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How To Plan A Memorial Day Party: A Step By Step Guide 

Memorial Day is a special time to honor and remember those who have bravely served our country. It’s a time to come together with friends and family, enjoying good food, fun activities, and heartfelt conversations. If you’re looking to plan a Memorial Day party that will create lasting memories, look no further! In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through each stage of the planning process, ensuring that your party is a success. 

Set the Date and Time for Your Party 

The first step in planning your Memorial Day party is to set the date and time. Memorial Day falls on the last Monday of May, so this is typically the most convenient day to host your event. Consider the availability of your guests and any other events happening in your community. It’s also important to decide on a start and end time, so your guests can plan accordingly. 

When choosing the date for your Memorial Day party, it’s important to keep in mind the significance of the holiday. Memorial Day is a time to honor and remember the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the military. Hosting your party on the actual Memorial Day allows you and your guests to pay tribute to these brave individuals while enjoying the festivities. 

However, if you have friends and family members who may have other commitments on Memorial Day, you can consider hosting your party on a different day during the long weekend. This way, you can still celebrate the holiday and spend quality time with your loved ones without conflicting with their schedules. 

Another factor to consider when setting the date is the weather. Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer in many parts of the country, so it’s a great opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities. Check the weather forecast for your area and choose a day that is likely to have pleasant weather. This will allow you to plan outdoor games, barbecues, and other fun activities that your guests will enjoy. 

Once you have settled on the date, it’s time to determine the start and end time for your Memorial Day party. Consider the preferences of your guests and the age range of attendees. If you have families with young children, an afternoon party may be more suitable, allowing everyone to participate in the festivities before bedtime. On the other hand, if your guest list consists mainly of adults, an early evening cocktail party may be preferred, creating a more relaxed and social atmosphere. 

When deciding on the start and end time, take into account the duration of your planned activities. If you have a specific schedule of events, such as a barbecue followed by games and a bonfire, make sure to allocate enough time for each activity. This will ensure that your guests have ample opportunity to participate and enjoy all the planned festivities. 

Choose an Appropriate Location 

Next, you’ll need to choose a location for your Memorial Day party. Depending on your preferences and the size of your guest list, you have several options. Hosting the party at your home can provide a cozy and intimate atmosphere, while a local park or beach can offer a beautiful outdoor setting. Consider the weather forecast and any necessary permits you may need for your chosen location. 

Here are some unique ideas to enhance the atmosphere of your event: 

  1. Historical Venue. Opt for a location with historical significance, such as a museum, historic site, or even a preserved battlefield. This can add a meaningful touch to your Memorial Day gathering, honoring the historical context of the holiday. 
  1. Botanical Gardens. Select a botanical garden as your party venue to create a serene and peaceful environment. The natural beauty of the surroundings can serve as a backdrop for reflection, providing a tranquil space for remembering and honoring those who have served. 
  1. Military Memorial. Host your party near a military memorial or cemetery. This not only emphasizes the purpose of Memorial Day but also allows guests to pay their respects before or after the celebration. Check with local authorities for any specific guidelines regarding events at such locations. 
  1. Veterans’ Community Center. Consider hosting your event at a veterans’ community center or a venue that supports military personnel. This choice not only provides a fitting backdrop but also allows you to collaborate with organizations dedicated to serving and honoring veterans. 

Create a Guest List 

Now, it’s time to create your guest list. Start by considering who you want to invite – family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, or a combination of all.  

Create a VIP list for all veterans and active duty members. They should receive special notice for the event with details on logistics such as when they should arrive to take part in any veteran specific activities and accessibility options for those who need them.  

Keep in mind the space available at your chosen location and ensure that your guest list remains manageable. And don’t forget to send out invitations well in advance (at least 30 days), giving your guests plenty of time to RSVP. 

Select Decorations That Reflect the Holiday 

Memorial Day decorations can help set the tone for your party and create a patriotic atmosphere. Choose decorations that honor and reflect the holiday, such as American flags, red, white, and blue banners, and patriotic-themed tablecloths. Consider incorporating centerpieces that pay tribute to those who have served our country, such as a vase of red poppies or a display of military medals. 

We also love the following Memorial Day party decoration ideas

  1. Patriotic Balloon Garland 

Create a festive atmosphere by arranging red, white, and blue balloons into a vibrant balloon garland. Add metallic star-shaped balloons for an extra patriotic touch. Hang the garland as a backdrop for a photo booth or as a focal point in your party space. 

  1. Mason Jar Luminaries 

Repurpose mason jars into charming luminaries by painting them in patriotic colors or wrapping them with red, white, and blue ribbons. Place LED tea lights inside to illuminate your outdoor space as the sun sets. 

  1. Vintage Flag Bunting 

Opt for vintage-inspired flag bunting to add a touch of nostalgia to your decor. Hang it along fences, walls, or tables to infuse a classic Americana vibe into the celebration. 

  1. Military Photo Display 

Honor military service members by creating a photo display featuring pictures of friends and family who have served. Arrange the photos on a table with small American flags and patriotic accents for a heartfelt tribute. 

  1. DIY Patriotic Centerpieces 

Craft your own patriotic centerpieces using items like painted mason jars filled with white flowers, mini American flags, and small arrangements of red and blue candles. Scatter them across tables for a festive and cohesive look. 

  1. Patriotic Drink Station 

Set up a dedicated drink station with patriotic-colored beverages. Offer red and blue punch, and use decorative ice cubes with small fruit slices for a refreshing and visually appealing display. Remember to provide reusable patriotic cups or straws. 

  1. Grill-Themed Decor 

If you’re hosting a barbecue, incorporate grill-themed decor. Use miniature barbecue grills as table centerpieces, and place utensils, condiments, and napkins in red, white, and blue containers for a playful and functional touch. 

  1. Patriotic Pillow Arrangement 

Spruce up your outdoor seating area with patriotic throw pillows. Look for cushions in flag-inspired patterns, or DIY your own by adding fabric covers in red, white, and blue to existing pillows. 

  1. DIY Memorial Day Wreath 

Craft a Memorial Day wreath for your front door using a grapevine base and incorporating patriotic elements like ribbon, miniature flags, and faux flowers. Hang it as a welcoming symbol for your guests. 

  1. Chalkboard Signage 

Use chalkboard signs to display patriotic quotes, facts about Memorial Day, or a schedule of events. Place them strategically throughout the party space to both inform and engage your guests. 

Prepare Tasty Food and Drinks 

Food and drinks are essential to any party, and Memorial Day is no exception. Plan a menu that celebrates traditional American cuisine, such as hamburgers, hotdogs, barbecue chicken, and grilled vegetables. Remember to include vegetarian and vegan options to accommodate all dietary preferences. Offer a variety of refreshing drinks, including lemonade, iced tea, and patriotic-themed cocktails for the adults. 

Here are some more fun and unique ideas:  

  1. Slider Bar 

Set up a slider bar with mini burgers and a variety of toppings. Include classic options like lettuce, tomato, and cheese, as well as unique choices such as avocado, pineapple, and special sauces. Let guests customize their sliders. 

  1. Patriotic Fruit Skewers 

Create fruit skewers using strawberries, blueberries, and marshmallows to represent the colors of the American flag. Arrange them on a platter for a refreshing and visually appealing treat. 

  1. Grilled Pizza Station 

Set up a grilled pizza station to turn pizza-making into a fun activity. Provide a variety of toppings and let guests create their own personalized pizzas to be grilled on the spot. 

  1. All-American Hot Dog Bar 

Elevate the classic hot dog by offering a toppings bar with unique condiments and garnishes. Include options like sauerkraut, coleslaw, jalapeños, and different types of mustard for a gourmet twist. 

  1. BBQ Chicken Skewers 

Serve barbecue chicken skewers for a delicious and easy-to-eat option. Marinate the chicken in a flavorful barbecue sauce and grill to perfection. Provide extra sauce for dipping. 

  1. Caprese Salad Skewers 

Create bite-sized Caprese salad skewers with cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil leaves. Drizzle with balsamic glaze for a tasty and elegant appetizer. 

  1. Dessert Kabobs 

Make dessert interactive by assembling dessert kabobs with chunks of brownies, marshmallows, and strawberries. Provide a variety of dips like chocolate and caramel for guests to coat their kabobs. 

  1. Patriotic Popcorn Mix 

Mix popcorn with red and blue candies and drizzle with white chocolate. This sweet and salty mix not only looks festive but also satisfies cravings. 

Drink Ideas: 

  1. Berry Lemonade Sparklers 

Create a refreshing drink station with berry lemonade sparklers. Mix lemonade with assorted berries and add sparkling water for a fizzy kick. Serve over ice with a lemon slice for garnish. 

  1. Patriotic Punch Bowl 

Make a red, white, and blue punch using fruit juices, lemon-lime soda, and blue sports drink. For a festive touch, add frozen berries and pineapple chunks. 

  1. Watermelon Mint Cooler 

Blend fresh watermelon with mint and strain to create a delicious, hydrating watermelon mint cooler. Serve it in mason jars with ice for a cooling effect. 

  1. DIY Lemonade Bar 

Set up a DIY lemonade bar with various flavored syrups, fruit slices, and herbs like mint and basil. Allow guests to mix and match to create their own custom lemonade concoctions. 

  1. Cucumber Basil Limeade 

Infuse water or lemonade with cucumber slices, fresh basil, and lime wedges for a light and flavorful drink. Serve it in a large beverage dispenser for easy self-service. 

  1. Frozen Patriotic Margaritas 

Blend frozen margaritas with red and blue fruits like strawberries and blueberries. Rim glasses with colored sugar for an extra pop of color. 

  1. Iced Tea Station 

Provide a variety of iced teas, both sweetened and unsweetened, along with lemon wedges, mint leaves, and flavored syrups for guests to customize their iced tea. 

Organize Fun and Engaging Activities 

Keep your guests entertained throughout the day with fun and engaging activities. For example, you can organize a friendly game of flag football or set up a volleyball net for some spirited competition. You can also plan a scavenger hunt with patriotic-themed clues or set up a craft station where guests can create their own red, white, and blue party favors.  

Live music, a formal salute ceremony, and even sparkler lighting are all great for large groups as well. As a bonus, you may also want to consider fundraising for a veterans charity through a raffle or silent auction. Just remember to have activities suitable for all ages so that everyone can participate!  

Looking for more summer fun? Check out our labor day party ideas for even more inspiration.  

Enjoy the Day, and Give Thanks to Those Who Served 

On the day of your Memorial Day party, take a moment to reflect on the significance of the holiday. Remember those who have made sacrifices to protect our freedom and express your gratitude. Throughout the day, enjoy the company of your loved ones, indulge in delicious food, participate in fun activities, and create lasting memories. Use this party as an opportunity to honor and celebrate the brave men and women who have served our country.  

By following this step-by-step guide, you’ll be well on your way to planning a memorable Memorial Day party that pays tribute to the true meaning of the holiday. Remember to stay organized, enlist the help of friends and family, and, most importantly, have fun! 

Up next, check out our guide to planning an outdoor event