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A cook out is a great way to get friends and family together and spend some time in the outdoors. Gathering around food and games is an easy way to catch up with old friends and learn more about new ones. In the summer and fall months it seems like everyone is having a cook out. Why not add your family to the list of hosts this year?

Hosting a cook out or barbecue can sound like a daunting task. Immediately your mind starts sorting through all those things that will have to be done before hand. But we have compiled a nice list to get you through. Once you have read through it, you’ll find it sounds like a lot of fun to plan it. Just wait till the big day is here!

First thing is that you will want to compile a guest list. Is this friends only? Adults only? Family only? Would you like to combine it with another special event such as the summer solstice, the fourth of July, or a Birthday? Sometimes it’s fun to combine two events together. Other times, it’s more enjoyable to have a party just because. Be sure to write it down or type it up. You think that you remembered everyone, but often for no apparent reason somehow you leave a few people out.

Once you have made the guest list, check it over with any other hosts. Either your spouse or whomever. Make sure you know that all parties get along, etc. Then it’s time to hunt for invitations. American Stationery offers a variety of invitations that can be used for any event.

We also happen to have a couple styled for a summer party. The Patriotic Hat Invitations  would be a wonderful choice for your Fourth of July or Memorial Day party. These 5.75″ by 8.75 invitations come in an ideal size to fit all of your information. A set of 20 invitations is just $36.00 and comes with plain white envelopes. Matching mailing labels are available at an additional cost.

Your friends are sure to have a warm smile on their faces when opening one of our sunflower invitations. These gorgeous invitations also come in the standard 5.75″ by 8.75″ size

With white envelopes included and priced at 20 invitations for $36.00 your guests will have no idea that you didn’t spend at least twice that when admiring the artwork of this beautiful sunflower bouquet.  The invitation is set up so that you have plenty of room for you to leave details regarding the party. Matching seals, notes and address labels are all available for an additional price.

We also offer a margarita stripes invitation. For many people margaritas scream summertime. So what better way to invite your adult friends to a summertime event than by displaying a colorful adult beverage? Again these stylish invitations come in a set of 20 for $36.00 with plain white envelopes. However, their unique size is a slender 4″ by 9.25″ makes them stand out all the more. Your words are printed over top the design allowing for a layered look. Matching labels are also sold separately.

After your invitations are selected and mailed out it will be time to buy supplies. What type of food will you be serving? How will you be serving it? Most barbeques involve a selection of meats made on the grill and a selection of different sides and desserts. A common menu would be: Hamburgers and hotdogs with fresh sweet corn, potato salad, potato chips, watermelon and cookies. Be sure to incorporate some summertime favorite foods. If you are worried you are summer party number seven for many of your guests, try looking on the internet or in cookbooks for unique ways to serve traditional favorites. For most informal outdoor parties of this nature, buffet style is the best way to serve. Naturally you will want to purchase your food items ahead of time  but not to far ahead. Also, make sure you have a list that you are following. The last thing you want is to be running to the store at the last minute.

Then you’ll also want to make sure that you have plenty of tableware items. From plates, to cups and napkins you can never have too many.

Napkins are an important part of your tableware. Not only will you use plenty but, they add to the decoration. Typically you will  want about three napkins per person. One for a drink and two for a meal. Parties that will have a bar typically require more napkins.

American Stationery offers white personalized napkins at just $22.95 for 50, they are affordable for most any budget! Personalize them with your choice of ink color, design, typeface and up to two lines of wording. Don’t be surprised when your envious friends ask where you bought these stylish napkins.

We also offer a variety of different size plastic tumblers all priced separately. The sizes are 10, 12, and 16 ounces. They come in frosted or clear and are sold in sets 50 starting at $45.95 you can order some to match your napkins or keep them more simple by just placing a monogram on them. Just like the napkins, you may choose your colors, typeface, design and wording. The clear tumblers are reusable but, hand wash only. While the frosted are a bit more flexible and dishwasher safe. For quantity, it depends on how many drinks you will be serving. If you have a wide variety of beverages available say with a bar, you will want more cups. Chances are your guest is not going to simply rinse out their glass to get a second drink. So keep yourself well stocked with plenty of tumblers. If you order too many you can always use  them next year.

Don’t forget your entertainment. Maybe you love to play volleyball or croquet? Set up a game or for the competitive crowd, a tournament of sorts? Music is always a great way to get people relaxed and entertain them as well. Whether it is your mp3 player or a local band, music is something we all universally love. For parties with children, consider setting up a small play area or  renting a bounce house for the day.

Of course you don’t want to forget your decorations. Sure you can use your cups, napkins, and plates to tie your theme together but you’ll need a little something else. From table cloths to banners and balloons check out your local party supply stores. Dollar stores are also a terrific place to stop for all those small touches. Many of them even have a party section with various decoration items to choose from. You want your guests to feel festive when they arrive and put them in a party mood. There is no better way to get their heads in party mode than by greeting them with colorful decor.

Lastly, don’t forget to order a set of note cards (summer themed of course) to send out thank you notes to all those who helped you. From your brother in law that loaned the extra, extra large cooler to your neighbor who had the hook-up on fresh local sweet corn. A quick note is a great way to tell people you appreciate them and are thankful they came out to party with you.

Summer is all about letting loose and enjoying the outdoors. We all have childhood memories of carefree summer days. Let’s keep that memory going by ordering your personalized party necessities from American Stationery.

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