Independence Day is right around the corner! The Fourth of July is a time filled with celebrations and social gatherings. And while the goal is to have fun, it’s also a time to bring all of your etiquette knowledge along to the party.

So here are some etiquette tips designed just for the Fourth of July:

Mother holding baby with American flag on fourth of July BBQ


If You’re Hosting a Gathering

Independence Day is a great occasion for hosting friends and family! Here are some tips to make sure your guests feel welcome are well-fortified for the hot day:

Be clear on your invitation. Make sure your guests know exactly what food, drink, and amenities you will be providing, and if they need to bring anything to contribute to the supplies or refreshments.

Be sure to have extra sunscreen and bug spray available for your guests.

Fourth of July celebrations tend to happen mostly outdoors. So make sure your guests don’t get scorched by the sun or devoured by insects! Another great way to keep mosquitoes away from the party area is to light citronella candles or citronella “tiki torches.” Plus, the candles and torches add a lovely party atmosphere!

If you’re by a pool or lake, be sure to provide extra life jackets, beach towels, and other swimming-related equipment. Make sure kids at your party have everything they need to stay safe while they’re having fun! It may also be a good idea to assign one of your bedrooms or other small rooms as an extra “changing area” for your guests who choose to swim.

If the party goes into the evening, make sure to have extra blankets and sweatshirts handy. If your party will involve sitting by the fire or sitting outside to watch fireworks, this helps ensure everyone is comfy and cozy!

Be gracious if spills or accidents occur. When you have a lot of people over, someone will inevitably spill some food or drink or knock something over accidentally. Be a pleasant host and don’t make guests feel bad about the mishap! If somebody spills red wine on your carpet, laugh it off and tell them you have a carpet cleaner coming. (And then get on the phone or online later…and make sure to schedule that carpet cleaner!)

If You’re Attending a Gathering

You’ve been invited to a 4th of July party! How great is that? Make sure you’re a gracious guest.

RSVP for the party. And make sure you follow through on your plans to attend! Party hosts use RSVPs to plan how much food and beverages to buy and other important factors. So, be courteous, and if you say you’re going to be at someone’s party, make sure you show up!

Thank your hosts. Make sure to give your hosts a heartfelt “thank you” for their hospitality both when you first arrive, and again as you’re leaving the party. On the following week, demonstrate your appreciation again by sending a handwritten thank-you note, a bottle of wine, or some flowers. Your hosts will really appreciate the gesture and feel appreciated themselves!

Respect your hosts’ private space. It should go without saying, but it’s essential to be respectful of your hosts’ home during the party. Make sure to stay in the areas that they’ve prepared for party guests, and don’t go wandering into bedrooms, closets, pantries, storage rooms, etc.

Be helpful. Did you or another guest spill something? Grab some napkins or paper towels and help clean things up before they leave a stain. Do you see a wastebasket about to overflow, or some dirty dishes piling up on a side table? If the party doesn’t have hired catering help, jumping in and helping with simple tasks can really help reduce your hosts’ stress levels. If kids are invited to the party as well, helping keep an eye on their activities and ensuring they are safe can be a big stress-reducer, as well.

If you’re celebrating in a public place.

Picnicking in parks or nature preserves or heading into town to watch parades, or the Fourth of July Fireworks can be lots of fun! Be sure to do your part to make sure those around you have a good time, too.

Clean up after yourself. If you’re at a public park or beach, make sure you leave the space exactly the way you found it. Be sure to throw away all beverage containers and trash and bring all your blankets and personal items back home with you.

Keep an eye on your children. It’s okay for them to have fun, too, of course, but make sure they’re not so loud or disruptive that they infringe on the joy of people around you. Don’t let them run around or roughhouse in between the picnic areas of other patrons. After all, the people around you attending the event didn’t sign on to be babysitters!

Watch the volume! Even though it’s the Fourth of July, don’t let the etiquette tips we covered in this blog post fall by the wayside. Sometimes we can forget to modulate our volume, especially after we’ve had a few cocktails. Nobody is going fault you for some enthusiastic “oohs” and “wows” during the spectacular fireworks show. But use some common sense about your party’s noise levels, and that way everyone will have a great time out in public this Fourth of July!

If you’d like to learn more about how to have impeccable etiquette during every holiday or celebration, be sure to explore our etiquette courses and sign up for one today!