If you’ve known any of us for a length of time, you’ll quickly learn how much we love to host a shindig. The attention we pay to details might be a little concerning to some, but it all pays off when everything comes together in perfect harmony. Creating an atmosphere for friends or family where everyone feels at ease and comfortable is really important to us. Whether it’s to celebrate someone else’s big day or just the weather and being with people we love, we aren’t afraid to put some effort in to make it a special day!
There’s no better holiday than the 4th of July to throw the perfect summer picnic. We may have gone a little over the top (duh – have you met us?), but we’re pretty proud of our picnic setup. With the help of Pinterest and Target we put together the summer picnic dreams are made of. If you’re looking for tips on throwing the best party to celebrate America’s birthday, look no further! Without further ado, here is how to host the most American 4th of July picnic!
The town of Cape Charles, Virginia is a tiny hidden gem on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. If you were to drive straight along route 13 headed towards Maryland you might even miss it. However, if you’re looking for the perfect little getaway it’s the place to stop. Our location for this shoot was at our good friends, Naomi and David Darg’s farm which is located on a pretty historic piece of land. Sticking with our patriotic theme, their farmhouse now sits on land that Martha Washington herself owned. Before moving to Arlington, Virginia and marrying George Washington, she had a home on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. Part of a brick kiln she used is still located on their land. A very big thank you to the Dargs for letting us use their home! As you can tell it was the perfect spot for this celebration of America’s independence.
The Set Up
We decided to create something resembling a tent to add a different spin to the tradition picnic and we’re really proud of how it turned out. We grabbed a piece of PVC pipe from the plumbing section at Lowe’s, ordered 10 yards of fabric from Amazon, & picked up some $3 rope from Walmart for our tent. Kylie had an idea in her head of how to rig it from one of the trees out front, so with some trial and error it all came to life! A quick trip to Target (literally less than 30 minutes – unheard of) provided the picnic blankets, flag bunting, pinwheels, and pillows to bring everything together. We cut a piece of the fabric & attached it to the back with safety pins to close off the tent.
The pinwheels came in handy as a way to keep the fabric pinned down & the walls in place. #resourceful. No picnic is complete without a picnic basket, and luckily Ashley owns the most beautiful picnic basket (shout out to Peter for the best gift). The white tent and colored blankets were the perfect compliment to the main attraction: the food!
When you think 4th of July what comes to mind? Your answer better have been red, white and blue. If it wasn’t you may want to check what country you live in. Clearly our answer was anything red, white and blue, and we may have gone a little color crazy.
Let’s start with drinks. Since the 4th of July falls in, well, the month of July, it’s normally a billion degrees outside, so we went with the classic hydrating drink of water, with fruity patriotic ice cubes! These were the easiest thing to make. We took blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and edible silver star sprinkles and froze them all together. As the ice melts the fruit starts to flavor the water and before you know it you’re well hydrated and have a tasty red and blue flavored water!
Next came appetizers. We made Flag Fruit Kabobs! These were so simple: find a photo of the flag, use blueberries for the stars, then alternate raspberries and mini marshmallows for the stripes. These are easy, tasty and are mostly fruit – so they have to be good for you right?
For our savory appetizer we made a charcuterie tray. A charcuterie tray may seem overwhelming, but we promise you, they can be so easy! Start with your choices of cheese. Ideally you want a mixture of cheeses with different textures. We chose Brie for our a soft cheese, Gouda and an aged Cheddar for our medium cheeses and Parmesan for our hard cheese. Next, choose your meats. Salty cured meats that compliment your cheeses are best. We had two types of salami and prosciutto. Then, add some fruit! We kept it simple and added red grapes (clearly sticking with our red, white and blue theme). The final steps are your crackers or bread. We went with salted pita crackers and a simple entertaining cracker for a difference in textures. After that we decided a bit of hummus and some green olives really completed our tray. See? We told you, easy. Maybe a bit time consuming but easy for sure. Find what you like, stick it all together on a fancy tray and call it a day. You’re welcome.
Our final “appetizer” was a 7-layer flag dip! Who doesn’t love a good 7-layer dip? Start with a layer of refried beans, then hummus mixed with taco seasoning, a layer of chunky salsa (the less watery the better), followed by pico de gallo and guacamole. Use black beans for your blue stars, and alternate Monterey Jack cheese and halved cherry tomatoes for you stripes!
Finally comes desserts. Nothing says America more than apple pie. What’s better than apple pie? MINI APPLE PIES. Yep, you read that correctly, mini apple pies. You’re welcome. We purchased these at Walmart. Cute and easy? Yes please.
We also had Celebration Pretzel sticks! Use pretzel sticks and dip them into melted candy melts and while the candy melt is still melted sprinkle with your favorite patriotic sprinkles! We only dipped the top half so they were easy to pick up from the bottom and eat. They are the perfect salty-sweet snack. We also made Rice Krispie treats and decorated them with blue and white icing. Rice Krispie treats are such a classic snack, and once cut into squares they’re easy to serve!
Our final and possibly yummiest dessert was Red, White and Blue Firework Treats! The recipe calls for chow mein noodles (we decided to use crushed up pretzel sticks instead), peanuts, more candy melts and sprinkles. They were so good and looked adorable!
On a practical note, make sure you have plenty of napkins, silverware, plates, straws, and trash disposal. We may have forgotten to take a serving spoon out to the picnic and got a little messy while digging into the 7-layer flag dip… (#worthit)
Our finishing touches included a bunch of balloons, an American flag, & SPARKLERS. We would argue that it’s not a real celebration of America without sparklers or fireworks – it just wouldn’t be right.
Here’s to America and celebrating her the way she deserves to be celebrated! It was the perfect day full of good food, best friends and lots of laughs. We hope this sparked some inspiration for your next picnic! Share your photos of your 4th of July celebrations with us by tagging us on Instagram. We can’t wait to see how you celebrated!