Grilling for Social Events

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Are You Having a Party?

Even if you are a beginner at grilling and you want have a party, that is not a problem. Here are a few tips you might want to review.

Are you having a party? What kind? Where at? When will it be? Is it a Themed Party? Family or Friends? Formal or informal?

These are all questions that you have to ask yourself when you get ready to have a party. You will need to know the number of guests. This includes family gatherings. If you are only doing the grilling you should add just a little extra in case there are some unexpected guests and whether someone will want more than was originally portioned for them.

If a themed event you will want to decorate accordingly. For example, it the event is to be western, you may want to get some replicas of a cow skull with some succulents(cactus) around the skull. You might also want to have a metal wash tub filled with bottle drinks.

The table should have a gingham table cloth and the silverware, if not plastic, should have a kerchief with a wooden ring around it to hold the kerchief in place.

You will have to make sure that there is sufficient seating for everyone. If there are children at the occasion then be sure to have some games for them to play. Some of the games that I have found to be popular with children and adults alike at this type of party are horseshoes, washers, badminton and other games similar to these.

The Family Gathering

So you are having a Family Gathering, you have never hosted one before and you have been asked to grill for 50 people. You are new to grilling and have never grilled for so many people and have no idea how to get everything set up for such an occasion.

Just relax and start asking yourself a few basic questions. Am I expected to prepare everything? What type of help will I get? What type of food for so many? Where can we have such an event?

This should not be a problem as family members always want to give advice. Most likely, the family gathering will be held at the person’s house that has the most outside space. If not, you could rent a pavilion in a park. You would be assured of the extra space that way.

You can grill your meat ahead of time if it is a large piece or two of meat. You would want to reheat it just before the event started. Since this is a family event have other family members supply the sides. You may want to have someone bring watermelon that is chilled for desert .

Have games set up for the children. This will do a couple of things for you. 1) it will keep them active and out from underfoot as everything is being set up. 2) it will help them to develop long-term relationships with relatives they do not always have the benefit of seeing on a regular basis.

The Garden Party

Some say that a Garden Party is the wrong place to grill, it all depends upon what the occasion is and what the menu is. With a garden party, there is much more planning than there is for a family gathering.

You need someone who is very detailed oriented to plan your event. You will also want to RSVP to have an accurate count for the number of guests.

A garden party on average has around 200 guests and can be either semi formal or formal. Today, we will look at the semi formal.

When you plan your garden party make sure that the venue will have enough space to handle as many as 200 guests at one time.

You will need to have your decorations for the party ordered at least one month in advance. This should ensure that if there is a problem with the decorations others can be ordered to replace the original decorations.

Look at the grounds where the garden party is to be held and envision the decorations needed to go with the theme the host(ess) has expressed to you for the event.

Some of the decorations that I have seen are side tables set off to one side with enough seating for five to six people to sit at together. Others have had three to four round tables with umbrellas put closely together for privacy.

Another option is to have long tables set up for dining with either a table runner or with tiles to take the place of trivets.

You may want to set up a side bar since some garden parties do not serve alcohol. Even if alcohol is not served you will want your guest to be able to find a refreshing drink at any time.

If the party is to be held in the late afternoon, you will want to have several canopies or pavilions available to give the guests plenty of shade not only to cool off but to sit and relax with others for a quiet conversation.

Should your event be in the evening, you will want the footpath to be lighted in order to see the pathway. You could use solar powered lights that can be bought from most hardware stores for a small price. You can also use chinese lanterns or string lights.

Some of the more common meats for a garden party are smoked ham thinly sliced, brisket thinly sliced or thinly sliced turkey breast. You chef can be preparing these on the grill three to four hours before the guests arrive.

One of my favorite drinks is freshly made lemonade with lemon zest and raspberries.

The Formal Affair

When grilling for a formal occasion, you will need to RSVP to have an accurate count for the event. You will want to hire a caterer and a decorator. The caterer and decorator will need to discuss how the event is to be decorated in order to have a safe event. If there is a special theme, both teams will have to be on the same page.

This is to ensure that there is a smooth professional look to the occasion. Some events have an open bar, some do not.

There will most certainly be a head table for dignitaries and other honored guests. Some of which will be the guest speaker, the guest of honor and several other speakers as well. The seating closest to the head table most often reserved for the guests who had participated in the overall planning or sponsoring of the formal affair.

A formal affair is normally what is called a black tie affair. This is where the men most often wear a tuxedo and the women wear formal gowns. It is considered a gala event. Not all formal affairs are black tie.

It depends upon the region as to what food is cooked. I have seen brisket and I have seen steaks. These are best done on the grill.

Steaks can be done easily but a brisket needs to be finished cooking two to three hours ahead of time. This is to allow the brisket the opportunity to rest before slicing.


There is one thing that is common to these three types of grill for social events. PLANNING! You have to plan every aspect of the event. Double check your plan with someone else and ask questions about everything. The more questions you ask the greater your understanding will be.

This will lead to a well planned and successful event. A day or two after the event is over contact the organizer of the event for feedback. This will give you ideas on what you did well and what you need to improve upon.

Please leave comments below. This will help me to bring you information that is relevant to your situation.


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