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What started as a side hustle for two creative, driven sisters has now become one of the Midwest’s premier event planning and design firms. At Elevate, we find pure, unbridled joy in celebrating all aspects of life - big moments, small gatherings and anything in between.

A Touch of Style with Meredith: Throwing a Backyard Summer Holiday Party

Hosting a summer backyard party is so fun and exciting, whether it’s an intimate gathering with friends or an outdoor barbecue! I recently styled and planned an outdoor Fourth of July party for our Elevate team, and I hope my experience can provide you with some helpful tips!

My theme for our event was a stylish backyard celebration on Lake Mendota. For colors, I chose an elegant patriotic style using primarily soft blues and whites, with just a touch of red.  

Style Details

I couldn’t resist putting together a beautiful and cohesive tablescape for our outdoor event. Light blues, greys and creamy whites are perfect for a midsummer, July 4th-inspired design, and the white plates, natural woven chargers, and blue wine glasses created the ideal mix of casual outdoor elegance. And if you know me, you know that I believe NO table is complete without a beautiful flower arrangement; so I used a mix of white hydrangeas and greenery picked up from Whole Foods.  

Of course, the perfect tablescape needs a festive outfit to match, and my ensemble for this party was so much fun to pick out!  I chose a two-piece top and skirt from Abercrombie, incorporating white with blue florals to match the style of the overall event. All the girls on the team looked beautiful in their red, white, and blue outfits!  

Is any summer holiday party complete without s’mores and sparklers? I couldn’t resist incorporating into the decor these two perfect summer details. Always remember to have the basics on hand – sunscreen, bug spray, outdoor games, and enough chairs to have around your campfire or for watching fireworks. 

Food & Drink 

Food prep can be a lot of work and take up much of your time as a host. To focus on the guests, decor, and outdoor activities, we chose to have this celebration catered by Pasture & Plenty. A summer holiday party often calls for food hot off the grill; so if you’re having a barbeque this may be the perfect occasion to ask your guests to bring their favorite side or dessert so you can focus on the mains! 

Our Fourth of July Party Menu:

Grain & Roasted Vegetable Salad

Green Market Salad with Chicken 

Wisconsin Artisan Cheese Platter

There are so many patriotic July 4th themed desserts to choose from! We chose a strawberry and blueberry trifle with lemon cake and chantilly cream.  Garnishing this dessert with sparklers added a festive touch.  

Of course, a midsummer holiday party absolutely calls for a refreshing cocktail! I chose to serve a Raspberry & Lemon Rosé Sparkler, and garnished with berries to give it a patriotic touch! Don’t forget some chilled bubbly on hand, too, for that spontaneous toast (always a must with us). 🙂  And if you’re going to be in the sun for a long time, make sure to have plenty of water on hand for your guests as well.  

Raspberry & Lemon Rosé Sparkler:

  • 1 1/2 pt. fresh raspberries
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 bottle sparkling rosé, chilled
  • Sliced lemons and raspberries, for serving
  • Smash raspberries with sugar and lemon juice in a pitcher. Top with sparkling rosé. Serve over ice with sliced lemons and raspberries. 

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t take things for granted and need to be flexible and ready to pivot when plans don’t go our way. This is definitely the year of small outdoor gatherings, and what better way to celebrate than with an elevated holiday party! Have fun celebrating!



Vendor Credits

Catering | Pasture & Plenty  | @pastureandplenty

Photography| Katie Ann Photography |@itskatieannphoto

Sign & Placecards | Scribbles & Dot Calligraphy | @scribblesanddotcalligraphy

And a VERY special thank you to Gail and Jeff Stitgen for graciously allowing us to host this event in their beautiful backyard!