Long days, casual evenings, hearty laughter, and of course, sticky s’mores—there’s nothing that feels quite like Summer than a backyard get-together with food and friends!

While we don’t host as many as we would like (mostly because it’s just so hot in Florida!), we always had Summer picnics during our time in New York. Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, and handfuls of Saturdays in between were basically just an excuse to enjoy the warmer weather. Of course, there were freshly grilled hamburgers and cold potato salads to enjoy too!

As a guest, all you really have to do is relax and have fun, but as a hostess, there are hundreds of logistics that go into planning such a memorable backyard bash. Don’t worry—I’ve got you covered. From setup to cleanup, these tips will turn your next party into the best one ever.

Before the Party:

Plan a Simple Summer Menu. Think cold salads, meat on the grill, and bowls of yummy fruit. Prepare what you can ahead of time so you can enjoy the party as much as your guests!

Invest in Paper Products. Keep cleanup easy with pretty paper plates, cups, and plastic utensils. Use your Flipp app to check local store flyers and let the coupon feature show you which deals are best. You should also pick up any last minute ingredients too.

Clean Your Grill. Before guests arrive, make sure your grill is clean of debris and ready to work. Hose off grates and sprinkle with baking soda for a cheap, but effective treatment.

Create a Summer Playlist. Soft, peppy music gives your party a lively vibe rather than an awkward one. Any songs about Summer are game, but here’s a few of my favorites—Walking on Sunshine (Katrina and The Waves), Summertime (New Kids on the Block), Gold in the Summertime (Matt Nathanson), and Summer of ’69 (Bryan Adams).

During the Party:

Encourage Fun Activities. Mix up your backyard BBQ with fun games and activities. Corn hole, bocce ball, horseshoes, and a competitive game of volleyball keep guests entertained.

Restock Refreshments. Summertime brings 80-90 degree weather, so be prepared with refreshing beverages! Fill coolers with a variety of options and refill any tabletop drinks as needed. Replace ice around salads so they don’t spoil too.

Pass Out Evening Essentials. If your party goes after dark, you’ll want to keep guests as comfy as possible. Stock blankets in baskets and have bug spray available for everyone. Light a few candles and turn on string lights for a pretty evening glow.

After the Party:

Discard Spoiled Food. Generally, if refrigerated food has been sitting on the table longer than 2 hours, it should be thrown away. Don’t compromise safety for a few leftovers!

Send Other Food Home with Guests. Grab disposable takeout containers and fill with leftovers that are still okay to eat, then offer to guests for lunch the next day. Bonus: You avoid an overstuffed fridge.

Do a Quick Cleanup. Soak any dishes that need soaking, throw away any garbage you see, and if you enjoyed a fire, douse the area with water until fully soaked. The rest can wait till morning!

Whether your next gathering is big or small, these tips guarantee easy entertaining. You may even find you want to host more often!