What are you up to this holiday weekend? Whether you’re planning on having a small get-together with family members or a barbeque with a bigger guest list, mama and expert party planner Pamelyn Rocco knows how to help throw an epic 4th of July party. After years of working as a marketing executive, this creative LA mama decided to pursue her passion of entertaining full-time with the launch of her company Bashery & Co in 2016, where she takes the stress out of party planning and adds the style with beautifully designed ideas and specially-themed rental supplies. Follow Pamelyn’s 6 tips for the perfect 4th of July bash so you can dance the night away with delicious drinks, perfect tunes, and even better decor that both adults and kiddos will enjoy!
1. Drinks, Drinks, and More Drinks!
No party is complete without a good themed drink. Here are a few that will have you feeling all kinds of festive! Oh, and there’s one for the kiddos too!
I am all about Watermelon Fresca (spiked, of course!):
1 watermelon, cubed
1 cup water
Juice of 1 lime
1/4 cup sugar
Mint for garnish
For the drink
1 ounce spiced rum
1 ounce vodka
4 ounces watermelon agua fresca
Mint and watermelon for garnish
- To make the watermelon agua fresca, pulse the watermelon in a blender with the water, sugar, and lime until smooth. Strain over a fine-mesh strainer lined with paper towel, reserving the liquid.
- Fill a drink shaker with the spiced rum, vodka, and watermelon agua fresca. Top with ice and shake.
- Rim a glass with lime then dip in salt. Fill the glass with ice and then the drink. Garnish with a watermelon wedge and enjoy!
Blueberry Absinthe Cocktail
Fill a cocktail glass with ice cubes. You can even freeze blueberries in your ice cubes! Use a cocktail shaker to mix a handful of ice, 2 shots Stoli Blueberry vodka, 1 oz pomegranate juice, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice and a splash of simple syrup. Pour into a small tumbler. Top with 1/4 oz Lucid Absinthe, then club soda, pouring both slowly over the back of a spoon. The absinthe will slowly turn from clear to milky white.
Non-Alcoholic Red, White and Blue Punch
There are a number of juices to choose from, but I like a good refreshing lemonade — and it’s clear enough to resemble white. Pomegranate juice brings great flavor and the red color, but blue juice was tough, so we opted for blue Gatorade.
Freeze the red and blue juices in star ice molds. If you don’t have the time to get star molds, you can make strawberry and blueberry ice cubes. Drop the star ice or frozen fruit into chilled lemonade or another “white” juice of your choice. Serve in a large punch bowl or individual party cups with striped napkins and straws.
2. Insta-Worthy Backdrop
We all want that perfect picture that we can post on Instagram, and there is nothing like a good backdrop to make your party look legit (and get everyone in the picture-taking mood)! This flag balloon wall is so easy but so epic at the same time.
Flag Balloon Wall
5″ balloons (red, white and blue) from Party City (water balloon size)
Mounting tape from Amazon (regular double-sided tape does not hold for very long, especially if it is windy)
Balloon pump because it’s way too hard to blow up this many balloons!
- Figure out your layout first based on the amount of space you have. I wanted the flag to fit perfectly above my couch, so we did 10 balloons across and 7 down: 70 balloons.
- Start pumping but be sure not to inflate too much, as you want the balloon to maintain the round shape and not become pear-shaped.
- We used 10 strips of mounting tape and stuck them on the wall, cutting off the excess tape.
- Just press the balloons into the mounting tape and you’re all good!
- If you are doing this outside, make sure the balloons are not in direct sunlight or they will deflate quickly and/or pop.
- My flag lasted a full 24 hours and could have lasted longer if the sun didn’t come out.
- Blow up extra balloons and just throw around on the floor for a fun look.
If a balloon wall seems like too much work, you can make a bunch of star stencils out of cardboard and spray paint a flag on your grass (it comes out, I promise!). You can lay in the grass and someone can take the picture from above. It’s a cute and holiday-appropriate alternative to the typical picture!
3. Decor – Less is More
I think less decor is more. Just focus on one area or one table instead of spending time and money on decorations you will never use again. I like to feature a few themed pieces like flags or balloons and then use flowers, linens and outdoor pillows to make a pop without going overboard with the store-bought decor. I am a fabric hoarder – I literally have bins and bins of random fabric that I use to make pillow cases and table runners and anything else I can think of to go along with a party theme. These fun pops just tie everything together! I know you are thinking that it is too much work to sew pillow covers and table runners, but you don’t even need to know how to sew. There are so many no-sew tutorials like this one that are super easy. Table runners are beyond easy – just cut and use fabric glue, and you got yourself an awesome decor piece that isn’t plastic and is reusable. Of course I had to throw some white sequins in there! You can use any type of material you want.
4. Kids Activities
If there are activities for the kids, everyone is happy.
Water Station: This will single-handedly keep the kids occupied for hours. Fill up tubs with Water balloons, Dollar Store squirt guns and animal bath toys. Use food coloring and dye the water red and blue.
Sidewalk Chalk Competition: Draw a flag or a patriotic hat or fireworks as a sample and have the kids copy them. Then, everyone votes on the winner.
Cookie Decorating: Pre-make sugar cookies in the shape of a rectangle, stars, circles, hats and use food coloring to dye icing red and blue, and then let the kids get creative. Put sprinkles, sugar stars, red hots, and white chocolate chips in small dishes, or use a muffin tin. These cookies can double as dessert, too!
5. 4th of July Playlist
I’ve never been to an epic party that didn’t have a sick playlist. Here are some songs from a variety of genres that will have everyone dancing:
- LMFAO – “Party Rock Anthem”
- DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince – “Summertime”
- Miley Cyrus – “Party in the U.S.A.”
- Lana Del Rey – “National Anthem”
- Bruce Springsteen, “Born In The U.S.A.”
- Kanye West and Jay-Z (The Throne) – “Made in America”
- Simon and Garfunkel – “America”
- Tom Canonman – “Ain’t that America”
- The Beach Boys – “Surfin’ USA”
- Lee Greenwood – “God Bless the USA”
- Tom Petty – “American Girl”
- Brad Paisley – “American Saturday Night”
- Demi Lovato – “Made In The U.S.A.”
- Katy Perry – “Firework”
- Lady Antebellum – “American Honey”
- John Mellencamp – “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.”
- Neil Diamond – “America”
- Taio Cruz – “Dynamite”
- Estelle and Kanye West – “American Boy”
- Lenny Kravitz – “American Woman”
- John Mellencamp – “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A.”
- Toby Keith – “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue”
- James Brown – “Living in America”
- Kid Rock – “American Badass”
- Don McLean – “American Pie”
- Celine Dion – “God Bless America”
- Carrie Underwood – “American Girl”
6. Have fun! Happy 4th, everyone!