Today’s post is all about some fun inspiration for a summer patio party for the 4th of July! Since Independence day is just a little over a week away, you can grab an idea or two for your own summer party!
I’m also joining my friends from the Seasons of Home group, so be sure to scroll down and see their summer outdoor entertaining ideas!
Tip #1: Keep Decor Simple
I hit up the Target dollar spot and grabbed most of my decor from there, but I kept things pretty simple but traditional, especially with this cute bunting (available in store but similar found online here). I love the idea of bunting or a banner to make a statement but is very easy to hang up.
Tip #2: Create Drink & Condiment Station
I love this little bar cart still, because I was able to keep drinks on the bottom shelf, and have some condiments/disposables all corralled into one spot. It was right off the patio doors so easy to refill or bring inside as well!
Red cotton dress I’m wearing found here.
Tip #3: Light Lots of Citronella Candles
I lit citronella candles in several areas around the patio to keep the mosquitos at bay, and it worked! We didn’t have any bugs near our food and it made the evening so much more enjoyable not having to k worry about getting eaten alive (as long as we didn’t venture away from the candles). If possible, spray a mosquito pesticide over your lawn a couple days before your party and let it dry completely.
My oldest grilled hot dogs for the first time… as you can see from his grimace he was getting used to the heat it puts off! hahaha
Tip #4: Set Food Out Buffet Style
Instead of arranging place settings, opt for a buffet style with plates stacked in the middle. This keeps things casual and invites everyone to dig in. I set the table with some red ticking I picked up from Joann Fabrics (3 yards and I didn’t even bother to hem), gathered each corner and tied it with string. Then I laid out this blue stars table throw on top. The combo is bold and classic.
I love how it has a vintage feel to it. Online is sold out, but they had several in-store at Pottery Barn if you are interested, and they do have the napkins online and on sale, and a similar look tablecloth here!
For the centerpiece I just grabbed one of the tin buckets from Target’s dollar spot, and put in a smaller vase with hydrangea and a few flags.
Tip #5: Choose a Few Crowd-Pleaser Foods
I kept the food pretty traditional too! Instead of having tons of everything, I just served hot dogs, potato salad, corn on the cob, and fresh fruit (arranged like a flag). That dessert with blueberries is a St Louis original: Gooey Butter Cake and yes it’s as good as it sounds.
Usually I take a long time capturing all the angles and shots, once I’m done decorating a space, but I wanted you all to catch a feel for how we spent the evening together. Yes, we paused to take pictures, but this photoshoot was the fastest I’ve done since we were able to eat and enjoy the party while I worked. Win-win!
Tip #6: Add a Few Flowers
You don’t have to get much or spend a lot, by somente pretty fresh white flowers with a flag tucked in are a simple way to make a space feel loved.
I didn’t add much to this pergola seating area except add some white mums in a basket, a couple of citronella candles, and a couple flags. The navy, white and gray ‘back-drop’ is neutral and goes with everything!
I found the mums at my local grocery store!
We don’t do a family photo often, so I figured, why not? 😉
At night, after everything was cleaned up, the glow of the candles and string lights was so charming.
Then we pulled out the sparklers…
Tip #7: Take Pictures with Sparklers
and tried to spell out I <3 USA. This was our first attempt:
The trick to taking photos like this is adjust your settings so your shutter speed is open for several seconds, so you have time to move your sparkler into the letter/shape you want. My settings for the 1st photo above photo were:
ISO: 200, Aperture: 10.0, Shutter speed: 5 seconds
The “love” photo above’s settings were:
ISO: 100, Aperture: 10.0, Shutter Speed: 10 seconds
This was our 5th attempt and also with a red sparklers now (and a couple people switched places):
Above photo settings:
ISO: 200, Aperture: 10, Shutter speed: 5 seconds
Not bad, right? We spent an hour out there playing with sparklers and my camera settings, spelling out words, making shapes, and being silly. If you are planning a summer party, whether it’s just your family or you are inviting others, I HIGHLY recommend bringing out a DSLR camera and sparklers– it is too fun!
All non-seasonal patio sources are found in my blog post here.
As promised, here are some of my friends from the Seasons of Home group, sharing their outdoor entertaining ideas: