For appetizers, try Lobster Bites and Olive and Sun-Dried Tomato Tapenade. For your main dish, a pairing of Tropical Coleslaw and Can ‘Em Chicken will be a crowd-pleaser. For dessert, these Espresso-Chocolate-Walnut Brownies can be made ahead of time and taste delicious. And everyone needs a fun cocktail, so how about Flaming Lips Party Punch?

A buffet is the easiest way to serve food at a barbecue, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. You can dress up the buffet table and the guests’ tables many different ways. If you want to go for a classy barbecue then forgo the paper plates and bring out your best dishes. Find some luxe fabric at a crafts store and use it to make a pretty table cloth. Cloth napkins, candles and flower vases will also add a classy touch.

For hosting a more traditional barbecue, paper plates will do—and you can always have fun with the colors of your plates and napkins. Red and white checkered table cloths are classic, but you could try switching up the colors of your checks or going for a different red and white pattern to make it more modern.

When hosting a barbeque set up all the decorations and food beforehand that you can. Remember to bring things like tape and heavy objects to hold down your creations in case it’s windy. During the party you, or a designated grill-person, will need to be in charge of the actual barbecue. Have the non-grilled foods already out when people arrive and start grilling before everyone gets there because, odds are, they will arrive hungry. Try and have a few friends you can rely on to watch the barbeque so you can still mingle and introduce people, but don’t leave anyone stranded by the grill, that’s no fun for them!