A 4th of July party can be fun, fabulous AND frugal with the right tips. “Summer is a great time for budget-friendly parties,” says Cindy Shanholtz, owner of Chicago event planning company Effortless Events. “July 4th parties especially are easy and fun to embrace a theme and run with. They can be relaxed and casual but with elements that guests will absolutely love.”
Cindy offers the following tips for a fun, wallet-friendly 4th of July party:
+Interactive food bars – Affordable and interactive, food bars add a fun twist to the party menu. Favorite American foods are elevated with unique and interesting condiments.
+Hot dog bar - Throw on your favorite hot dogs and sausages and the best buns you can find. Ask guests to bring their favorite or hometown toppings. Guests can create all sorts of different American dogs such as Coney Island dogs, Cincinnati dogs, Chicago dogs etc.
+Burger party with boozy milk shakes – Think outside of the box for unique burgers with condiments like banana peppers and feta cheese, raw mustard greens with an over easy egg and pickled red onion, crispy sweetbread strips, avocado chili spread, spicy beer BBQ sauce, carrot chili slaw and scallion bacon ketchup. Supply a few different types of burger like beef, turkey, portabella, and tuna. Serve alcoholic milk shakes like salted caramel milkshake with tequila and caramel sauce.
+Salad bar – Cutting down on meat items helps a lot with budget. You can do artichoke, seafood, antipasto, avocado, pasta etc.
+Adult ice cream night – High quality sorbets, ice creams and Italian ices spiked with different liquors and fun toppings will have adults interacting and comparing their “masterpieces.” Or rent a good humor cart and watch the guys in the group ponder a “Choco Taco” or sundae cone.
+Appetizer party – Mix items from Costco’s freezer section (which has some nice options!) with homemade crostinis such as crab, chili and mint or peach, prosciutto and ricotta cheese.
+Focus mainly on basic, affordable ingredients and mix with some high-end ingredient items in small portions o Simple, quality ingredients such as a nice marinated flank steak and a fresh salad like peaches, basil and sweet onion or grilled pineapple, basil and cucumber
+High brow ingredients in small portions such as grilled cheese with shrimp and mini lobster tacos
+Control your bar – Beer, wine and 1 specialty drink (Try a Jalapeño margarita) is perfect. You don’t need a hard liquor bar in the summertime and it just runs up the bill!
+Summery, patriotic décor ideas o Fill mason jars with red, white and blue marbles (or gum balls), tie red, white or blue ribbon around the jar and stick a miniature flag inside the jar.
+Use oversized red/white/blue bandanas as placemats or table overlays.
+Plastic beach pails in different colors from the Dollar Store can be used to put salads and toppings in.
+Put drinks in a red wheel barrel or wagon or try large plastic red and blue tubs from Target with white stars painted or stenciled on the side.
+Cut down on expensive (environmentally unfriendly) disposables and mix in your own daily china.
+Get plants from Home Depot and put a bunch in the middle of the party table(s.) Try red, white and blue flowers or simply tie patriotic colored ribbon around everyday plants. You can then reuse the plants later in your home!
+Red, White and Blue balloons as table top decorations for your food buffet are a fun, easy and relatively inexpensive way to make a big impact.