Organizing and hosting a patriotic 4th of July party or BBQ this year? Go ahead and shelf your stress. We understand how overwhelming party planning and entertaining can be, specifically Independence Day parties. Especially when it’s hot outside. That’s why these simple 4th of July party tips will help you create the perfect star-spangled soirée.
First, you’ll need a menu (or the caterer’s phone number, lol). You’ve probably already decided to serve up the usual Easy Recipes for Summer Barbecues, hamburgers, and hot dogs. This is what everyone expects, but surprising your guests with unexpected gourmet delights could be a bit more fun!
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different kinds of burgers, vegetarian options, grilled fruits, and better than grandma’s coleslaw recipe. Make the usual unusual with a hot dog and hamburger topping bar with a choice of buns and tons of condiment options! Include non-traditional choices like olive tapenade, charred jalapeño-lime aïoli, or bacon-shishito relish. Everyone will be eating the same cookout menu all summer, deviating from standard American fare will make your Independence day blowout truly unique.
Meal Planning Tip: A 4th of July themed menu should include at least two main meal options, two side dishes, and finger foods like a crudités platter and other hor d’oeuvres choices. Meat & cheese platters are always a crowd favorite. Your guests will be socializing, so one-bite appetizers are a must. And, if possible, skip any finger food that requires silverware. Toothpicks and dipping sauces are ok, but make sure there are disposal options so your guests don’t have to hold onto them while they chat.
When it comes to refreshments, pair the libations with your menu choices. If you’re serving classic burgers, your guests will expect classic beers. Testing out new dishes? Stir-up a few familiar cocktails along with one or more drinks that may be new to your guests. No matter what your menu consists of, include a minimum of one non-alcoholic option as a drink offering.
Beverage Planning Tip: Include a minimum of three drink choices. One of those options should be water. Place a water pitcher on each table or set-up a beverage station. Include water or seltzer fruit infusers like lemons and limes or blueberries and strawberries (to fit the patriotic theme).
Sweet Land of Liberty
Crowd-pleasing classics like pies, trifles, and simple red, white, and blue frosted cupcakes can all become patriotic desserts with the addition of fresh fruits! Enlist the help of summer’s harvest, like strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, for delicious treats that are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate!
Dessert Planning Tip: Don’t go overboard with too many dessert offerings as guests are likely to bring some as their hostess or host gift. Stick with one or two party-themed choices. Use simple 4th of July themed decorations to create a dessert centerpiece or dessert buffet serving container.
You can make your party sing with a few simple touches of red, white, and blue. Strategically placed streamers, patriotic pinwheels, and small flags do not cost a fortune but are the perfect way to make your bash Americana beautiful. Creative but simplistic centerpieces made with red, white, and blue decorations help dress-up otherwise boring one-color tablecloths.
Party Planning Tip: Remember to shop early for the best selection of party themed decor. Purchase America’s birthday-themed paper plates, napkins, plastic utensils, serving utensils, flags, and sparklers a few weeks before your 4th of July party for the best selection.
A band is not necessary, but you should consider some sort of entertainment, even if it’s a playlist or streamed music channel. Games are also wise to have on hand – simple ones like croquet, cornhole, patriotic-themed scavenger hunt, or playing cards are perfect choices. Fireworks are generally a blast, but depending on where you are, they may be illegal. The American Pyrotechnics Association maintains this directory of state laws. Be sure to review this list before purchasing any type of pyrotechnics. It may surprise you that some States, like our neighbors in Massachusetts, even ban the use of sparklers!
Entertainment Planning Tip: Choose your music selection ahead of time and don’t forget to have a few games on hand for kids and adults to enjoy! Be sure to include something patriotic for entertainment.
Make a lasting impression on your guests with simple goody bags. Of course, these can be as extravagant as you please, but goody bags are a treat that most guests are excited to receive. There’s no need to go over the top. Place a decorated sugar cookie or other baked goods in a cellophane bag tied with red, white, and blue ribbons and a star name tag. Or, put out a few boxes of sparklers in a basket (if they are legal in your state) for your guests to enjoy at the party or after they leave.
Goody Bag Pro Tips: Keep the giveaways small and simple! Include something sweet and something fun. Place in a simple white bag with patriotic-themed ribbons and/or hang-tag. A large basket of baked goods for your guests to choose from is also a thoughtful idea.
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