How to Have the Best Memorial Day Ever (We Guarantee It)

2383830895_2d155b646f_oImage via Flickr

Memorial Day is this weekend, and to say we’re excited would be the understatement of the century. Considered the unofficial kick-off to summer, Memorial Day offers the perfect excuse to throw a party. To help you get geared up for the Best Day Ever, we’ve gathered our top tips for hosting a memorable summer bash. Check ’em out below, and let us know your party tips in the comments!

Make a Killer Playlist
Once you’ve set a time (we recommend early afternoon) and sent out your invites (this is what Facebook was made for, friends), it’s time to start compiling a killer playlist to keep the mood flowing throughout your Memorial Day festivities. Not sure where to start? Try polling your guests and ask them to upload a favorite summer jam to your event page. Once you’ve gathered everyone’s favorite tunes, use a service like Rdio to compile everything into playlist form. Still in need of some songs? Check out our Memorial Day playlist, sure to have something for everyone (since, you know, it’s collaborative). Have a record player and some vinyl-loving friends? Ask everyone bring a favorite LP and designate someone to switch out the tunes throughout the day.

Plan Plenty of Snacks
If there’s one thing we love more than fashion, it’s snacks. And there’s nothing worse than hosting a party and running out of food. If you’re hosting a casual backyard barbecue, it’s totally OK to ask your guests to bring a dish or something to drink, but don’t rely on their offerings to fuel the crowd. Pick up family-size packs of hot-dogs and hamburgers (and their veggie counterparts if you or your friends prefer), ice pops, bags of chips, and plenty of drinks (hit up a big-box store for large packs of water and soda, and a distributor for alcoholic beverages if you plan to serve). Then, whip up an easy summer salad or two (we’re fans of this blueberry and jicama dish) and some tasty sides (like these homemade chips and guac). For more food and drink ideas check out our archives.

Remember Your Flatware
So, you have plenty of food and gallons of drinks, have you given any thought to how you’ll serve it? While we like to be as eco-friendly as possible, choosing to use disposable flatware, cups, and plates will make cleanup a breeze and cut down on the amount of dishes you’ll have to do at the end of the night. Pick up packs made from recycled materials — check for biodegradable and recyclable options, available at most stores — or, if you’re feeling up for doing the dishes, set out your everyday forks, knives, and spoons, arranging them in jars for easy access, and pick up some reusable plates. Decorate your outdoor space with reusable tablecloths and cloth napkins (check your local thrift store for affordable options), and pick up a few potted plants at a home supply store to add some color. Bonus: when the party is over, you’ve got some gorgeous flowers to display on your windowsill or steps!

Images via Life

Get Your Game On
Keep things interesting by having a few fun yard games on hand. We’re fans of classic Frisbee for its low level of effort, but if you’re planning a few days in advance, why not whip up a giant game of Jenga or build a bean bag toss? Having a few activities available to your guests will help get everyone acquainted and make conversation flow freely. Looking for more? Check out this tutorial for building backyard games.

Expect the Unexpected
The weather can vary greatly from region to region at the end of May. While it may be 80 degrees in Pennsylvania, New England is just warming up (and getting buggy), and the south feels like summer already. Be sure to pay close attention to the weather conditions as you approach the day of your party, and make adjustments as needed. Be sure to have plenty of sunscreen, bug spray, citronella candles, and a few extra pairs of inexpensive sunglasses on hand (and maybe an umbrella or two, too).

What are your tips for a memorable Memorial Day shindig? We want to know!

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