Plan your party well ahead of time and be sure to send out the invitations as far in advance as possible. Supply your contact information and request that invitees R.S.V.P. If you have not heard from someone within a week before the event, call to see whether or not they are planning to come.
Don’t try to do everything yourself. Ask friends or family members for help. Someone else can answer the door and greet early guests while you attend to last-minute preparations. A good friend won’t mind helping serve food or clean up if you ask them in advance.
Decide where you will have your party. Is your home large enough to accommodate your guests comfortably? Do you have enough seating? You might want to rent out a movie theater if possible, but remember, this can be very costly if you don’t choose a time when business is slow.
If there is a clubhouse or other hall in your area that will allow you to use their accommodations for a modest fee, you might consider choosing one of these locations instead of your home. Be sure to find out if your deposit will be returned and if you are responsible for clean up.
Food and Drink
Do not feel bad about using disposable plates and cups. You do not want to spend half the evening washing dishes. Just make sure the items you choose are attractive and durable enough to contain the food you plan to serve.
Too much food and drink are always better than not enough. Some people have larger appetites than others and may go back for seconds. As often as not, guests bring extra people without giving the hostess advance notice. You can always freeze leftovers or send some home with your guests if you have too much.
Popcorn is closely associated with movies, but popcorn is not enough to offer your guests. You may simply add chips and dips, pretzels, and other munchies, or you might want to serve hot appetizers or a complete meal. Buffet style is always the easiest way to serve at a large gathering.
You can choose foods that directly relate to your favorite movie or celebrity, or you might choose items that you think represent Hollywood such as pate and caviar. Just remember that such items are definitely acquired tastes, and your guests may not have an appreciation for such things. It is best to be practical and choose things you know people will eat. If you really want to try the fancier items, purchase a small amount for the experience but have plenty of other choices for your guests to enjoy.
If you decide to serve alcohol, you are responsible for the safety of your guests. Be sure to stop serving drinks at least an hour or so before the party is set to end. Also, be sure to offer food again around that time. Be prepared to take a guest’s keys if necessary and to drive the guest home, or have a designated driver available to do so.
You might decorate with movie posters, old-fashioned movie reels, and directors clapboards. You might want to rent a popcorn machine or buy popcorn cartons to add to the movie atmosphere. If you can’t find them at an area shopping center, try your local movie theater.
A costume party can be fun. Ask your guests to dress in ways that represent their favorite movie, celebrity, or era. You might want to choose your favorite and have everyone follow the same theme. Play music representative of your theme as well. Leather jackets, ducks tails, poodle skirts, and golden oldies could make an evening inspired by Grease very memorable, especially when your guests loosen up enough to start singing. Be sure to have your cam corder ready and don’t forget to take lots of pictures.
Display your favorite autographs and memorabilia, and ask your guests to bring such items along so everyone can compare their treasures.
Decorations and party favors
Starting with the invitations, your decorations should be consistent with your theme. This does not mean that every single item has to match perfectly. In fact, you can save money by choosing embossed plates that match your invitations but use plain color-coordinated napkins that are less expensive than those printed to match the plates. Or, you may want to use colored plates with contrasting colored napkins but design your own invitations and place cards and print them from your computer.
Another idea is to look for silver or gold plates in the anniversary or wedding section. You may be able to find matching cups, flatware, and table covers too. Create a look with a silver tablecloth dotted with gold stars. Set the table with gold plates. Use gold dinner napkins and top them with silver beverage napkins. You should be able to find gold or silver star-shaped candles or candle holders at a dollar store. Candles are a great inexpensive way to add ambiance.
Go to the wedding aisle of your local super store and look for mini champagne glass party favors. There are also lots of other sparkly items in the wedding section that can be adapted to your theme, such as silver and gold confetti. New Year’s Eve party favors can be adapted as well. Cardboard tiaras and top hats might be a hit.
Rent some great movies from old classics to new releases to watch with your friends. If you have a favorite celebrity, it might be fun to chronicle his or her career by compiling the most famous clips from each movie that celebrity appeared in. Play a Hollywood game. There are different selections available including trivia games with Hollywood themes.
Make up your own Hollywood game. See how many movie stars or TV stars each of your guests can name. Another idea is to pick the name of a favorite celebrity and see how many words each guest can make from the letters within that persons name. Or, see how many movies or shows your guests can list that the chosen celebrity starred in. You can always play charades with a Hollywood theme.
You might want to give out a prize for the person who wins the most games over the course of the party. Perhaps you could give a gift certificate to the local movie theater. You might even decide to offer prizes after each game, such as a coupon for a free movie rental at your local video store.
If you don’t mind spending the money, you can create a black tie Hollywood style affair. Have your invitations -noting the date, time, and required attire- hand delivered but keep the location a surprise and hire a limo to pick up your guests and deliver them to your party. Have a red carpet for your guests to walk down as they enter the building. Hire someone to videotape each arrival as well as the rest of party. Have the affair catered and provide liveried waiters to serve hors d’oeuvres and fluted glasses of champagne. Offer a live band or a private screening of a recently released movie. You may even want to see if a trophy maker can create a mock Oscar award engraved with the date so your guests will have a souvenir from your party.
You can adapt this theme to a less expensive version by doing the work yourself instead of hiring people to do it for you. You can still ask your guests to dress formally and you can have them picked up by a car, your car, by your husband, friend, or willing teenager. You can roll a red carpet down your walkway and film each guest’s approach with your home video camera. You can make your own hot hours oeuvres in advance and heat them up just before the party. You can arrange them on nice platters and serve them buffet style instead of providing waiters. You can use plastic champagne glasses made for New Year’s Eve celebrations, and you can serve sparkling wine or inexpensive champagne.
The host or hostess should enjoy the party as much as the guests do. Don’t expect things to be perfect. They never are. Be able to laugh at minor mishaps and even at yourself if necessary. You will be far more relaxed and so will your guests, insuring that everyone has a good time.note