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Meg is a staff writer for The Hudsucker. After going through high school thinking she “didn’t like to write,” she found her love for it her freshman year at college and it’s only deepened since then. Upon graduating from Rutgers University with a BA in Communication in 2013, she began working in online marketing for the hospitality industry. She currently splits her time between NYC, where she works, and NJ, where she lives—but hopes that one day she’ll be able to live & work in the same state (that’s the dream).

Tips for Throwing Your Best 4th of July Party

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, also known as July 4th, also known as The Fourth, also known as Independence Day. It’s a little strange how many names this holiday has, isn’t it? And they’re all used so interchangably. Despite all the different names, July 4th is normally celebrated the same way no matter what you call it – with an outdoor celebration usually ending in fireworks. If you’ve decide to not just attend a party but host one this year, here are a few tips to help you to make this your best 4th yet.

luann snawder photography on flickr

The Food
Let’s save the best for…first? Because food is so often seen as the “make or break” for parties, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and start to panic about what to serve. The most important thing to remember here is that you will want to have food that is easy to eat because chances are not everybody will be sitting at a table to eat. Things like bbq pulled pork or pulled chicken work well and are more unique than the standard burger and hot dog fare. Serving a quinoa salad on the side is not only a great option for the more health conscious but another unique option. For dessert, skip the cake and fruit crisps, choosing instead brownies, cookies, blondies, or anything that is easy to pick up and eat (and make).

Entertainment
Aside from birthday parties, it seems like July 4th is the only other holiday where activities are a planned part. Is it because we link the holiday with a fireworks show (aka fun!) at night? Or we need something to distract us from the blistering sun? Either way, having “games” doesn’t need to be something to panic over. Things like bean bag tosses or cornhole work great, or if you want to get a little more intense: set up a tie dye station and ask people to bring a piece of white clothing. Not only would that be an activity to do at the party, but it could double as a party favor and make your party memorable for years to come

Setting the Scene
Walk into a party store right now and you’re probably smacked in the face with red-white-and-blue everything you can think of plus some things you wish you didn’t see. It can be an enormous sensory overload. For me — this makes it a great time to go directly in the opposite direction and take a minimalist approach. Grab some red and blue bandanas to use in place of napkins, buy some bouquets of red or white flowers and plant them in tin buckets for the day with some American flags to highlight, and string some sparkly sliver star garland around your yard. Taking the more natural approach to decorations keeps the party unique and tasteful.

jeff kublna on flickr

Keep It Organized
You want to keep the the party casual and act like everything just flew together with ease, right? Even though everybody knows how difficult it is to not only plan a party but have it appear as though you did it in your sleep. The secret is lots of planning and organization well before the party so that no matter what happens, you are prepared. Make sure you have a guest list — not so that you can act like a bouncer, but so that you have a head count and can make sure you have enough food. I’d also suggest setting a firm budget ahead of time because parties are such an easy thing to go over on, especially if you are buying everything at different times. If you are hosting a potluck, keep a running list of what each person is bringing and cross the itemoff as they arrive, this way you don’t end up with 5 bowls of potato salad.

jorgen kesseler on flickr

Background Music
This is not a necessity as I’ve found that parties (especially ones outside in the middle of summer) can be loud enough on their own without background music, but it can be a nice touch if you have the ability. If you’re throwing a huge blowout, consider hiring a DJ and have them take care of the music for you. But if you’re not looking to spend that much money, or if you’re looking for a little more control, you can run the music yourself through your home sound system or a portable music player. Music taste is personal but I’ve found that country music tends to make a great background sound for outdoor parties and making a playlist full of it works well. If you are running the music yourself, consider being open to suggestions from your guests. Make sure you remain in control of it the entire time but crowd-sourcing a few songs is a nice touch.

Fireworks
Is there anything more associated with July 4th than fireworks? There are some states where it’s legal to buy and set off your own and if you are experienced doing so, ending your party with a personal fireworks display would be memorable. But if you have no fireworks knowledge there is no reason to risk it when many towns host their own fireworks show in a park or field. You could time the party so it will end just before the fireworks, then have everybody drive (or walk, distance dependent) to go see them. If that’s not an option — there’s always NBC and their Macy’s fireworks display. Or CBS and their Boston Pops infused fireworks show. Or, better yet, buy a bunch of those sparklers and have a safe little lowkey fireworks show of your own.

Are you hosting or attending a July 4th party this year?

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One Comment on “Tips for Throwing Your Best 4th of July Party”

  1. thingstodoinfla July 3, 2015 at 11:03 am #

    Reblogged this on Things To Do In Florida and commented:
    Very nice…

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