The Fourth of July is just around the corner, and I am delighted to welcome Carla McDonald, Founder and Editor in Chief The Salonniere, who is guest posting her favorite patriotic party tips today at The Glam Pad! The Salonniere is the nation’s leading website dedicated to the art of entertaining, and of course you may be familiar with the Salonniere 100, an annual list honoring America’s 100 best party hosts.
Carla is often cited in the media as an expert on entertaining and throwing great parties. She has been quoted in notable publications, including Town & Country, Veranda, Elle Decor, Women’s Wear Daily, Southern Living, Real Simple, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. In addition, she will be featured in the upcoming book, Entertaining at Home: Personal Reflections from Seasoned Hosts (Rizzoli) by Ronda Carman. Welcome, Carla!
Five Fun, Festive, and Easy Ways to Add Patriotic Pomp to your July 4th Party
By Carla McDonald, Founder and Editor in Chief, The Salonniere
1. Offer an All-American Signature Cocktail. As soon as your guests arrive, offer them a signature cocktail to set a patriotic party tone. I like to serve Fish House Punch at my Independence Day gatherings because of the all-American tale behind it. A delicious, lemony concoction, it was created by a group of spirited colonial Americans who founded a club in Pennsylvania called the Schuylkill Fishing Company. A visitor to the club in 1744 wrote that he’d enjoyed a “bowl of fine lemon punch big enough to have swimmed half a dozen of young geese.” A signature cocktail should be a good conversation starter and a delicious libation.
2. Hit the Right Notes. Nothing gets guests in the mood to celebrate America’s birthday more than a playlist filled with patriotic anthems and oldies-but-goodies that bring back memories of growing up in the U.S.A. Click here to download The Salonniere’s Uncle-Sam Jam, a party playlist that features 50 festive, all-American tunes from Bruce Springsteen and The Beach Boys to Neil Young and Madonna.
3. Try Punting on Bunting. Explore the many wonderful party décor options that exist beyond the traditional choices of bunting, tiny American flags, and equal parts of red, white, and blue. For my July 4th parties, I like to focus on red, white, OR blue as the primary color and sprinkle in little touches of the other hues. For example, nothing says “America” like a little red wagon filled with ice and bottled drinks, a red gingham tablecloth, pots of red geraniums, and a pretty watermelon salad. And don’t be afraid to add glammy touches of silver or gold to your Independence Day fête. It is a celebration, after all.
4. Celebrate Your Independence. I always keep my Independence Day menu on the simple side so I can stay free of kitchen stress. I stick to things that I can make ahead of time, like classic apple and blueberry pies and fresh salads, and easy, all-American dishes like burgers, fried chicken (store-bought if I need to save time), corn on the cob, and grilled vegetables. Setting up a help-yourself drinks table and dessert bar are also great ways to ensure that you’ll spend less time serving and more time socializing.
5. Add Sparkle: Sparklers are classic, festive, and make July 4th parties sizzle—literally. Sure, they can be handed out after dark or while you’re watching fireworks, but they are also a fun dessert “garnish.” To create a sparkling party moment, give each guest a sparkler and then join together in singing “Happy Birthday” to America. It’s a wonderful way to cap off a patriotic party.
The Salonniere (“sal-on-yair”) is the nation’s leading website dedicated to the art of entertaining. Named for the 17th and 18th century women whose influential parties—called salons—introduced the power and delight of intellectually and culturally engaging social gatherings, The Salonniere was founded by Carla McDonald in 2013 to celebrate the universal joy of social revelry and the people who are continuing the tradition of hosting parties to support causes, advance ideas, and bring joy to others.