God Bless America (and BBQ)

Laurie WallLifestyle and Entertaining

The season of backyard barbecues and outdoor get-togethers is upon us, which means it’s time to start planning your Fourth of July party. These annual gatherings are a great way to gather with friends and family to celebrate our nation’s great history and build memories to last a lifetime. Whether you’re a seasoned pro at hosting or a novice at party planning, these four tips will help make sure that this year’s Fourth of July party is a sparkling success. 

Keep the Menu Simple

One of the best things about throwing a Fourth of July party is that there’s no need to break out the fancy china and gourmet recipes. Guests will be more interested in having some fun in the sun, beating the heat with cool and refreshing treats, and then watching or setting off fireworks. 

Classics like hotdogs, burgers, grilled chicken, and ribs work great for the main dish. For sides, keep traditional summer fare in mind. You can’t go wrong with watermelon, coleslaw, potato salad, chips and dips, and veggie trays. Do you want to make prepping for your Fourth of July party even easier? Consider asking guests to bring along their favorite side. 

For dessert, think cold and refreshing. Ice-box pies, a patriotic fruit cake with whipped cream, and popsicles are all seasonal favorites. 

Don’t Forget the Drinks or the Ice

You can pretty much bet that it’ll be a hot day, so go ahead and stock up on drinks. Make sure you have a variety of beverages for your guests and plenty of ice on the ready. To get a rough estimate of how much you’ll need, assume each guest will gulp down one or two drinks every hour they’re there. A drink station with refreshing fruit-infused water and lemonade is a great way to make sure that everybody stays hydrated.

Consider Decorations and Entertainment

There’s no need to invest a lot of time or money in fancy new decorations. This holiday is prime for simple and classic decorations that border on the nostalgic. Think red, white, and blue. Think repurposed mason jar vases full of fresh summer flowers. Think chalkboard menus. Think fun and simple. 

Entertainment can also be low key and low tech. Outdoor games are easy to prep for and fun for all ages. Badminton, volleyball, tug-o-war, horseshoes, and water balloon fights are some prime picks for keeping guests active and mingling. If you’d rather pass on the games, then you may want to put together a holiday playlist or consider screening a movie—or go all in on that idea and do a Fourth of July movie marathon. 

When the Sun Goes Down

Make sure to have a fireworks plan in place. If you won’t have a view of a big display from your place, then plan to create your own. Sparklers are an easy, safe, and classic way to go. But if you want something more spectacular at your Fourth of July party, be sure to stock up on fireworks in advance so you don’t have to navigate the crowds on the big day.

Also remember to check your local laws to see what’s legal and make sure to communicate with guests prior to your event about what they can bring or expect as far as fireworks go. That way you’ll all have a fun, safe, and memorable holiday.