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Nothing says “Southern hospitality” more than opening your home to family and friends, which is why entertaining as a newlywed couple can be so joyful. It’s a great way to connect with loved ones after your wedding, not to mention the perfect excuse to pull out some of those fun gifts from your registry! We know it can also be a little bit intimidating to host for the first time as a married couple, which is why we planned our early Fourth of July potluck with newlyweds in mind every step of the way. We hope our tips will help you organize your plans and host with ease and grace, ending with the ever-so-Southern parting line, “Y’all come back now!”

Thanks to Blue Ribbon Vendor Graham Terhune for these lovely photos – it was so fun to have our gents by our side for this potluck!

Tips for Stress-Free Newlywed Entertaining
1. Let your friends help—a potluck automatically takes pressure off of the hostess! A kraft paper tablecloth and white markers on your buffet table lets guests label their dishes easily.
2. It’s okay to buy pre-prepared foods if you’re short on time. Transfer them to your favorite dishes, add fresh herbs, and you’re all set!
3. Don’t go crazy with details—instead, choose a few easy, impactful projects to focus on. In our case, we pooled our red, white, and blue kitchen supplies for the buffet and displayed a flag pie.
4. A little favor is a great way to make an ordinary dinner feel more like an event. Our blueberries to-go took less than five minutes to assemble!
5. Cloth napkins are not only environmentally friendly; they also look more polished and are better for messy foods.
6. Guidance on what guests should wear is often welcome, and it can be a fun way to keep your whole party cohesive. Our dress code was simply “Fourth of July festive.”
7. Summer is the perfect time to entertain if your home is short on seating—grab a handful of picnic blankets and set up outside instead.
8. Don’t forget the bug spray!

In case you’re planning your own dinner or attending a potluck and are looking for ideas, here’s an outline of how our food spread turned out! We split up main dishes, sides, drinks, and desserts ahead of time and coordinated them through a shared Google doc. Knowing what each person was bringing was helpful for our small group to ensure we ended up with a well-rounded meal, but a larger group probably wouldn’t need to.

Entree: Grilled chicken and sausage
Sides: Watermelon with mint, grilled corn, Mediterranean quinoa salad, spinach salad with berries and pecans, chips and guacamole, crackers and pimento cheese, corn bread
Dessert: Berry cream pie
Drinks: Sparkling berry lemonade

What are your Fourth of July plans? We’d love to hear!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Leigh Ann reply

    This is so great! Would you ladies mind sharing your recipes?? Every bit of this looks delicious!

  2. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    The rooster watermelon bites are too cute! All those little details, the chips cut into stars, help everything really tie together.

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To me, nothing screams summertime quite like a good barbecue, cookout or picnic. You know everyone else is thinking the same thing when you walk outside and smell charcoal and sizzling burgers. Barbecues are all about taking advantage of the warm weather to gather your friends and family outside for one the most basic acts of community and caring: breaking bread.

Image credits: Row 1: Luxe and Lillies, Oh Darling! via Southern Weddings, The Happy Couple via Brides; Row 2: Gabe Aceves via Southern Weddings, Jonathan Ong via Eat, Drink, Chic; Row 3: (Once Like a Spark) Photography via Every Last Detail, Green Wedding Shoes, Bella Grace Studios via Southern Weddings

Whether you’re planning a casual rehearsal dinner, engagement party or just trying to get some good grub on the table, the basics are the same. Ditch the fancy china and head outdoors — just don’t forget a sunhat and some bug spray!

A. Grab a blanket and pop a squat on the grass. We love this tablecloth for its summery berry pattern, but also because spilled barbecue sauce blends right in!

B. Ain’t nothin’ we love more than an adorable koozie! Keep your hands warm and dry while sporting your monogram.

C. Gingham basket liners are perfect for catching cole slaw drips and corralling hush puppies.

D. Leave the fancy ceramic berry baskets at home. These cute wooden baskets are ideal for passing around strawberries and blueberries.

E. No one wants a fly in their drink! These mason jar sippers keep a top on your drink while sporting a straw for easy hydration in between games of cornhole or frisbee.

F. Pull your hair back (and away from dripping barbecue sauce!) with this fabric headband.

G. A handy kitchen towel goes a long way for the grill master. We like the cheeky reminder on this option.

H. Versatile, biodegradable and fun-sized, these sporks are the only utensil you’ll need for baked beans and strawberry shortcake.

I. Dress up your outdoors a bit with sunny patterned bunting.

J. We know barbecues are finger-lickin’ good, but don’t forget the moist wipes for those extra sticky fingers. Find a site to customize them for extra fun.

K. Y’all know no gathering’s complete without a pie! Bring your mama’s best recipe in this fluted dish.

What are your summer barbecue essentials?

Looking for more Summer in the South? Check out our last post: A Day at the Lake.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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