by Annette Naif

Tips and Tricks for Throwing a Great 4th of July Party

  

Memorial Day may be the summer kick-off, but 4th of July is the star of the show! By July, the summer is in full swing and everyone is ready to celebrate. The kids are out of school, beach bags are full of sand, and you can hear the cheerful melodies of the ice-cream man throughout the streets.

The secret to an unforgettable 4th of July party is tradition with a twist! There are certain things that are expected but the way to really wow your guests is to add your own personal touch.   

1.  Location, location, location. 
Whether throwing your bash at your home or in a public space, there are a few key things to consider when choosing your venue. Public parks can be a great space to host a 4th of July BBQ, and relatively inexpensive. Be sure to contact your local government and zoning office to be sure you have the proper permits for your event. When choosing a location, keep in mind that it is the height of the summer and the heat can be brutal. It can be very helpful to choose an area where there is a body of water to cool off – a lake, the ocean or even a pool. If none of these are available, you should consider setting up some sort of sprinkler system or even renting a portable swimming pool. While we’re on the subject of weather, tents are crucial. Not only do they provide shelter in the event of rain but also provide shade from the summer sun. Depending on the size of your space, you can either rent tents or purchase pop-up tents from your local super-store. They can usually be found in the garden department or near the camping equipment. If you decide to hold the event at your home, there are also plenty of creative things you can do with décor and furniture to make the event just as memorable. Either way, it is also important to remember that it is common for this type of celebration to continue well into the evening, and that making sure there is adequate lighting is a must. This can be done with tiki torches, paper lanterns, candles, and even twinkly lights.

2.  Supplies and Décor  

When throwing your own party you want to make sure that you are able to plan and execute, but also enjoy all of your hard work as well. When purchasing supplies, especially for a BBQ, you want to make sure that you are preparing for an easy clean-up. Disposables are a great way to cut down on clean-up time: plates, flatware, cups, serving supplies, tablecloths, etc. Make sure that you have everything needed for food preparation, both indoors and out. There is nothing worse than running out of charcoal when there are still burgers to be grilled! When it comes to décor, be authentic. Anything red, white, and blue is immediately festive. Since your party will most likely be outdoors, try to find décor that will be durable enough to last throughout the event. Even if you want to be authentic, there is still room to add your own special touch. Don’t be afraid to get ideas from other people – Pinterest, anyone? Head to your local craft supplies store for affordable materials and try something new!

3.  Games and Music
Everyone knows it’s the entertainment that keeps the party going! Every BBQ

needs a rockin’ soundtrack. Keep in mind the different people that will be there and try to tailor your playlist to the various tastes and age groups, that way everyone will hear something they like. Consider your surrounding and make sure that you are complying with any local noise ordinances whether you are at your own home or in a public place, especially if the event continues into the evening. When it comes to games, you want to again make sure that you are making it fun for all ages. You can organize some more structured activities, for example: an egg toss, three-legged race, scavenger hunt, watermelon eating contest, water balloon toss or even musical chairs. It’s also nice to have some supplies available such as: hula hoops, jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, pool/water toys, and kick balls. Once you get the ball rolling and guests start to participate, you can have tons of fun and lots of laughs.    

4.  Eats
Everyone loves a good BBQ, but maybe you should dare to stray from the hamburgers and hot dogs. Chicken skewers, steaks, ribs, seafood, and grilled veggies can be a fresh new addition to the buffet table. People love sharing their summer recipes so when they ask if they can bring anything, don’t be afraid to say, “YES!” It not only takes a little of the burden off of you but also allows you to add a different dish to your menu, perhaps something you never thought of. Don’t forget the desserts! Don’t stress about coming up with new recipes or thinking of something never done before. Everyone loves the classics, but get a little creative too. Sometimes all it takes is a trendy presentation to really add some pizzaz to an old favorite. You can serve snacks in beach pails or upside down Uncle Sam hats. Cut your watermelon with a star-shaped cookie cutter. Present your cupcakes in an American Flag pattern. There are endless options that will add character and a personal touch to your party.

5.  Last, but certainly not least – drinks!
Whether you are looking for a tasty cocktail or just a refreshing beverage, there are tons of recipes for festive drinks. For the adults, there is no limit to the cocktails you can mix up. You can try a “Sweet Independence” – a beautiful presentation with layers of marshmallow infused vodka, blue curacao, and a maraschino cherry. That and other great recipes can be found at Mix That Drink. There are tons of non-alcoholic options for the kids as well. A super simple idea is to pour a lemon-lime soda (Sprite, 7UP) over a scoop of red, white or blue sherbert. Not only is it festive but super sweet and ice cold, which is perfect for a summer barbecue.

At the end of the day, what is most important is celebrating with your friends and family. As with any event, stay organized and you will save yourself plenty of headaches. Try to have an accurate number of guests in mind so that you can plan as precisely as possible. Make a list of tasks that need to be done prior to the event date and set deadlines for each one. It is more than possible to throw a spectacular party and be able to enjoy it too!

Happy 4th of July AND Happy Birthday to ME! 🙂 

WE’D LOVE FOR YOU TO SHARE THIS IN YOUR NEWSLETTER OR WEBSITE BUT PLEASE INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING COMPLETE INFORMATION: Event Planning Expert, Entrepreneur, and Coach, Annette Naif, Founder & Creative Director of Forté Events NYC and publisher of the E-Zine, “Forté Today.”

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About Forté Events:

Forté Events is a strategic event design and production firm specializing in corporatenon-profit, and social events worldwide.  Their Celebrations of Life division helps individuals plan unique end of life services. Based in Colorado Springs, CO, and New York City this company of ten produce events worldwide from Fortune 500 clients to families and charities. Forté Events specializes in helping clients attain their goals, realize return on investment, and achieve the most unique, creative experiences.

About Annette Naif:

Since 1986 Annette Naif has been designing and producing custom events. Helping clients create their unique signature style that translates into a memorable experience has been Annette’s passion from the beginning. Annette spent a number of years producing events for Sebastian International followed by 15 years in the motion picture industry where she helped coordinate numerous productions for film and episodic television programs. Since then she’s been running her own event design company, coaching other event planners and now leads the New York City branch of Forté Events.

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