresh fruit salad, cupcakes, cookies or a sundae bar is a festive way to go.  You can put your own a spin on any BBQ by adding on fresh fish such as Lobster or shrimp, speciality frozen drinks or gourmet side dishes.   If possible, we suggest you purchase any nonperishable foods and supplies at least a few days in advance.  This is will help breakup the shopping load but, if you don’t have the time, one big shopping trip will get the job done!



OUTDOOR GEAR:  Whether your event is outdoors or inside, you need to think of seating.  It’s customary to provide comfortable and sun free seat options for guests to eat.  You may need to rent or buy extra folding tables or chairs.  Paper or we prefer reusable Melamine (heavy duty plastic) products are a simple way to provide all the necessary cups, plates, utensils, serving pieces for your guests.  PartyCity, Target, Walmart and Amazon are all good last minute options to buy any gear and table supplies.  Don’t forget to invest in a few outdoor receptacles for garbage or at least a box of heavy duty 20 gallon garbage bags

DECOR:  Whether you throw a BBQ with several weeks to plan or 24 hours before, “DECOR” doesn’t have to be a scary word.  Not every celebration has to have a theme but, it' sure makes the event festive and can help streamline every choice you make from the food to the cups, plates and utensils.  If you have the time, check out Martha Stewart and Town and Country’s take on the perfect Mem Day bash for some decor inspo. If you are short on time, no worries, mood lighting can create a festive impact on your guests with minimal effort.  Buy a few sets of flameless candles for the tables and hang some string lights over the eating areas to create instant ambiance!  For any summer celebration, you can’t go wrong with an American flag theme.  Even a few flags proudly on display will help create a more festive vibe.

FOOD AND DRINK STATIONS:  Serving up the food quick, hot and simple is key.  We suggest creating a food and drink self serve or buffet area for guests to serve themselves.  This is the best way to go.  We suggest creating food stations inside but, If your buffet stations are outside you will want to serve the food in covered containers or cover all food trays with the appropriate sized food screens to keep out the bugs.  Food screens are a great investment and everyone from Amazon to Target sells a version.  Heated food trays or burners are also a great option and can keep food warm without burning anything for hours at a time.  Kabobs are great way to serve guests fast and easy.  Helps create a great theme for your event as well.  The kabob sticks come in metal or bamboo are easy to buy in bulk and help streamline the grilling process.


  • Prep all your dishes and items to be grilled.  Marinate meats and veggies for grilling.  Be sure to display all your condiments for guests. Cut and prep fresh fruits and veggies and keep them in the fridge until guests arrive.

  • Finish decorating. Make the final adjustments to your décor and seating arrangements. Organize cups, plates, utensils, salads, side dishes, condiments, etc., on a buffet-style table. Make sure any food items are covered to protect them from heat and bugs!

  • Set up the drinks station. Fill your cooler with ice and stock it with plenty of drinks so they’re nice and cold by the time your guests arrive. Remember to frequently replenish the ice supply throughout the day.

  • Fire up the grill. Set up your grill and start cookin’! Keep an eye on the meats and ensure they’re being grilled at the proper grilling temperatures.

  • Enjoy! Spend the day having fun with your family and friends!


  • Put away the leftovers. Wrap up any leftover perishable food right away and store them in the fridge. (That includes meats, salad, cheeses and spreads.) If there’s enough to go around, give some leftovers to your guests to take home.

  • Clean up. Throw away the trash and clean and disinfect tables and chairs. Don’t forget to thoroughly clean your grill too.

  • Stock up for your next BBQ bash. Hang on to any unused utensils and save them for your next fabulous backyard barbecue.

Any tips on how you made a last minute BBQ a success? We would love to hear from you! Please do comment below and let us know!

Happy Summer!