With the 4th of July only a week away, celebrity event planner, Cathy Riva of Riva Events stopped by to share her favorite tips on planning the perfect Independence day celebration – from mouthwatering menu ideas to festive red, white and blue holiday decor, she has everything you need to guarantee your July 4th party is a hit!
Candace Rose: "So, Candace, let's face it 4th of July is all about the food and the drinks, they're the real stars of this party. I'd like to give you this a couple of really easy, affordable tips to make your 4th of July really sparkle. The first tip is to do a do-it-yourself bar and serve a signature cocktail. This season I suggest serving the red, white and Sauza blue margarita. It's really easy to make – you need two parts cranberry-raspberry juice, you need one part lemon lime soda, one part Sauza blue tequila; pour it all in a pitcher, mix it up. I love Sauza because not only is it affordable, but it makes the freshest tasting margaritas because they use fresh agave in every tequila. So, you take this really beautiful red drink that you have now and you can just pour it into margarita glasses garnished with red, white or blue sugar and it really gives a polished look to your cocktail."
Candace Rose: How about the food?
Cathy Riva: "Well, Candace, the food is my favorite part of 4th of July. So, if you haven't used your grill yet this season, now is the time to break it out. Don't be intimidated to shy away from doing just burgers and hot dogs; try something new or try something different. We've got the kabob station, it's really fun and interactive for all the guests. You can use your favorite ingredients like salmon; I've got chicken, veggies, tofu; and your favorite marinades or barbecue sauce or something really special. I like honey, lime juice and soy sauce and make this the night before. Prepare in advance, so you don't have to work so hard the day of. Just toss them on the grill, these are cast iron skewers which make it really easy to take on and off the grill and serve our guests."
Candace Rose: Do you have any tips when it comes to decorating?
Cathy Riva: "This is all about spending time with friends and family, so prepare the night before – that's my biggest tip. Lay out your table, keep with the patriotic red, white and blue theme. Shop at home and use one signature color. I love blues, so this table has a lot of blue on it but whatever you have at home you can pull in and accent with the others, red and white. I love that we have some chips here that we placed in patriotic containers, it's really affordable to pull in the paper napkins with the flag motif. We've got garden flowers like geraniums and tulips here and we also have small American flags miscellaneously placed around just to bring in theme and make it really fun but not too matchy-matchy."
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you'd like to share?
Cathy Riva: "Oh, I love having a dessert section at my barbecues because everyone loves or at least I love a little something sweet after my delicious grilled meal, so I've got these mini apple pies and I think they're going to be a big hit because I love apple pies for the 4th of July. I also have these red velvet whoopie pies which are something you can make yourself and plan in advance, they're really delicious. They're like an oreo cookie and a cupcake combined, so fun and festive for the party; and frozen watermelon served in snow cone cups – fun little treat for the kids, real big party pleaser. All of this information – recipes, tips, more drink ideas can be found at Sauza's facebook page which is Facebook.com/SauzaMargaritas."
Candace Rose: Where can we find the recipe for the red velvet whoopie pies?
Cathy Riva: "So, these red velvet whoopie pies, you can find the recipe on Wilton and you can also look on my Celebrate Everyday blog, which is under Cathy Riva, and you can also probably check it out on the Sauza facebook page?