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Patriotic popsicles

I don’t know about you, but every year I feel like the Fourth of July sneaks up on me.

Summer hits, then I blink and it’s time to celebrate America’s independence. My favorite way to celebrate is with a barbecue and some fireworks, but when it feels like the Fourth comes out of nowhere, it can be hard to throw something together with my friends and family.

If you find yourself in the same situation and time is running out to plan a backyard blow-out, don’t stress. This year, I went to the professionals, and they’re sharing their tips to throw a spectacular Fourth of July party in no time!


It’s summertime, which means you’re probably ready for some fun in the sun.

Your backyard can be the perfect place to host a Fourth of July party. Don’t worry about getting a good spot at the park, renting a pavilion or finding a spot at the campground. Instead, bust out that patio furniture and invite your friends and family over for the day.

If you don’t have a lot of outdoor seating available to you at your house, Veronica Thompson, special event producer at VIBEvents Group suggests bringing the indoors out. “Bring a futon or loveseat outside. Add extra pillows or chairs to make a social area. Don’t forget to have some low tables to place drinks. You can even use trunks, stacked suitcases or short tree trunks for these types of ‘tables,’” says Thompson.

If you have a smaller patio area and don’t think bringing a sofa outside would be functional, consider using a throw rug, blankets, pillows or cushions from inside. This will still give you that cozy feeling, but it won’t take up as much space. By utilizing both your indoor and outdoor seating, you’ll save yourself a trip to the store and some money.

Unfortunately, we can’t control the weather, and it can be unpredictable at times. If your Fourth of July forecast is calling for rain, Thompson advises, “Plan for the outside, but make sure that you have shaded areas. Use umbrellas or a tent to create shade and to stay out of pop-up showers. Always have a plan, prior to the party, to move the gathering indoors if the weather becomes too hot or inclement.”


What’s a party without food?

You’re going to want to eat, and so will your guests, but what can you do in a pinch? Greg Jenkins, an event planner at Bravo Productions, suggests a potluck. “As the host, you can provide the hot dogs and hamburgers, while each of your guests brings along a side dish. This can help with expenses, while allowing others to make a contribution to the party,” says Jenkins.

If the thought of a potluck makes you feel like you’re passing work along to your guests, try not to sweat it. Guests are often looking for a way to help you out and are more than happy to bring a side or drinks to contribute to the celebration. If you still want to do something a little special to go along with the protein, consider making a condiment bar. You grill up the meat, then layout all the toppings so guests can create their own grilling masterpiece!

“This saves time, and you can purchase ingredients you wouldn’t normally get to try out on burgers – toppings like different kinds of olives, fancier spices and even different cheeses. You can also encourage guests to bring exotic spices, dips or salsas to add to the mix,” says Bonny Ford of Furnish My Way.


You have the seating and the food, and now it’s on to decorations. There are really two ways you can go with Fourth of July decorations: full on patriotic or subtle Americana.

If you’re more of a subtle kind of party thrower, Thompson recommends tying in the theme with flowers. “A simple, yet nice, touch might be a small, 4″x4″ clear vase with two large white hydrangeas, two large blue hydrangeas and three small stems of red spray roses tucked into the vase. You can also use a mason jar with white Shasta daisies, red carnations and a bit of greenery then add a small American flag into the grouping.”

Another subtle touch that is cute and fun (especially for the kids) is a writable tablecloth. “Consider using white butcher paper on the tables instead of linens. Put some red and blue crayons on the table and let your guests enjoy themselves,” says Jenkins.

If you’re looking for the full-on patriotic vibe, you can jazz up the décor with a few more flags; with red, white and blue utensils; and with paper products and patriotic bunting.

If you’re on a time crunch and don’t have time to run to the store to buy décor, Jenkins points out that your red winter holiday décor can be reused easily. “Red décor elements that you use for Christmas may also be used for your Fourth of July party. For example, red and white Christmas ornaments in a glass cylinder on a blue linen is easy and something you may already have around the house.”

Hosting a Fourth of July party doesn’t have to be time-consuming. By using some of these tips from the pros, you can throw a celebration together in no time. Do you have tips and tricks for last-minute Independence Day celebrations? Share them with us in the comment section!

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