You don’t ever need a reason to throw a party, but it’s always fun to have a theme. And with next week’s 84th Annual Academy Awards ceremony coming up, you’ve got both!
The Oscars is the epitome of awards ceremonies, and it presents the grand dame of party opportunities. Whether you want to go all out or keep it simple, here are some ideas that will have your guests clamoring to be on next year’s invite list.
You Had Me at Hello
“Celebrate the movies in all of us,” is the event’s tagline this year, according to the official Oscar website. The site also offers several party invitation ideas for you to customize and personalize. So, it takes just a few minutes to design your invites, attach a photo or two, and send them out—an easy (and free!) way to get the party anticipation rolling.
Hitting the Red Carpet
You don’t have to go black-tie formal in order to host a smashing Oscar night soirée, but it could be a good opportunity to dust off that lonely bridesmaid’s dress in your closet. Plus, dressing up makes for fun conversation and elevates the excitement of the evening! Go one step further and don an updo that channels your favorite Best Actress nominee of years past.
Act One, Scene One
When it comes to decorating your “theatre” for the big event, pick one or two theme colors and display them everywhere, from the cocktail napkins and appetizer toothpicks to the candles and fresh flowers.
Take advantage of the timing of the Oscar ceremony—right after Valentine’s Day—and pick up elegant red party essentials that retailers have marked down. Or, channel a bit of old Hollywood glamour and go with cream, gold, and black. Think long strands of shiny, gold curling ribbon hanging from the light fixture and tiny, star-shaped confetti sprinkled across a black tablecloth on your table. Keep the viewing room properly lit—the light from your TV and lots of flickering votive candles is all you need.
Pass the Popcorn
Sure, you can fire up a bag of kettle corn in the microwave—the night is all about going to the movies, after all. But why not kick things up a notch?
If you don’t want to miss a minute of the acceptance speeches, do an easy make-ahead entrée like lasagna or a big Cobb salad. Otherwise, take a cue from Wolfgang Puck and his Governors Ball menus and serve fancy finger foods like Mediterranean skewers, chicken satay, and cheese-stuffed dates with prosciutto. Make dessert elegant and easy with white chocolate-dipped strawberries or a lemon pound cake with fresh raspberries.
And don’t forget to create an official Oscartini: Mix your favorite premium vodka with a splash of this and spritz of that. Peruse the liqueur aisle of your local beverage store for ideas, then mix up a batch of deliciousness in a tall glass pitcher. Serve in chilled martini glasses garnished with wedges of fresh lemons, limes, and oranges.
And the Oscar Goes to…
If your party is a small affair, make the evening interactive and offer prizes for guests who pick the winners in the top five or six categories. Tuck the ballots inside formal, gold-lined envelopes and remind everyone that their ballots must be marked before the curtain goes up. For the winners, have inexpensive gifts wrapped in your theme colors. (If you want to be extra-prepared, keep a hat with tiny slips of paper, one marked with a gold star, on hand, to use in event of a tie.)
Traditionally, nominees and presenters at the Academy Awards ceremony also receive a goodie bag filled with everything from gold watches to resort vacations. And while you probably don’t have that kind of cash on hand—you can keep up the theme and treat your guests to sleek black gift bags filled with inexpensive drug store finds like disposable cameras, nail polish, and purse-size beauty products.
That’s a Wrap!
An Oscar party is a great opportunity to dust off the formal wear, dish on the hits and misses on the red carpet, and play along with your own ballots. A party befitting Oscar takes a little planning and some creativity, but it’s a lot of fun—and when the rave reviews start coming in, you’ll want to be hosting this event year after year.