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Red, White, & Blue – Celebrating America

Throwing a backyard stars-and-stripes-themed soiree for close friends and family.

Every year I look forward to celebrating Independence Day! Food, fireworks and fun, the Fourth is one holiday that we truly never grow too old to enjoy.  I organized a backyard stars-and-stripes-themed soiree for close friends a few weeks ago, and am happy to share with you some of the details made the intimate evening so special. 

A Place for Everyone

Patriotic table

I loved the place settings we designed this year, adding to a soft but immediately-recognizable Fourth of July color palette.  A precise and curated tablescape is always appreciated, but the beauty in this set-up was its simplicity and warmth. Light chambray placemats hit the right chord of nostalgic Americana. Crisp white plates and elevated acrylic-accented cutlery felt casually elegant.  Placecards were set of course, I always think carefully about where my guests sit, but the calligraphy hand (on red, white and blue stars) was a deliberate departure from the Shakespearean serif of a formal reception. Red poppy and ranunculus sprinkled on the table, where I eschewed an over-the-top centerpiece for a playful yet sophisticated design.  The flowers should always meet the mood. 

Saluting the Stripes 

Patriotic table setting

Each hand-stitched cloth napkin was folded with a cheerful “firework” tie. A backyard BBQ is the perfect opportunity to depart from a matchy-matchy aesthetic and instead play with complementary, eclectic pieces that are thoughtfully assigned based on your group.  My husband is a veteran and a proud purple heart recipient; this holiday is especially important to him.  His unique red and white striped napkin was a subtle but heartfelt nod to his service and sacrifice, and a reminder of what Independence Day is really about. 

Menu, Please 

As a Midwesterner at heart, the Fourth of Julys of my childhood were quintessentially Norman Rockwell-esque.  Today, let’s be honest, my palette has evolved from the burgers off my dad’s grill.  I think the best part of the food on the Fourth is the variety!  One of my signatures is always putting an elegant, unexpected spin on ‘the usual’ – whether that be in golf apparel or cuisine – and this menu had everything from traditional St. Louis barbeque to the mahi mahi of the deep blue Hawaiian seas.  

All Fun & Games 

Cornhole game

I love having the open kitchen and dining areas at our house; they allow the nature and beauty of our surroundings into the party always.  Accenting the chairs and conversation sofas with American flag-themed pillows was an easy and festive way to tie the rooms together.  Taking advantage of the versatile indoor/outdoor spaces, how could I resist some good old fashioned cornhole – two sets, perfectly vintage and themed for the occasion of course – to spark up a little pre-dinner competition amongst friends?  There were mason jars filled with mini flags, sentimental details that still brought out the kids in all 6 of us grown-ups as we watched fireworks across the darkened skies.  The life-sized USA letters were fun, festive sight-line anchors, and the red, white and blue-ribbon flags that lined our dining area are tributes to the summer state fairs I used to visit as a young girl and teenager.  I’ve always valued fusing tradition and modernity – for dinner party or celebration. 

Red, White and YOU! 

USA Signs

Entertaining is in my blood; I grew up in the hospitality industry where I saw over and over how the details make the moments. Like many of you, I missed those moments dearly over the last year and was eager to create a joyful tribute to not only America’s birthday but a return to joy and the patriotic themes that make this time of year so meaningful.  This Fourth of July, I also raise a toast to you! To good health, family – and freedom. May this only be the beginning of many more celebrations to come.