8 tips for your Memorial Day party

A mini American flag in a planting pot

Memorial Day is often considered the unofficial start to summer. With a long weekend (three days!), sunny weather and numerous BBQs and sporting events to look forward to, there's no better way to build the foundation for a great summer.

If you're one of those people playing host to a Memorial Day bash – be it pool party, BBQ or picnic, here are a few tips to help you plan a winning event:

1. Put a twist on the traditional Americana theme.
Much like the Fourth of July, Memorial Day barbecues are often bathed  in the 'ole red, white and blue. While you don't have to cover everything in red, white and blue, you can consider using flags and other Americana accents. For example, the Nest suggested hosting a southern BBQ with festive drink stirrers, or a California-flavored picnic on a flag-themed tablecloth. It's all in the details.

2. Assign your kids decoration duty.
Planning a party can be a bit overwhelming, what with the food to make, the invitations to send and all the cleaning you have to do. So why not lighten your load and keep your kids busy by having them make festive accents? From decorating the table with a crepe paper runner or creating handprint fireworks, there are crafts for kids of any age that suit all of your decor needs.

3. Send physical invitations.
Yes, e-vites have made sending invitations a snap – a few minutes of filling in party details and guests' email addresses and voila – you're done! However, for a change of pace, try sending your guests paper invitations. With the popularity of email, retrieving a note from your physical mailbox can be a true delight and novelty!

4. Go green with your red, white and blue.
It's happened to all of us before – your Memorial Day party is over and your garbage cans are overflowing with plasticware and food scraps. This year try going green with your festivities. Decorate with flowers from your garden or encourage people to be the party's decor by coming in red, white or blue outfits, Earth911 suggested. You can also buy recyclable or biodegradable paper plates, silverware and straws. If your guests won't revolt, you can even try hosting a vegetarian BBQ, or just lessening the focus on meat products.

5. Make games a BIG part of the event.
Sure, you could set up cornhole for your guests, and everyone would be sure to have a great time. Why not create oversized versions of classic games, though? Try a super-sized Twister board. You can make this with picnic blankets and construction paper, or you can always go to your local office supply store to have one printed out on material that can be used again and again. If you're not very flexible or worried about someone breaking a hip, check out this oversized game of Jenga from A Beautiful Mess. Creating it can be another fun way to keep the kids occupied.

6. Jazz up water.
On what many hope to be a sunny, warm weekend, you'll want to make sure all of your guests stay well hydrated. While you do so, why not make water a bit more festive? The blog DesignLoveFest showed how you can make fruit ice cubes. You can even create combos like lemon and rosemary or cucumber and mint, or if you really want to infuse some patriotism, try a fruit combo such as blueberries and strawberries.