Growing up, my mom used to have all the mothers in our neighborhood over for awards shows. We'd all gather in our living room, in pajamas, noshing on snacks, commenting on the red carpet looks and sharing our thoughts on the movies and TV shows we'd seen from the nominee list.
Now, in my own home, I carry on that tradition by hosting annual viewing parties for the Golden Globes, the Oscars and the Emmys.
Yesterday I shared with you my picks for the Best and Worst Dressed on Emmy night and today I want to share with you the details of the par-tay.
To be honest, I spent much less time hunting for decor for this party than I have for other parties in the past. With Scout (my pup) I just don't have the time and brain space that I used to when it was just me. Now I do things as I remember them, which is often way too close to when they need to actually occur. #TheSruggleIsReal
For this year's Emmy viewing party I wound up ordering quite a bit online. What I couldn't order from the interwebs, I picked up the day of the soiree.
As you may have heard me say before, I like the start setting the tone for the event right from the moment people step in the front door. For Sunday night's affair, I cleared off the table in the entry way and placed a singular tall vase in the center with long stem red roses.
I think fresh flowers are such an easy way to elevate any occasion. This vase is a brand new one I bought during Kate Spade's recent sale. The flowers are from Star Market.
I normally decorate the tray on my ottoman with some type of movie candy and popcorn spread, but with the dog, it's a bit tough to put that much food that close to the ground.
So instead of a concession stand in the living room, I decided to take things up a notch and stage a photo booth in the dining room. From Oriental Trading Company I ordered a gold curtain to hang as the backdrop and a bunch of cardboard props on sticks, much like you've probably seen or used in a wedding photo booth.
A quick aside, I ordered a bunch of items from Oriental Trading Company for this party, about four weeks before go time. When the box arrived, I was so excited to open it and check out all the goods. As soon as I cut through the tape and saw the contents of the box, I was perplexed. Every single item was gold and said "Happy Anniversary" or "Happy 50th" on it. Hmmmm. Definitely not the theme I was going for.
When my order did finally arrive (10 days later) the box of photo booth props came with something for everyone.
Naturally I loved the gold star that said, "VIP."
I also enjoyed mock sipping out of the soda cup.
Now with my short hair, I was able to hold up the blond wig prop and actually have it look like my hair!
Here are a few snaps from the booth:
Before everyone left for the night, we set the self-timer on the camera and grabbed this shot of all of us together (see, I can't resist fake sipping on that soda!).
Next to the photo booth, I had a very small spread of decorations on the dining room table. I've had this gold table cloth (from iParty) for years. You may remember it from this year's Oscar party.
At the far end I had a cupcake tower shaped like a camera and reels of film. This was another Oriental Trading Company purchase. I thought it would be made of plastic, but it turned out to be cardboard and needed some light assembly. Whoops!
In the center of the table I had an unconventional centerpiece. I took a large crystal bowl and covered the bottom in floral marbles (50% clear, 50% red). Then I filled it with water almost to the top and individually placed circles of movie-themed rubber ducks.
I had completely forgotten that in August 2011 when I hosted a hurricane party (in honor of Hurricane Irene, which barely happened in Boston), I gave everyone a rubber duck as a parting gift. Some of the girls at the viewing party said, "Oh man! More ducks. I still have my rubber duck from the hurricane party." Well, at least I waited four years before reusing an idea, right?
At the end of the table closest to the living room I set up two plates of cheese and crackers on my brand new platters from the Fishs Eddy and West Elm collaboration (currently on sale for $12 dollars!). You may remember me sharing a different set of plates from that same collection in my 2015 Birthday Wish List.
I love the movie ticket pattern. It strikes the perfect balance between childlike and sophisticated.
The cheese plate situation only continued to grow after I took these pictures. We added a wheel of Brie, green apples, carrots, grapes, fruit dip and veggie dip.
The last area where I snuck in some party decor was the bathroom. If you've been reading this blog for a while, then you know my friend and Golden Birthday party planner Dustin is all about surprises in the most unexpected locations, even the bathroom.
For this party I decided to take a few rubber ducks from the centerpiece and have them showcased in the bathroom. I specifically chose the ducks drinking soda, because that is always the reason you have to leave a movie to pee!
Just as I was finishing setting up for the party, my friend Stephanie arrived to prepare the feast for the evening. Chef Steph, as she's known in our group, provides all the dinners for these annual viewing parties and she ups the ante every time.
To begin, we'd be having roasted butternut squash soup. Stephanie made this recipe for New Years Eve 2014 and it was a huge hit. The full recipe is here.
When she began cooking down the veggies, my house started smelling yummier and yummier.
Here's a shot of all the bowls lined up when we were ready to dig in.
To accompany the soup, she made three kinds of grilled cheese - Bleu cheese and fig, Havarti and tomato and Brie with chocolate chips and basil. Yup. Not a joke. Really happened.
I was so busy devouring these sandwiches, I forgot to snap the Brie one!
For dessert, the chef intended to make chocolate cupcakes with pumpkin cream cheese frosting. I neglected to mention to her before she came over that my oven was broken. The burners on top of the stove work, but the actual oven does not. Yeah, epic friend fail.
To try and make the situation less brutal, I suggested, "It's like your on 'Top Chef' and this is a challenge!"
Totally unflappable, she said, "We'll make do!" She then proceeded to bake the cupcakes in my toaster oven, six at a time. Unfortunately, the cupcakes wound up sinking in on themselves so she had to improvise.
She decided to switch her game plan and make cupcake parfaits. They came out beautifully and would actually make a sensational Halloween party dessert!
After hours of judging the red carpet fashions, rooting for our favorite comedy and drama stars and stuffing our faces, the nine o'clock hour rolled around and people started to fade.
The girls packed up whichever leftovers they wanted for lunch the next day (always a major bonus) and we hugged goodbye.
With that, the final viewing party of 2015 is in the books!
Tell me, did you host friends to watch the Emmys?