While many take a “Field of Dreams” approach to throwing a cookout, there’s a little bit more to a successful outdoor gathering then, “if you grill it, they will come.” So how can you make your next cookout a success? Read on to learn three critical aspects to any great outdoor gathering.

Create an Atmosphere

When inviting people over to your place for grilled food and fun, it is essential to set an appropriate mood for the gathering. Consider who you will be inviting and what will be the purpose of the group. Is it a celebration such as a birthday, graduation, or family reunion? Are you trying to give friends or family the chance to unwind and relax after a difficult or trying situation has passed? Knowing what your guests like and what they need from the event will inform your decision-making process. Everything from music, whether to include yard games, or even the location of the cookout at a park, pool, or down by the river.

Special Sauce

Any good cook knows that a little something special in the sauce can add flavor and variety while pulling the whole meal together. Social gatherings can be extremely similar so opt to make something stand out about your party. Perhaps you want to make a signature dipping sauce to go with the appetizers; it could be a special cocktail that they can only get at your event, or even something unique about the music and venue. Whatever you choose, make it count and it is likely that your guests will be lining up to get in the door the next time you light up the grill.

Devil’s in the Details

Not good and handling details, find a friend or talk to your partner about handling them

When it comes to planning an event or even a small gathering, often little things can make the difference between an evening to remember, or a disaster people will never forget. As such, it is prudent to plan and utilize your knowledge of the atmosphere you are trying to create to add special little details to your gathering. If you are not good at handling details, find a friend who is or talk to your partner about handling them for you.