Party in Five: Nautical Backyard BBQ

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We here at Cooking Channel love a good party. But throwing a memorable event requires more than just gathering some food and drinks. We show you how, with just five main “ingredients” (including recipes, big-impact decorating ideas and easy DIY elements), you can throw a party that feels like it has a cohesive theme — minimal work required.

Typical backyard barbecues are often simple, undecorated affairs. But when you're going to the effort of planning a menu, a bar and maybe an array of games for your party guests, why not take the time to add some decorative touches that'll make it feel like a themed event? No imagery is quite as evocative of summertime as nautical elements like ropes, seashells, sand, and blue and white colors. So whether you're seaside, lounging by a lake or pool, at the park or in your own backyard, you can transform your party space into a beach-inspired retreat. The wistful touches and low-key hands-on menu will transport guests to an instant vacation.

To host this nautical backyard barbecue, you'll need five essential ingredients:

• a build-your-own burger bar
• classic blue-and-white pinwheels
• seashells (authentic or from a party store)

• paper cones for popcorn ( download the template here)

• watermelon wedges

Click here to see the full party and get tips for hosting your own nautical backyard barbecue.

Photo by: ©,

Spotlight On: The Menu

Keep things simple with food that guests can enjoy while lounging on a towel or with their feet dangling in the water. Homemade popcorn with rosemary-infused oil is a refreshing twist on the typical chips-and-dip appetizer, and guests can fill paper cones with the snack (and carry them around). The food buffet — the beach-themed centerpiece of the party — features a build-your-own-burger bar, which allows guests to customize their main dish as they please. (Offer vegetarian and beef patties to keep all eaters happy.) And for a simple dessert with a twist, serve classic watermelon wedges sprinkled with sea salt for extra zing. Stash retro soda bottles in a galvanized tin for easy drink service that enhances the laid-back boardwalk vibe.

Get tips for setting up the decorated beach buffet and more ideas for a nautical backyard barbecue.

(See more parties and events from the Party in Five series here.)

Camille Styles is the founder and editor of lifestyle blog, where she shares creative enterta ining ideas for parties and everyday life. She also owns Camille Styles Events, a design and planning firm that transforms ordinary events into extraordinary experiences.

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