Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Last Minute Ideas for a Patriotic Celebration {4th of July Party Ideas}

Hi all,

Tomorrow is one of my very favorite holidays {I've got 3...the 4th of July, Halloween, and Christmas...all for different reasons}. With it being the middle of the week, and a very hot week at that, I haven't thought too much about the party...until a couple of days ago. Now, I'm not one for planning too far in advance on many things, but I normally don't wait til the last minute to even figure out where the party will be held {yup, I did that...thank goodness for flexible family members}.

If you're like me and need some last minute ideas for your party, read on - I'll be sharing some yummy food ideas, tasty drinks {both alcoholic and non} and some small things you can do to set the mood for your patriotic bash.


Food is the most important thing in any of my gatherings. You can have all the pretty decorations in the world...if your guests are starving, they're going to be too angry to notice your adorable water bottle labels.

I try to go simple on the 4th with food. Standard BBQ fare seems to be a hit, plus we can all gather around the grill with a beverage and chat while we cook. Here's a few of my go-to ideas for BBQ food {all of which could be prepared without much notice}:

Sliders are great to give a lot of variety, without a ton of work or cost. I think this is the route we're going this year, and I'm excited to see what we come up with. Plus, they'll be really quick to cook!

Source: re-nest.com via Jen on Pinterest

Skewers are also great for variety and satisfying everyone's particular tastes. You can get them put together before everyone arrives, or just leave the ingredients in bowls and let people make their own. This is a great option if you have some vegetarians in your group.

Classic barbecue fare is a favorite of mine, but does take a little more preparation. Ribs, brisket, pulled pork...all yummy options that scream "summer" and "America" to me. If you're feeling really ambitious, you could make your own barbeque sauce for the meat, and give your guests some to take home as a favor. {My hat is off to you if you're feeling that ambitious this close to the 4th!}

There are hundreds of different side dish options out there, from corn on the cob to potato salad to chips and dip. I love grilled corn on the cob because I can throw it on with my meat and not have to worry about preparing it in the house while trying to grill outside.

Source: blogchef.net via Jen on Pinterest

Ask your guests to help out with this part of the meal. I don't know about your friends and family, but mine are always asking what they can bring to a party. Ask them to bring their favorite side dish!

And finally, dessert. My favorite. This is where people tend to bring in the red, white and blue theme of the day. I'm sure you've seen those Jell-o poke cakes with the strawberry stripes and blueberry stars. But, how about some other RW&B desserts to wow your guests?

That shortcake really makes me want to change up my dessert plan for tomorrow! If you're not too concerned about food bearing the colors of the flag, here are a couple of other yummy and easy to prepare dessert options.

Source: bhg.com via Jen on Pinterest

Watermelon sorbet - light and cold...a perfect combination for a party in the heat of July.

Peach cobbler {this is on my menu}...I think of cobbler as a summer staple.

Easy lemon bars - any recipe that has 2 ingredients is a great choice for last minute party planning.

It's hot. That shouldn't be a shock to any of you who are reading in the US. I think most of us are experiencing the same heat wave this year. You'll want to make sure your guests stay hydrated and cool throughout your celebration.

Lemonade is a classic summer staple, and this lemonade punch kicks it up a notch {without a lot of extra work}.

Water is a great alternative as well, especially when you use fruits and veggies to boost the flavor.

For those of us who prefer drinks with booze, there are lots of summer cocktails out there to quench your thirst. Here are my picks for this year:

Watermelon martini - I love the sugared rim and the little slice of watermelon balancing on the side. Plus, who doesn't love watermelon {in whatever form} for a summer barbecue?

Mango margarita. Yay for mangos, yay for margaritas. A match made in Heaven.


Chances are, you've got some red, white & blue in your house already. Group these things together as a centerpiece...even if they have nothing to do with the 4th. Fruit would also be a cute {and edible!} centerpiece...think blueberries, cherries & strawberries layered in a bowl, or in their own individual glasses grouped at the center of the table. You could do the same thing with M&M's or other colored candies.

If you're looking for something more obviously patriotic, small flags tucked into floral arrangements or even an empty vase would be inexpensive and cute.

This simple star garland would be easy to make while you're watching your favorite show, or something your kids could help put together as an afternoon craft.

There are plenty of printables out there for free or very little money. Google and Pinterest are awesome resources for these.

Above all else, make sure that you get some time to enjoy the celebration and relax with your guests. The perfect 4th of July party is one where you celebrate together, no matter what food & drinks you serve, or how awesome your centerpiece looks.

All of the ideas I've shared today can be found on my Pinterest boards, especially the Food! and 4th of July Party boards.

Happy Independence Day everyone!

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