With Award Season on the horizon, I wanted to share a few tips for how to throw an epic Movie Night on a budget. If you’ve been following this blog for awhile, you might recall the Blogger Movie Night I threw with Kali and Sheree last Summer and I definitely picked up a few tricks along the way.
First things first… Pick a theme. Are you throwing an Oscar or Emmy Night Screening, a Summer Blockbuster Movie Party Under the Stars, or a Kid’s Birthday Party? Do you want your décor to be chic and sophisticated or over the top? If you’re having a kids party, do you could go with a Frozen, Harry Potter or Star Wars themed party (I’m guessing a few grown up’s might enjoy some of these too).
You’ll want to choose your theme before you decide on your invitation, so you can pick an invite that foreshadows the party.
For our movie night I decided on a classic Hollywood Stars theme and kept my color scheme to gold, red and black. In addition to decorations, be sure to stock up on color coordinated paper plates, cups, napkins and utensils and don’t forget the wine glasses, champagne flutes and cocktail napkins.
Pro tip: Buy more than you need, but only open one package at a time. Save your receipts and make returns after the party of any unopened and unused goods. Check with stores in advance on return policies of unopened and unused goods. I get most of my party supplies at Target, Party City and Michaels, all of which have great return policies.
I love Evite and Paperless Post for easy online invitations. They both have so many great movie themed templates to choose from. Be sure to follow up with guests that don’t RSVP though… I’ve noticed some of these online invites occasionally end up in Spam files.
If you want to send out an old fashioned hard copy invite (so fancy), you can often find invitations that match your décor at Party City or you can get creative and use AmazingMail or Canva to design one yourself.
Candy and Popcorn Buffet
A candy and popcorn buffet is an absolute must for a movie night. I recommend sticking with mini versions of the classics that everyone grew up eating as a kid. Think mini Hershey Bars, M & M’s, Licorice, Swedish Fish, Junior Mints, Dots and Kit Kats. I headed to Target and my local CVS and was actually surprised at how inexpensive it was to fill up my candy jars. I think my total candy bill was under $35. You can also go with a more sophisticated theme and pick up exotic candies from places like Sugarfina, Sockerbit or Compartes. This would definitely be more pricy though and to be honest, I really think guests love the classics.
Pop your own popcorn or for a no mess option, use Lesser Evil’s Buddha Popcorn like we did. It’s made with coconut oil and sea salt, making it a delightful option for healthy eaters at your party. I also baked a few dozen gluten and grain free cookies that went over really well (in spite of all the sweets we had). I made these linzer-tarts and chocolate chip cookies with almond flour and sweetened with honey instead of sugar. Healthy options are a must if you’re living the #lalifestyle. 🙂
If you’ve been following me for awhile, you might have noticed a certain set of apothecary jars (here and here) making multiple appearances on my blog. I purchased 6 of them just before this party for under $80 and they’ve been used non-stop ever since. If you don’t want to spend any extra money, you can just use any mason jars, vases or bowls you have around the house. We added levels to our table by placing a few of the jars on mini cake stands. Another alternative I found on Pinterest is to wrap sturdy boxes in pretty wrapping paper that coordinates with your theme and place some of your jars on top.
Easy comfort food goes best with a movie night theme. We did trays of sandwiches and salads (catered by Lemonade), making sure to have vegan/vegetarian and gluten-free options available. Hot dogs, Pizza or even Burgers and salad are fun choices as well. Or you can keep it really simple and just invite folks to join you after dinner time. Be sure to have a fruit and cheese plate on hand for those who aren’t into sweets.
And of course don’t forget the cocktails! We greeted our guests with Champagne and set up a DIY bar with wine for later in the evening. Remember to keep it simple. You’ll want to enjoy the party too!
Let’s face it… the selfie is here to stay for awhile. And it seems to transcend in popularity throughout every generation. Plus it’s always fun to create lasting memories with your besties. We set up a white backdrop and some lighting and purchased the cutest photo props. You can purchase a backdrop and props for as little as 5 to 10 dollars at Party City or Amazon!
Guests can use their phones to take photos (Emmy brought her own selfie stick) and be sure to have an Instax on hand if anyone wants to do it the old-fashioned way.
Playlist and Movie
If you’re doing an Awards Night Screening Party, you’ll be all set with showing The Oscars, Emmys, Grammy’s or Golden Globes. You can pick a fun playlist to coordinate with your theme… Academy Award Winning Songs, Hollywood Movie Themes, Grammy Nominees, etc.
For a kids party or sleepover a fun current hit or classic is sure to please. For teenagers, you can ask people to RSVP with the movie they want to see and then send out a reminder for your party along with a ballot so attendees can pick the movie they want to see (and you can be prepared to stream, purchase or borrow it ahead of time).
Since our Movie Night was also a Girl’s Night, our movie choices included the likes of Mean Girls, Clueless and Marie Antoinette. We kept our playlist in line with the girl power theme too (lot’s of Taylor Swift, Beyonce, Katy Perry and of course Lana Del Rey).
We set up a white board on an easel and colored dry erase markers so that everyone could make new Insta friends. I wrote the hashtag for our event at the top and let everyone add their handles below. Our guests took a photo of the board so they could follow each other on Instagram when they got home.
For kids parties or birthdays, a big card with magic markers could be an alternative way to commemorate your event. Let everyone sign the card in colored markers with a personal message to the guest of honor.
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Have you ever hosted a movie night or are you planning on hosting one soon? Please share your photos and let me know if any of these tips were helpful.