Backyard BBQ Inspiration {Part 1} – Tabletop & Buffet + FREE Printables

backyard bbq ideas and inspiration with free printables
I’m thrilled to share my backyard bbq bash today, PLUS we have the printables designed by Paper & Pigtails, for FREE!
There’s so much to share that I’m breaking this design into 2 posts.  The dessert table and welcome table can bee seen here, but first up is the tabletop and buffet display.  I wanted to create a party that would inspire you all summer long, including 4th of July ideas, so naturally I went with red, white, & blue.  I love vintage details and this was the perfect occasion to pull out some of the many props I’ve collected, turning this into classic picnic meets vintage Americana.
back yard bbq

Get the Look:

  • The seated table is set rather simply, but the layering makes it more interesting to look at.  Three wooden planter boxes turned upside down act as a great base for recycled cans-turned-vases. 
  • A quick tie of coordinating fabric and you instantly dress up the cans for any occasion.  
  • Napkin pockets were made by folding a piece of fabric in half and hot gluing the 2 sides together.  I always use hot glue for fabric projects because it’s just so much easier & quicker than setting up my sewing machine.
  • I found a couple of fun accessories at Cracker Barrel Restaurant and knew I had to find a way to incorporate them.  The wooden triangle & peg puzzle definitely takes me back to my own childhood, and the ‘faucet’ dish is just so unique, I fell in love.  It’s actually a soap dish but I put retro-style bubble gum in it and it looks great!
baked beans and condiments for a cookout
  • Some ideas I incorporated into the food buffet are easy to do but add that extra pizzazz!  I wanted to serve a classic menu but instead of doing full size burgers I like the idea of grilling up small sliders.  I don’t know about you, but I usually fill up my plate with side dishes and a full size burger is just too much!  Plus you could have different burger recipes {like my Asian style burger} available for those who want more than 1 slider, or use my favorite “juicy burger” recipe.
  • Baked beans are divided among small canning jars I found at Walmart.  They are a perfect serving size, holding a little more than 1/4 cup each, and guests can just grab and go – no messy drips from bowl to plate.
  • I also transferred condiments into pretty containers.  I love doing this and if there’s one thing you can do to elevate the design of a party, it’s serving your condiments in a lovely container.
  • Last, but not least, using canning jars for drinks is a classic and inexpensive idea.  Tie a tag on each jar so your guests can write their name on it and keep up with their own.

Don’t forget to see the coordinating dessert table and welcome table, which features a “build your own shortcakes” table!

Now for a special treat for you all.  Kori of Paper & Pigtails has generously provided this printable set for FREE download here, so you can create your own backyard bash!!  This is exclusive to Celebrations At Home and includes:
  • Circle “Thank You” tags (not shown)
  • Circles with bbq-themed sayings (on top of bean jars)
  • Editable tent cards (food labels)
  • Write-in diamond tags (name tags on jars)
  • Welcome sign (welcome table in part 2)

For more inspiration, follow me on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. Cheers!


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About Chris

Chris Nease is a party stylist and home entertaining expert with over 15 years of experience. In addition to her work as founding editor of Celebrations At Home, Chris is an editorial stylist and has contributed to, SheKnows, and countless other websites. Most recently she was featured in Celebrate magazine, and her work has been published in Woman's World, Ocala Style, Yum Food & Fun for Kids, and Cottages & Bungalows.


  1. Dawn Sandomeno says:

    Love, Love, Love! It gets the red, white and blue spirit going.

  2. Kori Clark says:

    I love this Chris! I totally agree about sliders vs big burgers! And I LOVE the baked beans in a jar!!! What a great way to make a "messy food" easier! Love it!!

  3. Coryanne Ettiene | Housewife Bliss says:

    Lovely Printables, but I must admit a grin stretched across my face when I saw the vintage games and treats on the table…stunning darling!

    So pleased you could join us for our first #BBQBlogHop, Happy grilling!


  4. Gallamore West says:

    I love, love, love this! The setup is perfect and the printables are so, so cute! I LOVE that they are editable in a cute font :)
    Thank you!
    Laurie :)

  5. Love all the photos and great tips, Chris. So fun we could link up. Wish we could all have dinner together now! :)

  6. Christie says:

    Chris, thank you for the printables! Just in time for Memorial Day or July 4th! The table looks awesome and I always get great ideas over here from you or your features! We had my son's hotdog BBQ/treehouse party last weekend! I will post it soon and send it to you! Love coming over here! Christie at Three Pixie Lane

  7. Jen @ SecondCitySoiree says:

    Cute vintage touches! I'm pretty much a ninja at that peg-jumping game…so glad you included it! :)

  8. Brittany @GreyGreyDesigns says:

    Lovely as always Chris! love the beans in the jelly jars! There are so many things you can do with those!

  9. Anonymous says:

    At first glance I thought the gum were hand wipes in the sink container which would be great especially for a BBQ!

  10. Natasha @ Fête Fanatic says:

    I need to set up my studio with patriotic flair, but feel so lazy!This is definitely inspiring! I love the potato salad in the planter urn! Ok, now for the desert table!

  11. Enchanted Expectations says:

    Love the baked beans in a jar. Did my invitation get lost in the mail again? This was so fabulous!

  12. Everything is so fun with table games and great color!
    But, I fell in love with the mini Mason Jars of Baked Beans and the cute labels. That take it over the top.
    Wondering if there is anything to do to keep them warm?

    • Thank you Diane,
      Hmm, we always eat baked beans at room temperature, but maybe you could cover them with a hot soaked towel, or sit them in a shallow pan of hot water?

  13. you are so fabulous Chris! What a gorgeous backyard!!

  14. Hi ! I love it ! Where did you found the jar for the baked beans ???
    Have a wonderful day !

  15. Looove the baked beans in the mason jars! I included them in my round up today!

  16. That red and white bell-shape – is that a bell? Did you make it?? How did you make it?? With what? I REALLLLYYY like it! :)

  17. Over the top AWESOME!! I love your ideas, colors, fabric, flowers…everything.

  18. Absolutely gorgeous styling…every detail is just beautiful! Love the vintage Americana feel!

  19. I love the colors of the theme it’s soooo summery!!!! I especially loved the details as it brings out the unique feeling of summer!!

    Love your work!!

    Ruthie Turner – FL Wedding & Event Planner
    Costa del Sol Events, Inc.

  20. Chris, wonderful work you do!
    would you mind sharing where you got all your fabric from?
    trying to do a barn party for my little guy that will be turning
    5 next month and i need to find some fabric.

  21. Hi just wanted to know what font you used on the printables?


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