10 Tips for Throwing an Award-Worthy Birthday Party

updated May 1, 2019
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(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

It’s awards season! While Hollywood stars are thinking about getting ready for the Oscars, the A-listers in your life could be preparing to celebrate a February birthday. Whether or not your party is pegged to the Academy Awards (or even this month!), there are a few things you should keep in mind when it comes to throwing an award-worthy soirée.

1.Keep your guest list varied.

Variety is the spice of life and a party too. Just imagine having an award show with only newbie actors and no Meryl; it’s just no good. Varying the ages, backgrounds, and interests of your guests makes for a more interesting party. I mean, half the fun of watching the Oscars is seeing bona fide screen stars interact with young Hollywood.

2. Give people red carpet-like treatment.

Greet guests by taking their coats and immediately getting them a drink — with service like that they’ll never want to leave.

3. Pick crowd-pleasing food.

You don’t have to be Wolfgang Puck to plan a party menu (although it certainly doesn’t hurt!). He made a bunch of dishes for last year’s Oscar festivities, including mini burgers, hummus with jicama sticks, deviled eggs, and more. And you can follow suit with these recipes.

Plan the Menu

4. Serve something sparkly.

Champagne has this way of making everything feel more celebratory, and there’s almost always a toast after a bottle is popped. Follow in the footsteps of the Golden Globes, where around 7,500 glasses of Champagne are consumed, and make sure you add some bubbles to the list.

Study Up on Bubbles

5. Customize a killer playlist.

While you might not have a Hollywood-style full orchestra at your disposal, you still want to set the mood. You could just put on your favorite Pandora or Spotify playlist, but consider making a new mix of your all-time favorite old and new songs. You can also put on certain songs that make you think of each guest. When the song comes on, tell that person why you picked it.

6. Keep some icebreakers on hand.

Sometimes, when you’re bringing together different groups of friends, things can get awkward real fast. That’s why funny people like Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, and Amy Poehler are brought in to lighten things up at the Golden Globes.

They might not be available for your birthday, though, so try adding some games (like Cards Against Humanity) to help people realize they have things in common.

Break the Ice

7. Provide some sweet options.

A dessert bar is as luxe as you can get at a party. Instead of one crazy expensive (or time-consuming) dessert, it’s more fun to vary it based on your (or the guest of honor’s) tastes. Love gummy candy? Play that up. If you’re obsessed with chocolate, take that theme and run with it.

Plan the Dessert Menu

8. Don’t forget the lighting.

Lighting matters at the Oscars (it even gets its own award category!), so it definitely deserves attention at your party. Stay away from anything harsh; instead opt for softer light from accent lamps or candles. Just make sure candles are carefully placed in a vessel where no one can accidentally brush against them or knock them over. The gorgeous glow candles cast on guests will make sure everyone is ready for their close-up!

9. Relax and have fun.

Once the guests arrive and the party is in full swing, you just have to go with it. Take a cue from Kimmel and roll with any punches or unexpected events that might come your way. Who knows, an unplanned moment or comment could be the reason guests remember your party for years to come.

10. Send people home with a swag bag.

Celebs get spoiled with all sorts of goodies at the Oscars. You might not be able to slip everyone a $300 pair of sunglasses, but you can make up little bags or boxes with homemade cookies, candies, or little crafts.

Get Inspired

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What are your favorite ways to make guests feel like Hollywood royalty? Let us know in the comments.