How to Have an Amazing Memorial Day Weekend No Matter What the Weather’s Like
For many of us, it was a brutal winter. But May is here, and Memorial Day weekend is fast approaching, which means it’s time to kick off the summer season with an incredibly fun and memorable Memorial Day party. The plan: To gather your favorite friends and family, and make it a day to remember while honoring our fallen soldiers. The potential kink in the plan: Uncooperative weather. Many a rainy Memorial Day weekend has messed with the most perfectly-organized outdoor cookouts. But not this year.
We've put together weather contingency plans for any type of Memorial Day forecast. From fun all-ages game ideas to festive food and drinks, these are the Memorial Day party ideas you need, no matter what the weather.
Okay, so Memorial Day weekend is a wash-out. Don’t worry. The party will go on.
Decor: Consider investing in a party tent, or push the sofa against the wall and host everyone indoors. To liven up the place, set out small flower arrangements in stars ‘n stripes tin cans or mason jars. Maybe go red, white, and, blue with your cocktail napkins. Combat the dreariness of the weather with bright lighting, but don’t overdo it!
Food: Since nobody enjoys grilling in the rain, create a summertime vibe in your kitchen with oven-baked Chile-Roasted Pork Ribs and colorful English Pea and Parmesan Risotto. For dessert, try your hand at this American Flag Crepe Cake.
Fun: It’s all about the crafts when you’re stuck inside. Keep the kids entertained with a red, white, and blue origami station, or try one of these rainy day activities. Keep your playlist mellow but upbeat, and enjoy your company.
Brr. Much as Americans think of Memorial Day weekend as the unofficial start of summer, the fact is it's still spring. And for parts of the country, that could mean it's cold. Your party host mission: Make everyone think they’re somewhere warm and sunny.
Decor: You’ll want an extra pop of color to combat the cold and get people mingling. Go for solid red or blue tablecloths and plenty of starry string lights. Warm up the vibe with lanterns (real or LED) and colorful flowers that don’t crowd the space.
Food: Bring out comforting potluck classics for your cold weather Memorial Day bash. Think Kicked Up Mac and Cheese, and lots of yummy appetizers. For dessert, this delicious Rhubarb Upside Down Cake can be served warm.
Drinks: A chilly May day calls for boozy drinks that’ll warm you up from the inside out. Check out these punch recipes, and opt for a colorful signature cocktail like the Tequila Grapefruit Splash or the vibrant Hibiscus Mocktail.
Fun: Set up a DIY photo booth (possibly indoors, or in an outdoor spot sheltered from wind), complete with patriotic photo booth props and costumes that will get everyone in the party spirit. For the kids, set up a cookie decorating station with red, white, and blue icing. As night falls, hand out sparklers for a fun activity (and the illusion of extra warmth!).
If it's sunny and 78 for your Memorial Day party, you hardly need our advice. But we have such great ideas, we're still going to share them!
Decor: Set out mason jars filled with flowers and mini American flags (guests can take the flags home as fun keepsakes). Paint your ice buckets with stars and stripes to lure people to the bar area. As evening sets, add a glow around you and your party guests by handing out sparklers. They’re a great way to wrangle everyone and encourage them to say a few words in honor/memory of those who have served our country.
Food: Two words: Burger bar. (Three more words: All the fixings.) Or shake up tradition with unexpected recipes like Teriyaki Glazed Burgers or Burgers with Ricotta Salata and Pickled Zucchini. For dessert, serve these Strawberry Ice Cream Sandwiches.
Fun: From bocce ball to a bean-bag toss, lawn games will keep everyone entertained for hours. If you have the space, buy one of these outdoor games to entertain the crowd.
When Memorial Day weekend turns hazy, hot, and humid, your job is to keep guests cool.
Decor: Move tables and chairs under shady trees or sun tents, and decorate with cool greens and flowers (garden-fresh herbs smell delicious when cut like flowers and bunched into small glasses and vases). Fill an inflatable pool so guests can dunk their toes and cool off, or offer spray-bottle fans so guests can spritz their way through the heat.
Food: Hot days call for light food. Keep the fare light by serving Provencal Shrimp Skewers and refreshing gazpacho. (Freeze the soup into popsicles for a burst of icy flavor.) For dessert, don't work up a sweat: Put out a tray of cupcakes and let everyone serve themselves.
Drinks: White sangria incorporates lots of (hydrating) fresh fruit, and looks extra-festive when garnished with extra fruit speared onto an American flag cocktail umbrella or served with pretty paper straws. For the non-alcoholic bunch, offer a refreshing Pineapple Ginger Cooler.
Fun: Keep the kids busy with one of these patriotic party games. Or reduce the possibility of heat exhaustion by offering crafts: Set up a tie-dye station with red and blue dyes and lots of white shirts and rubber bands. Or just invite everyone to join in a red-white-and-blue water balloon fight.