Susie had SO much to celebrate for 4th of July last year: her husband’s homecoming from the Navy, her daughter’s first birthday, a big move across the country, AND Independence Day! One great big celebration was the way to go, of course, so she put together a wonderful Patriotic Pinwheels Party to celebrate with all their friends & family. Read on for tons of great red, white, and blue party inspiration, plus a detailed recap of the event from Susie. There are so many great ideas here for any 4th of July celebration!
PARTY HIGHLIGHTS to look out for:
- Flag sunglasses & patriotic leis as festive USA-themed “bling” for guests
- Star shaped sandwiches with mini pinwheel toppers
- Clever drinks: “Old Faithful”, “True Blue”, and “Rocket’s Red Glare”
- Adorable patriotic polka dot birthday girl outfit (+ matching patriotic flower for mom!)
PARTY DETAILS, as told by Susie…
We had many reasons to celebrate on the 4th of July last year. Our sweet baby Jane was turning 1, her Daddy just arrived home from a six-month deployment, we would be moving a few weeks later from San Diego, CA to Annapolis, MD, for our next adventure with the Navy, and it was Independence Day! So, we invited all of our friends and family to join us to CELEBRATE!!!
I decided patriotic pinwheels would be the theme for the party. I purchased the 4th of July Pinwheels Printable Design by Anders Ruff and their sample themed party served as my inspiration.
The invitations included a picture of a birthday cake with a real birthday candle glued on and a tiny handmade pinwheel on top. I also printed out patterned paper (from the Anders Ruff collection) to line the envelopes. I always feel like it’s worth investing in fun invitations as they set the tone and theme for the party.
For the décor, I lined our walkway with American flags and great big pinwheels that I purchased at Big Lots. We had lots of patriotic bunting and flags around our yard. Right inside the door, I hung patriotic pennant flags that I found in the dollar bin at Target and put white letters on it that said, Happy Birthday Janie.” I also used one set of flags to display the 12 months of photos I had taken of Janie each month over the past year. Above the flags, I hung patriotic folding fans that I purchased at Party City. Party City also had really cute red and white polka dot balloons that I had around the house.
For the tables, I used red and white gingham and blue and white gingham tablecloths. I spray painted mason jars red, white and blue after seeing a tutorial on Joys Hope blog. For the centerpieces, I used red gerbera daises and babies’ breath in the mason jars with some small flags. For the kids’ table, I filled the mason jars with rice and put in some pinwheels.
As guests entered, they adorned themselves with some “Festive Bling”: patriotic sunglasses, necklaces, and hats to wear. Since we had many friends from different circles I had everyone put on a nametag that I made using Avery Labels. The adult labels said, “I’m very friendly and would love to meet you. My name is…” And the kids labels said, “Hi! Do you want to play with me? My name is…”
For food, I didn’t want someone tied to the grill all day, so we had a make your own taco salad bar and served them in star shaped tortilla shells. I was able to make the chicken, beef, rice and beans ahead of time and put out fruit and chips on the day of the party. I also made star shaped pb&j sandwiches for the kids.
As for drinks, I bought vintage sodas from Cost Plus World Market and both the kids and adults loved drinking Strawberry Soda from a glass bottle. I also filled drink dispensers that I bought from Wal-Mart with Red Cool Aid (Rocket’s Red Glare), water (Old Faithful), and blue Cool Aid (True Blue Juice) and used the Anders Ruff labels on them. There were blue and white paper straws available as well.
The dessert table was my labor of love. The pinwheel cookies were my absolute favorite! My friend Sunny Spencer made them as Janie’s birthday present and I stuck them in Styrofoam that I covered with red wrapping paper and ribbon. I also spray painted the lids of baby food jars and put on a circle printable from the Anders Ruff collection and filled them with yogurt-covered raisins. Another favorite were the mini-berry pies in small mason jars. The rest of the candy came from Oriental Trading Co. I bought red and white striped treat bags and used a star punch out on the top and put a sign next to it that said, “Being 1 is Sweet, Before You Leave, Take a Treat!” I made the cupcakes and layered Janie’s cake to be red, white and blue.
My other favorite thing about the party was Janie’s cute birthday onesie and headband. My friend Jaylene Farry (Farry Creations) made these as a birthday present to Janie and they turned out ADORABLE!
To keep the kids busy, I bought mini wooden pinwheels from Oriental Trading Co. that had stars on them. I spray-painted them red, white and blue and put out star stickers for the kids to decorate them. I used the drink tags from Anders Ruff printed out on label paper so the kids could peel and stick them on their finished creation. We also rented a huge giant bounce house for the yard, which is a guaranteed way to keep the kids entertained! (As a side note, I’ve learned that inflatable slides are much better to rent than the square enclosed ones. There are fewer accidents of kids bumping in to each other and it doesn’t get so hot inside.)
The day turned out perfect in every way! Everyone had a blast and it was the best birthday/welcome home/farewell to friends/4th of July party we could have asked for!
- Event Styling: Susie Salinas Events
- Photographer: Natalie Bray Photography
- Printables: Anders Ruff
- Invitation: Eri Stamps
- Giant Pinwheels: Big Lots
- Pinwheel & Star Cookies: Sunny Spencer (stay at home mom and baker extraordinaire)
- Birthday Onesie & Headband: Farry Creations
- Stars & Stripes Pennant Flag: Target
- Drink Dispensers: Wal-Mart
- Blue Paper Straw and Red/White Stripe Treat Bags: The Sugar Diva
- DIY Spray Painting Mason Jars: Joys Hope Blog
- DIY berry pies in small mason jars: Paiges of Style
- Wooden Pinwheels, Patriotic swirl Pops & Candy: Oriental Trading Co
- Pinwheels with Candy, Vintage Sodas: Cost Plus World Market (worldmarket.com)
- Patriotic Hanging Fans: Party City
- Star Shaped Tortilla Shell Makers: amazon.com