You’re planning your wedding around the time that dear cousin Leah gets back from her exchange student stint in India, Uncle Mark’s done with his plantar wart surgery, and — oh yeah — a long weekend you can linger over with your best college friends.

Pretty soon, you notice that the Fourth of July happens to fit the bill for all three. Plus, the weather’s historically perfect in your area around then. What better time to weave a little patriotic fervor into your nuptial bliss?

But Uncle Sam Isn’t Invited

Sure, you’re proud to be American, but that doesn’t mean you why your wedding to look like a wacky collision between “Showgirls” and Walgreen’s on the Fourth of July, or wear a wedding gown patterned after Old Glory. No, you want to keep things low-key and tasteful. Here are some ideas for staying on the right side of what can sometimes be a fine line.

Shop Patriotic & Military Themed Wedding Favors 

Start Off Slow

The ideal backdrop for patriotic wedding is lots of clear, crisp white, and sophisticated silver. Go with bright white table linens, crisp white chair covers and accent with silver chair sashes. You don’t want to get too wild with the competing and muscular hues of red and blue just yet. Use tasteful placecard holders in the shape of silver stars to guide guests to their tables. Delight your guests with a similarly toned-down favor such as a star-studded votive candle, wrapped in a luxurious organza ribbon or a crisp clear box and placed in the middle of each plate.

You’ll want to clue in your guests to the theme with your very first bridal missive, so send an understated invitation embellished with an embossed silver star, or a small American flag.

A traditional, elegant centerpiece will give off sparks at your Fourth of July wedding. Use floral arrangements of tightly packed, deep red roses punctuated by star-shaped stephanotis studded with pearl pins.

We can’t deny it — we love bunting flags. You know, bunting — those ruched half-moon fabric adornments you see draped over the porch of every Cape Cod house in certain parts of the country. It’s beautiful. We could all wear bunting to the grocery store or movie premieres and we’d probably look fantastic. Bunting is a terrific way to add patriotism at its most decorative to your reception site. Just don’t overdo it — a few flags are probably plenty. Stick to white tulle for surrounding adornment, and you’ll have a beautiful and totally bridal statement.

Where to Get Whimsical

Certain areas at the reception just beg for a little humor. Signature cocktails are one. Why not treat your guests to a few hundred glasses of ice cold lemonade? Make it special by serving up half red (made with raspberries and a splash of vodka) and half blue (made with blueberries and blue curacao). Garnish each drink with the appropriate berries and a sprig of fresh mint.

Ring bearers and flower girls are a fun place to elicit some chuckles and even go over-the-top. After all, you could dress your ring bearer as a tiny Uncle Sam, and have him deliver your rings to the altar in a starred and striped top hat. And you could dress up your flower girl as a miniature Statue of Liberty.

Or, you could be a model of restraint and send a flotilla of young flower girls down the aisles armed with beautiful red and white pomanders dangling from red satin ribbons.

As for the cake, there’s no way around it — red, white and blue is probably going to look garish. But a sleek white cake adorned with large silver stars and a red fondant ribbon will be elegant and gorgeous. For an opulent yet homey touch, surround your baker’s masterpiece with strawberries dipped in white chocolate.

Shop Patriotic & Military Themed Wedding Favors 

More Tips for a Fourth Fling

Stars can steal the show yet again if you’re having a tent wedding. Try dangling svelte cylinder paper lanterns from the ceiling in red or silver, with punched-out stars.And if you’re in need of an impromptu arch or a way to jazz up the cake table, try red Gerber daisies dangling from a curtain of white satin ribbons.

Soul food is turning up at even the most chic and urban weddings these days, so serve up American classics. But this is a wedding, so put a “this is a special occasion” spin on it. Don’t just serve cheeseburgers: served mini cheeseburgers and mini ribs so guests can pick, choose and nibble. Ice cream’s sure to be a big hit, but serve something special — ice cream “truffles” dipped in dark chocolate shavings or pecans, or ice cream boasting grown-up flavors like stout, or pressed like bombes into intriguing shapes and flavors and sliced for serving. Corn on the cob’s a crowd-pleaser, but serve it with sage butter, fresh lime and crumbled feta and you’ve got something remarkable.

An outdoor wedding, and especially a patriotic one, really calls for a band. And if you want to leave your guests with a lump in their throats and some memories like no other, take advantage of some of the ways that music has plugged into the American situation, especially since events like 9/11. You don’t want to bring your party down, but why not pay homage in a romantic vein by having your band play Springsteen’s “Waitin’ On A Sunny Day” from The Rising? If you’ve got a taste for country, try this list of Country Music Patriotic Songs. And if you’ve got a talented vocalist on hand, even the familiar “America the Beautiful” is sure to bring out a tear or two.

A Fabulous Finale

Sparklers are pretty much a must for any wedding that features the red, white and blue. And as long as it isn’t going to be overshadowed by your town or city’s evening entertainment, you can even charter a real fireworks display for your very own wedding (asking the technicians to go heavy on your wedding colors). Check your yellow pages or call a few local events managers for names.

Another surprisingly beautiful option is a giant balloon release (have a balloon artist pile red, white and blue helium balloons in a net for a dramatic post-ceremony release). Make sure local regulators are relaxed about this ahead of time.

Want More?

Another place for planning your patriotic wedding: Planning a Fourth of July Wedding

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53 Responses

  1. Megan R.

    I am having a July 3rd, 2011 wedding. I love all of the ideas on this page, and am so glad I found it. I am using the bright Red, White, and Blue colors. I really wanted a sash with my dress, but since the dress I fell in love with wouldn’t look right with a sash and has a corset back, I am lacing the back of the dress with blue ribbon. My shoes are also blue. If you really want to go all out, I found some great roses.
    They are real white roses where each bud is “tinted” red, white, and blue. If not for a bouquet they are great for decorations (which i am keeping to a min). We are getting married in a large wooded pavilion surrounded by trees, so the only decorations we are using on the facility are red, white, and blue paper lantern. Hope my ideas help someone else!

    Reply
  2. DH

    We were married July 4th, 1976, the nation’s bicentennial. We had a traditional church wedding followed by a small reception. Fireworks were provided by Macy’s near the Statue of Liberty. Two million new friends joined us for the show. 😉 Back then it seems no one married on the Fourth. I’ve never learned of another couple that married on that date/year, at least not in NYC. One good point is every anniversary is a holiday and you can’t forget the date.

    Reply
  3. CAcourt

    As far as fourth of july wedding cakes go, I am hoping to do a trio of apple, blueberry and cherry pies (three featured on the cake table and more in the kitchen) We were worried about frosting melting in the heat and figured what’s more American than apple pie? =) Also we will prob. serve the pie a la mode with vanilla icecream to help guests cool down a bit.

    Reply
  4. marla

    My fiance and I just booked for a July 4th wedding outdoors at a garden club overlooking where a big firework show will be done @ 9 pm. It will be a warm wedding since Florida. Due to the heat, we are thinking about starting the ceremony around 6 pm (only about 15-20 min long) but not sure how to plan the iteniary for the timeline with the DJ, dinner, first dance, annoucements, cake, fireworks. To save $, we probably are not going to do a wedding planner. Obviously, we will do the pics first. We just aren’t sure how to plan the timing of everything to flow with the fireworks show. For example, would we do the fireworks before the first dance or vice versa? I would love if someone could send their timeline so we can get some ideas on how to plan the timing of everything.

    Thanks, Marla

    Reply
  5. Jessica

    My wedding is on Fourth of July. We are going with a barbeque style wedding and keeping it patriotic. I want red white and blue, but not BOLD, FLAG red white and blue. What to do? How can I incorporate these colors without making it seem like the post-holiday sale at the dollar store?

    Reply
    • Blake

      Jessica, here’s a mood board that might help:

      4th of july mood board

      This uses flag bunting (really popular of course!), monograms, just a little striping, some gingham, some retro Americana and a touch of a contemporary bright green to modernize the palette — HTH! This look is really perfect for a rustic setting, so I think it’ll work great with your barbeque.

      Reply
  6. marisa

    Any cute ideas for a save the date? My fiance and I are set for July 3rd 2010 🙂

    Reply
    • KIMBERLY

      hi marisa – i am actually getting married on 7/4/10 and we did save the date magnets at a local photo shop that has a photo booth- we had a few pics taken and had them put on the magnet with the date and invitation to follow at the bottom – they are very cute and we got alot of compliments on them – best of luck and happy planning to you both….kimberly

      Reply
    • Nikki

      we used a photo edited in our names and the date then stuck them on the inside of a white card, heart stickers on the out side. cheap and personal.

      Reply
  7. becky

    getting married july 4thand looking for a short wedding dress with a red accent. any ideas wher to look please help…..

    Reply
    • Kelly

      I got my dress at davids and am having it cut “t” length. The dress I got can have a sash added….. the dress is style T8076. Look at the accessories that you can add to it sleeves, colored sashes ect. Good Luck!

      Reply
    • stacey

      becky,
      i agree with kelly, davids bridal and add a red sash. another idea is find a sweetheart or v neck neckline dress and add a ruby brooch. these two options would be the easiest. 😀

      Reply
  8. becky

    iam getting married on 4th of july outside in my backyard not sure what color cake should be

    Reply
    • stacey

      becky,
      why not have a white cake with cream cheese icing. cake fill one layer with blueberry then strawberry and so on. on outside have chocolate dipped strawberries for decor. when you cut into this confection it will be red white and blue!! also white with cream cheese icing will taste like a cheesecake. for other pics google image patriotic wedding cake then red white blue wedding cake.

      Reply
    • kimberly

      hi becky – i am getting married july 4th and we are having a custom design cake to look like a flag but in deeper colors and the cake is red velvet – just a thought for you- happy planning and best of luck….kimberly

      Reply
  9. Kristen

    My fiance and I have been engaged for 2 years, and met on July 4th in 2002. We are getting married July 26th, 2009 and are having a patriotic wedding theme to represent the day we met. I’m going for an apple red, ivory, and navy blue color theme to keep it classic looking.

    Reply
  10. megan

    I am getting married on July 3rf 2009 and we are having a red,whte and bue (patriotic) wedding. I have pretty much everything done except the cake Can anyone help me with where i might be able to find some pictures to get an idea of what i might want. I welcom any ideas. Thank you!

    Reply
    • amberjean84

      You should go to http://www.weddingchannel.com they have tons of pictures and ideas they also have this thing where you can desighn youre own cake n stuff ! im getting married july 4 2009 and im also having a red , white and blue them .

      Reply
    • Vicki

      My husband and I got married on the 4th of July! We got engaged on September 11, 2003, and married July 4, 2004. We are very Patriotic: he’s a State Trooper, and I am a Firefighter/EMT. I got my Red dress at David’s Bridal, and he wore his dress blue’s! I made our cake, that is a side business of mine. I made strawberry with white frosting, and red royal frosting “fireworks” sticking out of the top and sides… just to add to the festivities! I made just a small-6″cake for us, and cupcakes for everyone else, with the “fireworks” springing out of the top…
      be creative, and good luck!! Enjoy your beautiful day!!!
      😉

      Reply
  11. jennifer

    my fiance and i got enaged in january and are planning a 4th of july wedding, and alot of people are saying that we shouldnt get married on the 4th of july because thats independce day and when you get married you loose your independence. well i just think that is is a romatic day with all the fireworks…i love fireworks. we are having a bbq for the rehearsal dinner. i am wearing a white dress, hes wearing a black tux as well as his groomsmen, my bridesmaids are wearing black and my flowergirls are wearing white and going barefoot…we are having red roses as our theme, considering our song is “red on a rose” by alan jackson. we are having a traditional church wedding and the reception in the fellowhip hall and for gifts we are giving out sparklers, and as for our getaway vehicle to the honeymoon im going to hop on the back of his motorcycle and away we go!

    Reply
    • Amanda

      Don’t listen to people who say you shouldn’t get married on the 4th! I got married July 4th 1994 and we love having a great holiday anniversary. There are always fireworks, people have the day off and every year our wedding party comes to our house for a BBQ to celebrate! It’s been a great tradition. So congrats and good luck!

      Reply
  12. Erica

    I am planning a 4th of July wedding for this year. We got engaged in January, so it’s definatley a crunch for time according to alot of the websites I’ve looked at, but we just couldn’t wait! Our colors are red, white and blue, but the red and blue are going to be a dark navy and a burgundy type color, to avoid too much going on, especially with decorations and whatnot. We will only be using those as our colors, but keeping alot of the flags and whatnot out of it. We are going for classy patriotic. But to make sure it isn’t forgotten that it’s the 4th of July, we’re going to have traditional 4th of July bbq type food and fireworks in some way at the reception. We’re also having the wedding outside 🙂

    Reply
  13. Brandi

    I am planning a 4th of july wedding. Since my fiance and I are a non traditional kind of couple we have decided to have fun with our wedding. (While still making it very special) I have several patriotic tattoo’s and i am very proud of this country so I am going all out red white and blue. I want my wedding to be very kid friendly as 4th of july is a family type holiday and many of our guests do have young children. So we have opted to go more for the “dime store, wal-mart” look and feel. I don’t want my guests to feel like they have to keep their kids from touching things or playing with the decorations. I have gone with all decor that is there to be played with and fun. I don’t think this is “tacky” at all. Our ceremony will be classic but the reception is a party and i want it to be laid back and fun. I just think some people are comming down kind of hard on a playfull 4th of july red white and blue wedding. If you don’t want to do your wedding that way fine but don’t bash on doing it that way. Just because it is not your style does not mean that it is wrong or “tacky” as so many of you have put it. I hope all of your weddings are every thing you want and deserve. I know mine will be.

    Reply
    • stacey

      brandi, i do love your way of thinking, see i have the same thoughts on home furnishings. if its not practical then i dont use it. so way to go!! :cheer:

      Reply
    • beth

      i agree with your comment 100%…its all in how u make it…i hope you have a wonderful day…we are planning a july 2nd, 2011 wedding….and having a ball doing it..best wishes to all 😀

      Reply
  14. Lyzz

    I am currently planning a wedding for a couple that is wanting a victorian patriotic wedding this upcoming 4th of July but they don’t like the bold red and blue, so instead we are doing dusty rose and a “dusty” blue. The bride will be wearing a victorian gown with D.R. accents and the bridesmaids will be in Dusty rose gowns with white accents, their bouquets will have varying shades of red or blue. Frequently I find that brides who are shy of the “usual” colors for various themes love the idea of playing with the shades. Such as if you prefer maroon and baby blue, or whatever.

    Also for party favors you can get hershy kisses around that time in the RW&B colors, or m&Ms in the colors and put them into little bags, you can put poppers (little toys that you pull a string and out pops confetti), or a few sparklers.

    Ways to avoid the general colors also can be doing silver and one of the colors and put stars around. White christmas lights in sheer blue fabric wrapped around pillars is often a favorite. Colors ovbiously can be changed around to your hearts content.

    The best thing to remember is that it is your wedding, you can do whatever you want.

    Reply
  15. Jenna

    You can have a 4th of July wedding without looking like you walked out of a Wal-Mart catalog. I’ve been planning mine for a while. The bride should wear a white dress with a Navy or red accent, if desired. The boquet should be kept solid white with a touch of red, or vice versa. Tablecloths look best in white, with red and blue touches, and chairs can have white covers with red, blue, or silver tie around them. Also, not ALL the decorations have to be red, white, and blue. Use white Christmas lights, and decorate with silver stars, too!

    Reply
  16. Nanette

    O yea, we also had sparklers handed out to people and that was our dismisal thing… instead of bubbles or rice. the kids loved it and it looked great in the pictures. we had some extra bubbles for parents who didnt want thier kids to have sparklers.

    Reply
  17. Ana

    I’m looking for non trational centerpieces for the tables. Outdoor 4th of July wedding.

    Reply
    • stacey

      ana, you could put cupcakes on pedestals in center of tables. also consider lollipop centerpieces. have bowls of candy in firecracker containers. or just have candles. you could also tie together bunches of sparklers with ribbon (red) and place in a bowl of colored sand ( so they will stand up straighter) will work better. this will work as favors also!! or your sendoff instead of rice. consider flags, or small ribbon wands. the sky is the limit.
      my personal fave is the cupcakes!! and have tied sparklers at each place setting.

      * 4th of July Weddings!

      good luck!!

      Reply
    • airborneangel822

      We’re looking at fiber optic centerpieces. They are cheap and informal and I found the best price at http://www.windycitynovelties.com. We are also going with some wanderfuls. http://www.wanderfuls.com The white bouquet with royal blue, black, and white tassles is beautiful but formal so we are also going with bouquets of royal blue and black with red tassles. These are more expensive but double as a favor. Good luck!

      Reply
  18. Lana

    This is exactly what I did, July 4, 2008. You can see some photos on my blog if you like:
    http://mz-cellaneous.blogspot.com/2008/08/5-weeks-50-years-to-go.html

    We really celebrated summer by having bbq, married in a lodge at the lake, I wore a flag dress (it was a big deal – trust me), we played croquet. So very not “tacky” (yes you can include blue). We had sparklers for the favors and at the end of the night, fireworks over the lake (those were free and part of why we picked this location).

    And before you ask, the dress was Lady Roi and they have several styles. This one might be discontinued though, you’ll have to do a web search, I bought mine at TJformals

    Reply
  19. Libby

    This site has been amazing! My fiance and I are planning a 4th of July wedding in 2009. His family has a ranch and there will be a fantastic flag ceremony on horse back choreographed to the reading of the Declaration of Independance, followed by our Wedding Ceremony & a BBQ reception followed by a fireworks display over the largest pond on the ranch! We gotten so many great ideas to make this day even better! Thank you so much!

    Reply
  20. Jan

    Wonderful! I’m not having a July 4th wedding, but my fiance and I are both in the military. My bridesmaids dresses are navy, and I have navy trim on my wedding gown. I don’t want to go all-out- stars and stripes, but I think a touch of red/white/blue would certainly be appropriate. Thanks for the ideas!

    Reply
  21. Irene

    I am having a 4th of July 2009 wedding. My fiance teaches at the Naval Academy, so I get to incorporate the patriotic and nautical in a waterfront reception. But I definitely wont be decorating in red, white, and blue.

    Reply
  22. Nanette

    I am having a fifth of July wedding, but hate the wedding colors of red white and blue.. to me its just so tacky. Instead I am doing the colors red and white… excluding the blue… any ideas for favors without the blue?

    Reply
    • Kelly

      I am having a 4th of July wedding and am using silver instead of red with the blue and white. For example my table linens are navy blue and I bought little silver stars to put around the centerpieces. Its an outdoor at home wedding/reception.

      Reply
  23. Jessica

    We are having our big family wedding next year on July 5, so we’re carrying the patriotic theme into our wedding so it’s all weekend long. It’ll be a blast! Thanks for the great ideas!

    Reply
  24. Kalyn

    😛
    I think that a 4th of July Wedding is totally cute. Not many people have thought of that idea. I plan to do the same when I get married in 2010 also. Thanks for all of the great advice.

    Reply
  25. shawntiah

    😛
    This is awesome. I plan on having a few american themed foods as well as some un-american foods like pasta. My wedding is set for July 4, 2010. Great post!

    Reply
  26. letka

    i am planning my friend BBQ for independence day 4 th july and i need any idea for favor i wuold like to you hepl me thank you

    Reply
  27. Rebecca

    when planning a fourth of July wedding is it necessary to keep the patriotic theme or can we just have it on that day just because we want to have a cookout reception and that day would be perfect?

    Reply
    • Meera

      pretty sure my fiance and i are just planning it on that day because one, three of our attendants are from orcharding families and harvest falls on just about every other weekend of the summer, two, my dad is an orchardist, so same problems as above, three, it happens to fall on a saturday next year and we thought it would be cool, and four, we figured that every year after, we would have our anniversary off. 😀 our colors are going to be hot pink, orange, and black, so really nothing that has anything to do with the fourth of july. hope this helps.

      Reply
    • Nanette

      My husband and I got married on july 5th of this year and we did clear vases with a red and white candle in the middle with clear stones surrounding the candle, then we put a mirror underneath it and red rose petals on the mirror. we got alot of complements on them and it was not to expensive. Good idea.

      Reply
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