Search Cozi
Create accountWeb sign in

Summer Fun

How to Get Your School Calendar in Cozi

Keep track of days off, picture day and school events when everything's in Cozi. Learn more.

Memorial Day Party Checklist

Memorial Day is a day to remember and pay respects to the men and women who lost their lives in war. And if you're like many Americans, you'll also celebrate the long weekend with a party to kick-off the summer.

Welcome the summer with friends and family at your own backyard party. Here are tips for throwing a Memorial Day party and a checklist that covers party prep, what to buy and day-of set up.

Basic party prep

  • Plan your guest list. Carefully evaluate the area where the party will be held. You want to be sure that everyone is comfortable and not competing for space. 
  • Check the weather forecast to plan for bad (or amazing) weather.
  • Send out the invitations. Online invites are a quick and easy way to get this task done and it's a breeze to keep tabs of RSVPs.


  • Brightly colored napkins, plates, and cups can pull double duty by serving food and being decorative.
  • American flags, hanging lights, tiki torches, floating candles, and paper lanterns are great for setting the mood of the party.
  • Use simple flowers like daisies, cut them short, and place them in bud vases or tumblers for centerpieces.
  • Balloons, streamers, and pinatas add decoration and double as party activities for the kids.


  • Party rule #1: Ice, ice, and more ice!
  • Stock the cooler and beverage station with plenty to drink: ice cold water, lemonade, soda and adult beverages keep the partiers happy and refreshed! Find recipes for more thirst quenching drinks from the folks at Country Time Lemonade.
  • When setting the menu, plan to have food for vegetarians as well. 
  • Typical BBQ fare (hamburgers, hotdogs) is always delicious, but you can also try ribs, pork tenderloin, chicken, and a grilled vegetable assortment. Crockpot dishes like salsa verde pork are super easy and a great time-saver.
  • Sides like veggies, fruits, salads, chips, dips, and desserts like cookies, brownies, and cupcakes are convenient. Be mindful of the weather - you don’t want anything sitting out in the hot sun that could spoil or melt. 
  • If possible, place food under a covering such as an umbrella or overhang. 
  • Set up food buffet-style and arrange plates and utensils at the start of the line to keep it moving quickly.
  • Have separate seasoning and beverage stations with condiments and such to avoid delays in the buffet line.
  • Stock plenty of napkins at the drink station, along with stirrers and straws.

Set up

  • Move indoor furniture outside for additional surface space and seating. Benches, chairs, stools, and side tables are versatile.
  • Have clearly labeled trash and recycle cans.
  • Leave sunscreen out for guests to use.
  • Have shade options available by using umbrellas or canopy tents.
  • Lay rugs or outdoor throws on the ground for additional seating.
  • Be eco-friendly with reusable plates (not grandma’s china, but every day or camping plates if you have enough), utensils, and cups. (Acrylic cups are a great buy and easy to find.)
  • Place outdoor toys and games for younger guests in a “kid-zone.” Check out some easy and fun outdoor family games.

Memorial Day Party CheckList:

  • Make guest list
  • Check the weather forecast
  • Send out invitations
  • Inventory plates, utensils, cups
  • Plan menu and/or solicit potluck dishes
  • Create grocery list
  • Make “trash” and “recycle” signs
  • Get coolers or large buckets cleaned and prepped for beverages
  • Hose down patio furniture
  • Dust off outdoor cushions
  • Clean the grill
  • Food, water, lemonade, soda and adult beverages
  • Napkins, plates, utensils
  • Decorations: flags, lights, tiki torches, floating candles, paper lanterns
  • Flowers
  • Balloons, streamers, pinatas
  • Ice
  • Sunscreen
  • SET UP
  • Add drinks and ice to cooler a couple hours before the party starts
  • Move furniture outside
  • Set out and label trash and recycle cans
  • Set out sunscreen
  • Put up umbrellas or canopies for shade
  • Lay rugs or outdoor throws on the ground
  • Set up outdoor toys and games
  • Arrange food, beverage and condiment stations

See more shopping and to do lists in the Cozi List Library.

Michele Johansen is a writer in Bellevue, WA. She is the co-creator of the Ruby Slipper Guide, a website that lists activities and events for families living east of Seattle and blog that delves into the foils of parenting.

Get the #1 family organizing app