As an award-winning event producer, I’ve been honored to plan a number of prestigious events and I often get asked for some easy planning tips that can help any DIY host entertain like a pro. Throwing a glamorous Oscar soiree or a casual Super Bowl party doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive. Here are some key elements that will help you bring the perfect style, theme and glamour into your living room for your own Ultimate Watch Party.
The invite sets the tone of the party. The invitation should be visual and convey the theme that you are going with. In the invitation make sure the information is clear and concise to include all the details with date, time, address, parking, attire and what they can expect. Include the information about any important activities happening that night (like bringing cash if you plan to have wagers on the game) or anything they may need to bring with them in order to participate in activities. Evite, Etsy and Pinterest are great sites for invitations, games and décor packages that are ideal for the DIY party planner.
Make an impression the moment they arrive. I suggest that you carry the theme established in your invitation over into your décor. You’ll want to follow the theme throughout all aspects of the party. Make sure each room has an element of the theme to keep the flow and fun going. Don’t forget the guest bathrooms (that can be a fun opportunity for “cheeky” decorations – pun intended). Below are some décor ideas for a great themed night. You can find décor at Party City, Amazon, Pinterest or Etsy by searching for specific party themed event décor.
Red Carpet & Backdrop – This is a fun detail to add to any party. Guests can show off their style, team jersey and festive attire on the red carpet as they walk in your door. Add a photo booth or photo backdrop for guests to capture the party on social media. Here’s where you can put a stand up cut out of a celebrity to greet your guests. You can create your own hashtag for the night to have your guests post all their pics. This is also an ideal background for your challenge/game winners at the end of the night. You can purchase a red carpet and additional supplies at Party City or Amazon. You will want to create small signage that has your party #hashtag on it, place it in a photo frame and put it on an entry table so folks will know how to tag your event.
Polaroid Camera – This is a fun way to capture moments throughout the evening and it can serve as a great take home souvenir for guests to commemorate the evening. You may want to have guests take photos throughout the night at the commercial breaks to capture the evening. Target has one at a great price point.
What to Serve: Food and Drinks
A decorative buffet is always recommended for a watch party. It makes it easy for guests to graze at their leisure. A charcuterie board is all the rage these days, but you can go beyond that. A heavy hors d’oeuvres buffet with your themed décor, desserts and drinks is the best option. You will want to check with guests beforehand to see if there are any dietary restrictions or allergies prior to selecting your menu. You can be creative with your presentation, dishes and buffet decor.
Continue your color scheme with your dinnerware and add fun accents to your food buffet and drinks. Some themed examples include building a snack stadium, mini bowties to wine glasses, tuxedo wrapped hot dogs and music notes on cupcakes or cookies.
Of course, it’s always fun to offer a Signature Cocktail for your party. There are many articles showcasing a variety of options and recipes that can fit your event style. Give your signature cocktail a name that goes along with your event and post the name, along with the ingredients, in a frame next to your serving area so folks will know what’s in the cocktail. I love signature cocktails because it allows you to create a large batch before your guests arrive and you can top it off once it’s being served.
Create a Challenge
You can bring out the competitive side in your guests by encouraging them to participate in some type of game or challenge. For example, if you're looking to place a friendly wager on the championship game, give your guests this questionnaire. The winner could earn a prize or simply bask in the glory of their success. Either way, people will stay engaged from through the evening.
You can purchase specific party games, bingo cards and favor gifts for prizes to complete the evening. You’d be amazed at what you can find that is very theme specific on Etsy and Pinterest that has fun game sets available for purchase. This type of activity really keeps the fun going throughout the night. At the end of the evening, award your winners with fun prizes, gift certificates or a bottle of Champagne. Be sure to take photos of your winning guests for social media with your hashtag. You’ll be known as the Ultimate Watch Party host/hostess when the night comes to an end!
Don’t forget to send thank you notes (even if it’s an email) to your attendees in the day or so following the event. I hope these tips get your creative mind flowing. Be sure to tag us in your photos after you’ve hosted your own Ultimate Watch Party!
Well, that's all I have for now.
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