Throwing a party is all about organization… and delegation; especially if you’re not at home all weekend, and will be arriving home only 30 minutes before your guests arrive!

Bill and I have a summer kick-off barbecue every Memorial Day weekend and invite about 60 families.  It started off about ten years ago with four other families and has grown a little bigger each year!

Back in April when I finally got into a Road Runners Club of America Coaching Certification Course which just happened to be on Memorial Day weekend, I was torn as to whether or not to take it… for about two seconds.  I quickly signed up for the course before it filled up, and decided I’d worry about our annual barbecue later!



That night after I got confirmation that I was in the class, I gave my family three options:

  1. Cancel the barbecue (we hadn’t sent out invitations yet)
  2. Reschedule for July 4th
  3. Hold it anyway, but Bill, Joseph, and Daniel would have to do most of the work

We voted unanimously for the latter!


Here’s what we did during the week to make it happen…

  • Thursday:
  • Deb – Clean basement
  • Deb – Shop at Costco



  • Friday:
  • Deb – Shop at grocery store for items not available at Costco
  • Deb – Make baked beans and hotdog chili
  • Deb – Set up tables in basement
  • Deb – Get out plates, flatware, glasses, etc.
  • Bill – Set up outdoor bar, coolers, etc.
  • Bill and Deb – Decorate deck



  • Saturday:
  • Bill – Power wash deck
  • Bill – Plan playlist and make CD’s
  • Happy Trails – Cut the grass
  • Bill and Deb – Attend community Memorial Day event and fireworks display




  • Sunday:
  • Bill – Final set-up
  • Joseph and Daniel – Pick up ice and last-minute items from grocery store
  • Joseph and Daniel – Put drinks and ice in coolers
  • Joseph and Daniel – Set up games in back yard
  • Tammy – Help set up, serve, and clean up
  • Friends – Bring appetizers, side-dishes, and desserts
  • Bill – Grill
  • Everyone – Have a great time!



  • Of course, no matter how perfectly you plan each detail, things can go differently than planned:
  • You might forget and leave your RRCA Coaching Manual at class, and spend 30 minutes when you get home trying to contact someone to make sure it’s available to be picked up on Tuesday
  • Your helper might forget about the party, and show up over an hour late, leaving you in the kitchen doing last-minute food prep as your guests are arriving
  • One of your guests might fall through one of your chairs…



Even with minimal things going wrong, we had a great time, and that can be attributed to our wonderful family, friends, and neighbors who attended our barbecue!


  • Questions:
  • How was your weekend?
  • Have you ever had everything planned to the tiniest detail, yet things didn’t go quite as planned?
  • Did you attend any Memorial Day parades or community events honoring our Nation’s heroes?