How to Throw an Oscar Party

The 88th Annual Academy Awards ceremony airs on February 28. Here's how to enjoy it in high style
| Updated: November 27, 2018
 
 

A red carpet-ready bash starts with ample planning and a few expert tips and tricks up your fashionable sleeve. I love to entertain and threw my first over-the-top Oscar party last year for around 15 of my friends. It was mostly successful--though I'll share a few of my pitfalls here so you don't make the same mistakes I did. I'm currently in planning mode for this year's fete.

Below, you'll find my advice as well as pointers from savvy Seattle-based entertaining gurus--divided up into sections like Planning, Decor and Menu--on how to throw a sublime Oscar party this year. Let's roll.

Step One: Planning
I'm not a big Pinterest user, but the photo-heavy social media platform was one of the most helpful tools to use when I set out to secure a theme, colors, ideas, menu items and beyond. First, create a board (make it secret if you want to keep your scheme hush-hush) and get to searching all manner of decor. Last year I really wanted to focus on gold, pink and white as my party colors, so I found a slew of stunning related images (including the links to where to buy a particular item if I really liked it).


Once you've decided on your theme, you're ready to implement ideas (balloons on the ceiling, flowers, etc.) and create your guest list and send out your invitations.

"I start off with a super chic online invitation from Paperless Post," says Keri Petersen, owner of Ballard-based interior design and staging firm, KP Spaces. "Kate Spade has a collection that can all be customized for an Oscar soiree."

I, too, used Paperless Post for my invites. How darling are these:



Once you've set your theme and sent out your invitations, it's time to get busy. 

Step Two: Gathering your Decor
"Display and Costume in Northgate is my one-stop shop for supplies," Petersen says. "They have everything from mini Oscar awards to a red carpet runner, which I have used and is AMAZING."  
For my pink-and-gold party, I sourced a number of items from Etsy, including this tassel garland and this super fun downloadable word art, which I then framed and used as an accent on the buffet table. Don't underestimate the wonders of Amazon: I ordered a number of items including pink-and-gold patterned party straws, a gold table runner, glass candy jars and a coffee mug stand that served as my soft pretzel holder (genius).

As for those gold and ivory balloons lining the ceiling, I ordered two dozen in advance from Everything Party in Redmond. They were filled up, curly ribbons and all (I did trim them so they wouldn't hit my taller guests' heads), and were ready to go that Saturday before. Note: Since I picked up my order the day before the party, I opted for the extra high float ($2.50 per dozen), which ensures the balloons will last up to three days versus the regular 10 hours. The party shop also has a remarkable candy selection; I found tons of sweet treats that fit my color scheme.
Another fun idea, Petersen says "is to search Google or Pinterest for photos of former Oscar winners, print them out and put them into picture frames."
Step Three: Games
Of course you'll be watching the awards show, but what is a party without some healthy competition?

"Oscar Bingo is always fun and there are some great printables for the game on Pinterest," Petersen says. "Most of the time we are just drinking and laughing and never get through the whole game."

This printable 2016 Oscar ballot from blogger Sugar and Charm is also a great option. Have partygoers fill them out and keep track of how many they guess correctly. The person who gets the most correct, wins a prize. My prize last year: A bottle of wine and this Brad Pitt throw pillow ($20). Pillows are available with number of dashing gents' faces:
Step Four: The Menu
Your menu should be full of appetizers and portable foods that are simple to consume while standing or chatting. I'm obsessed with Trader Joe's appetizers (those mac 'n cheese balls!) because you can just pop them in the oven and place them on a platter. I also whipped up soft pretzels using local foodie Heather Christo's recipe and offered three different mustards for dipping.

"Nothing pairs with Champagne better than loads of candy and popcorn, and I serve it in my fanciest dishes," Petersen says. "The only thing better than watching Leo [potentially] win an Oscar is watching it with a mouth full of Red Vines."
As for bevs, Champagne is obviously the drink of choice and Petersen adds a few frills to her flutes with edible gold glitter on the rim of each glass. Consider creating a station for a signature cocktail--last year I went with a simple old fashioned.
Mackenzie Schieck, she of the fab food blog Pine & Crave, has concocted these non-alcoholic drink mixers in flavors like blackberry lavender fizz and cranberry cheer that are perfect for gussying up a spirit of your choice or for those not in a tippling mood, to mix with sparkling water (make sure you have several bottles on hand). "I think it's fun to just set everything out for guests so they can mix when and how they like," she says. "Use index cards to create labels and recipe cards that suggest mixing ratios."

Drink mixers from Pine & Crave; photo: Mackenzie Schieck
I thought I had enough food last year, but turns out, when your guests are imbibing flute after flute of bubbly, they tend to get a little hungry. Hence, we ended up ordering pizza. We rolled with it, but this time around, I'll be sure to have back-up appetizers or even a few thin-crust pizza varieties sliced up into bite-sized pieces.

Ready to throw your star-studded soiree? Of course you are. Happy planning.

"Nothing pairs with Champagne better than loads of candy and popcorn, and I serve it in my fanciest dishes," Petersen says. "The only thing better than watching Leo [potentially] win an Oscar is watching it with a mouth full of Red Vines."

As for bevs, Champagne is obviously the drink of choice and Petersen adds a few frills to her flutes with edible gold glitter on the rim of each glass. Consider creating a station for a signature cocktail--last year I went with a simple old fashioned.
Mackenzie Schieck, she of the fab food blog Pine & Crave, has concocted these non-alcoholic drink mixers in flavors like blackberry lavender fizz and cranberry cheer that are perfect for gussying up a spirit of your choice or for those not in a tippling mood, to mix with sparkling water (make sure you have several bottles on hand). "I think it's fun to just set everything out for guests so they can mix when and how they like," she says. "Use index cards to create labels and recipe cards that suggest mixing ratios."

Drink mixers from Pine & Crave; photo: Mackenzie Schieck
I thought I had enough food last year, but turns out, when your guests are imbibing flute after flute of bubbly, they tend to get a little hungry. Hence, we ended up ordering pizza. We rolled with it, but this time around, I'll be sure to have back-up appetizers or even a few thin-crust pizza varieties sliced up into bite-sized pieces.

Ready to throw your star-studded soiree? Of course you are. Happy planning.

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