Tag Archives: entertainment

Patriotic Party Decor

For Memorial Day we hosted a barbecue with my husbands family and I wanted to add some patriotic party decor. I was out of town the entire week leading up to the holiday and when I got home I didn’t have much time to put into anything intricate. So, I challenged myself. I wanted to spend one hour to create and only use supplies I could find online or already had in my craft box. I was pretty surprised how well it came together!

Outdoor Entertaining

I quickly found some really cute FREE Patriotic Printables online (that I showcased on Wednesday) and printed them out to use for a banner and food picks.



4th of July DIY banner


I glittered some clothespins and used them to secure the red and blue striped pennants to a length of ribbon. Then I tied that to the sides of my umbrella with balloons (I always keep the Dollar store assorted color balloons in my party box).

4th of July DIY Banner FREE Printables and glittered clothespins

For the table, I used my ornament hangers (also shown at this party) to hold balloons and a Patriotic Pinwheel Printable (found here). I also had pieces of plastic table covers left over from this party and used that over my white cloths for a pop of color.



4th of July FREE printable pinwheels

I wrapped some of the paper cups with the printable food labels, others I wrapped with the top of popcorn bags I had in the pantry (we have a popcorn maker so I keep bags on hand).



4th of July DIY Decorations drink wrappers

For the utincil holders I took an old baby formula can (cleaned it out) and wrapped it in a red napkin and more printables/pop corn bag tops and added a printable Patriotic Pinwheel printable. (It was really windy so some of our landscape rocks also made it into the decor to hold things down! :)) I had red plates and red and white napkins in my paper goods stash.


4th of July DIY Decorations

To dress up the fruit I added cupcake toppers to toothpicks. The kids loved taking them and using them to eat the fruit with.


Outdoor Entertaining Fresh Fruit - FREE printable patriotic circles

Yum, does it get any better than a grilled hamburger on a fresh bakery bun? I think not! Enjoy your holiday weekend and even if you don’t have a lot of time or any money to spend on decorations – you can do some really fun things that are simple, quick and will help your party feel patriotic!

4th of July Grilling

Wedding Reception Entertainment

When planning a wedding reception, there is a lot more to think about than the food and flowers. Gone are the days of selecting a color palette a passing that on to your florist.  It really is all about creating an experience for your guests. It’s very popular to add entertainment pieces to your reception to get guests away from their table, mingling and enjoying the evening together.

  • A photo booth has become a really fun accessory to have at a wedding! When you walk away from your wedding you want two things: to have a great time at the wedding and to have really great photos to keep so that in five, twenty or fifty years from now you can remember all of those good times. The photo booth accomplishes both! Whether you set up your own photo booth with lots of photo props, hire a booth or book one of the photo buses – your guests will love it!
  • Performance dancers can add a fun vibe to your reception, especially if it fits your theme. Ballroom, latin, salsa or hula dancers will light up the dance floor!
  • Fireworks – end the evening with a bang! Be sure to check your local rules and regulations. Where I live aerial fireworks are only permitted during certain calendar dates. Permission may be required, but your venue can assist you with making arrangements. 
  • Caricature artists are a really special way to send guests home with a fun memento of the day!
  • Karaoke hour! Whether you do it on the main stage or in a separate room – you know you’ve got guests who really think they can sing!
  • Dueling pianos are amazing to watch! The fees for renting two grand piano’s can be a little high, so be sure to check your venue rates first, but definitely consider this high energy option!
  • Carriage rides around the venue – especially if your reception is held in a garden of some sort or at Christmas time! So magical!
  • Culinary action stations or a culinary show. Serving bananas foster? Turn it into a show for the guests by having them served tableside!

Wedding Wednesday: Hors d’oeuvres reception

If you are planning a smaller reception/open house for your wedding, 100 guests or less (that is smaller for Utah), consider an hors d’oeuvres reception (yes, I did have to look up how to spell that, it’s a tricky word!). I wish I had done something like this for my own wedding because it provides a more social atmosphere by encouraging mingling. Your event will feel more like a party than if you serve a sit down meal. It may even be less expensive than the sit down meal, based on what you select to serve and it will definitely be more fun!

Here are some Hors d’oeuvres reception ideas to consider:


As long as you note on your invitation the type of event, guests will know what to plan for and won’t come expecting a meal. Plan for 6-8 bites per person. For lots of fun mini-food ideas visit here.

mini-burgers-and-fries mini-veggie-dips

You can have food stations placed around the room, have them passed by waiters (or willing nieces and nephews who otherwise would be running around causing a scene), or you could do a combination of both – have a few food stations around the room and then have a few items passed that fit the theme of your wedding.

I love using a Mini Plastic Dessert Cup and Mini Tasting Spoons to help control portion size!

Here are two important tips:

1- The more items you offer, the more you will need to prepare because chances are there will be many who want to taste it all. If you’d be safe to offer 3 savory, 3 sweet and two drink options.

2- Help yourself out by portioning the food for guests. Place a few veggies in a cup with some dip rather than placing everything on trays and allowing guests to portion items themselves.


diet coke cocktails

It is less common in Utah to offer an open bar because of the demographics. However, I love the idea of having an open soda bar. Have a station where guests can have a “bar tender” pour them a glass of their favorite soda and offer syrup mix-ins to make it fun. Or, do an Italian soda bar or offer a signature mocktail (that’s a nonalcoholic cocktail).


cocktail round

Rather than setting up large banquet round tables, go for tall cocktail rounds and add in a few that are low with 4 chairs per table. The way you set the room will tell guests what you want them to do. If you have large rounds with 8-10 chairs they will sit down and not move. But if they are at a cocktail round they will be up and will be more likely to socialize with each other.


wedding band

To continue the party atmosphere I really like the idea of live music for this type of wedding. You could do a band, a pianist, dueling pianos or something unique to your wedding theme (like steel drums). You could also choose to go with a DJ who will help keep the party going.

Image credits: burgers/veggies, diet coke, cocktail rounds, band

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