Sunday, May 17, 2015

Easy Red, White & Blue Party Ideas

We've got spirit, yes we do-
Here are some quick, easy ideas for you! 
Memorial Day, the Olympics, the 4th of July, too-
your celebration will be decked out in Red, White & Blue! 

Step 1: Invite Guests!
Tell guests right away if they should bring a food or drink item to share, a lawn chair, a bathing suit/change of clothes, or anything else. Also, if there are fireworks included in the celebration (at the party or nearby), be sure to let them know your thoughts on arrangements/times so they can plan accordingly. Include whether it's a short celebration or an open house party, the times, the date and who to contact (by when) to RSVP! You'll also want to share any special instructions for parking, if needed. Doing some last-minute planning? Call them and share what you're thinking! 

Step 2: Plan & Prep Your Space
  Find all of your patriotic decorations (or hit up the Dollar Store, Walmart, or a local craft store) to spruce up your space! Put up some red, white & blue garland, crepe paper, balloons, etc. and grab some tablecloths as well. Set up a fun centerpiece, put balloons on the mailbox, a welcome sign by the door, and decide where everyone will hang out, eat, play, etc. Make it worthwhile and decorate a few days (or even a few weeks) beforehand to get into the spirit! 

Step 3: Get What You Need to Serve & Seat
Need tables and chairs to eat? Chairs just to sit and lounge? Need plates, napkins, plasticware, cups, bowls, serving dishes and utensils? Think it through from start to finish and make sure you have what you need.  

Step 4: Plan & Prep Your Food & Drinks, and Easy Cleanup
Plan what everybody will eat, where it will be prepared and served. Need tables for food? Need to use the grill? Need coolers? Ice? Markers so people can write their names on their cups? Think it all through step by step and make sure you have it all ready! Have trashcans (with lids) and recycling bins easily available, with extra bags nearby.

Step 5: Plan & Prep Your Activities
Will you have a lot of kids at the party? Plan some activities! If it's a nice day, consider water balloons, water guns, a kiddie pool, or the use of your full-size pool if you have one (with adult supervision, of course)! Get sparklers, glow sticks/bracelets/necklaces and mason jars to catch fireflies when it gets dark out (poke some holes in the lid).  Not such a nice day? Have a collection of crayons, markers and coloring pages available. Have some games set up under a tree or in a playroom inside, and even a 4th of July craft for them to make and take home! For nicer weather, you can have a baseball and glove, frisbees, bubbles, lacrosse sticks and balls, badminton, volleyball, hula hoops, jump ropes, and even an obstacle course (or a pile of stuff they can turn into an obstacle course)!
  Will people be outside a lot? Consider setting up a body prep area with sunscreen, bug spray, extra sunglasses, pool towels, etc. 

Step 6: Think From the 'Outside In' for Your Guests! 
Put together an "American" playlist, and play the tunes throughout the party. Then think like a guest would as you do a last-minute walk through of the party. Check out the parking situation and have somebody available to help with any challenges. Welcome your guests at the door or the gate and hand them a hat, a headband, a button, a bandanna, a lei, a drink, a little flag or something fun and patriotic as they arrive. Tell them where they can put their things, their food, their shoes if they want to take them off, where to get a drink (or a second drink, if they have the first), and show them where the bathroom is located if they haven't been to your home before. Be hospitable and chivalrous, and show how happy you are to have them! Introduce them to other guests if they do not know anybody. Help them make connections- share stories, common threads, etc. If somebody wants to help, try to think of ways that they can. If they want to relax, make that happen for them! Oh, and make sure you get to relax a little bit, too :) 
Step 7: Think From the Inside Out for Yourself! 
The day of the party, get yourself totally ready at least an hour or two beforehand. Get dressed, do your hair, be ready, then have fun! Your party starts before anybody arrives. Get some food prepped, everything set out as needed, the grill ready, the activities set up, and the drink station prepared. You could even pre-mix a drink or two for easy pouring. Make sure the whole space and place are ready and then hit Go!
These were made by my Mom last year. Aren't they lovely?

HELPful Tip: If you're able to do it, consider hiring somebody to help with setup, replenishment and cleanup so that you can enjoy the company of your friends and family. During the event, there shouldn't be TOO much that needs to be done, but the easy To Do's can take over your time, and that's no fun. Bringing somebody in for $10-$20/hour for 5 or 6 hours is a totally worthwhile investment when it means you get to enjoy your own party. You may even want to bring in a babysitter or two to keep an eye on the kids so other parents can relax. Of course, adults should be around whenever fire is involved (bonfire, sparklers, etc.) and should still be close by and available if needed.

My mom made these little Caprese skewers, too!

My friend Amber made these Olympic ring-shaped pickles with cream cheese and ham and they were gone so fast! 

We had an Olympic party a few Summers ago! Everyone got in the spirit, including David & Brianna (shown). These cupcakes (above) were a fun treat and everyone could use the round candy of their choice to make the Olympic rings! The dumbbells (below) were made from a pretzel rod and 2 mini fudge stripe cookies. 
They were so easy and so delicious!

Check out some more Red, White & Blue Party Ideas on this constantly-changing Pinterest board! Share your own ideas in the comments! Have a great Memorial Day and a great Summer of fun! 

1 comment:

  1. I haven't made those pickles in forever... nom!