IvyRooftop_r620x413The Fourth of July is on a Friday this year, which means it can be extra-festive – no need to take additional vacation days and you have the entire weekend to recover! So, there’s never been a better time to to flex your hosting muscle–so long as you don’t make a rookie mistake and stress yourself and your bank account by failing to plan ahead.  Here’s how you put on Fourth of July Fiesta like a pro.

Liven it up with decorations. The ideal is an animated, patriotic party. A stars and stripes motif and a red, white and blue color palette are musts. You can buy fairly inexpensive decorations from Party City,  currently offering free shipping for orders over $75 if you order by June 24th, or from Oriental Trading, which has discounted patriotic items like flags, pin wheels and colorful paper lanterns. Invest in decorations you can use in upcoming years, not simply on throwaways. You can also get ideas for 4th of July decorations, recipe and fashion from Slice’s Pinterest page.

Send online invitations! Why spend money on physical cards when perfectly awesome options are available online for free? Evite and Paperless Post have 4th of July card designs you can send to friends via email at no cost. You can request that guests RSVP, which will make estimating the amount of food you need to buy much easier. You can also make a Facebook event and regulate whether the event is Open, Closed or Secret.

Reserve your space. If you like in an apartment complex, get to the grill early or consider renting out the common room if you’re having a larger event (though be aware that there is usually a reservation deposit). And if you have no room in your yard to host a party, you can still find parks near you that have BBQ grills (a quick Google search will do).

Save a trip to the grocery store. When you order groceries online from a delivery service you don’t have to worry about stores running out of the items you need (likely to happen in the 4th of July rush) or wasting precious gas money. Google Shopping Express (if you live in the Bay Area, West L.A., or New York City) gets you same-day or overnight delivery of groceries from the nearest local vendors. They also offer a promotion of $10 off your first order and six months of free shipping for new members. Amazon Fresh is also a convenient option for people living in the Seattle, San Francisco and the LA area. As for recipe ideas, check out Southern Living and the Food Network’s tasty tips.

Stay Organized. Don’t lose your mind, or your packages–get the Slice app!  We’ll keep track of your packages, be they decorations or food, so all you have to do is get to celebrating and enjoy your guests!