I don't just enjoy a good party, but I truly believe in the value of the art of celebration. There are so many people, milestones and occasions worth pausing for, noticing and appreciating with a spirit of fun and enjoyment. The dictionary says to celebrate is to publicly acknowledge (a significant or happy day or event) with a social gathering or enjoyable activity.
Enter the Fourth of July. As Americans, this is a most precious day we get to celebrate. It's a day I find myself being grateful for and intentionally enjoying the freedom I can so quickly take for granted. It is a day to acknowledge the courage of our forefathers who committed and signed their names for our freedom, and the bravery of so many since then who have sacrificed to maintain it.
I love that we live in a country where we are not only allowed freedom, but are encouraged and expected to make the most of it. What we know to simply be our way of life is a luxury and gift that so many people pass through this life without ever experiencing. In my book, that kind of gift is a mighty good reason to celebrate.
Along with a salute of appreciation for our country, I wanted to share a few ideas and resources to help you with your own Independence Day celebration!
Last year, Woody and I decided to have a Fourth of July gathering with our friends. We live downtown, so we are just a few steps away from a great view of the Birmingham fireworks show. We opted for a festive yet simple approach to our party that you could easily duplicate for this year between now and Friday.
Our dear friends, Todd and Amy, got excited about the idea of a Fourth of July party too and offered to co-host with us. It made it extra enjoyable to plan our little get-together with the help of friends!
I just love a paper invitation, but in the laid-back nature of this party, I didn't want the time or the expense it would take to get them designed and printed. So, I opted to handwrite the invitation, make copies on cardstock paper, and pass it out to friends. An invitation is the first impression for a party and I thought this one communicated a low key, yet personal and festive energy for the gathering.
We provided BBQ sandwiches, drinks and dessert, and encouraged guests to bring their favorite side or dessert too! It was kind of like a backyard picnic only inside!
One of the great things about a Fourth of July party is that the color scheme is already decided for you! These tissue paper pom-poms would be a fun DIY to try, but for my party timeline, I was thrilled to pick up this set of colorful red, white and blue pom-poms from Party City.
I absolutely love flowers and was inspired to do a patriotic bouquet. I just adore the soft white and blues with the pop of deep red. I used blue hydrangeas, white snapdragons, red alstroemeria, red gerber daisies and mixed greenery. This set of miniature vases in an oblong basket made it so simple to do a larger arrangement by grouping small bouquets! I love that it made an impact, but was still easy to arrange.
Colorful straws are an easy way to add a fun accent to your event. As guests carry them around in their cups it adds little pops of color throughout the party! Find a similar patriotic straw here.
Everyone got to take a flag to wave as we watched the fireworks later in the evening.
One of my favorite parts of our celebration was this photo wall. It was a great activity for guests to enjoy together and it made for the most precious memories! My mom gave me these star-spangled garlands from World Market, and they were just the right touch for a photo wall against the rustic, wooden surface right outside our loft. You can find similar garland from World Market this year too. We also provided some cute and silly props to use in the photos!
As day turned to night, it became time for my most favorite part of the evening—the fireworks! There is something whimsical and exciting that happens during a fireworks show, and getting to enjoy it with friends on a downtown street in my favorite city made for one special night! Whether you see a grand fireworks display or create one of your own with a few sparklers, its the light, crackle and sparkle that makes it celebratory!
I'm pretty certain this is when Woody was playing his favorite patriotic tune for everyone from his iPhone, Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A." This is so "Woody" of him which would explain the adoring smile on my face.
I'm still working on my cooking skills, but I do love to bake. After an enjoyable summer night with friends, there is nothing like a homemade chocolate chip cookie for the ride home. These star-printed goody bags from Party City finished with a sticker and "happy 4th!" message made it easy to create to-go treats to thank our guests for joining us for a wonderful evening.
I hope our happy little party has inspired you with a few ideas to make your own Fourth of July a special one. However you choose to celebrate this Independence Day, just remember the point is to celebrate. Acknowledge, appreciate and enjoy the blessings of being an American and being free.
Happy Fourth, friends!