01 April 2015

An Outdoor Movie Party

We like to make a fuss for birthdays round here, for the big kids grown-ups as much as the younguns, and today is my husband's birthday.

For many a year I've been wanting to hold a Pinterest-worthy outdoor movie party, complete with lanterns in trees and friends snuggled under rugs on beanbags, watching a classic movie under the stars.
Last year I planned to do it for my own birthday, but life, overseas trips and weather got in the way.
This year when I asked the husband what he wanted to do for his 42nd birthday, he offered to fulfill my wish for a Movie Party, even though it wasn't exactly his idea of fun.

[Not enough Y's or R's to write "Happy Birthday Rory" on my Typo sign! Rocky is my hubby's midlife crisis name tho, so it's all good]

(My husband is very social and watching a movie on his birthday is not his idea of a good time. But he offered to do this theme because his mission trip to the Philippines upset my birthday movie party plans back in November.)

My idea was to show a movie we all know and love, something funny and familiar which wouldn't need to be watched intensely but which we could dip in and out of as we sat under the stars munching popcorn/jaffas/icecream and laughing with friends on beanbags.

With the theme decided, the Pinterest board running hot, a borrowed movie projector stashed away and movie party ideas flowing thick and fast, the only thing which could thwart a gorgeous evening of movie watching and popcorn munching was... the Auckland weather.

[I hung up one of our woven checked mats to keep the rain and wind out, plus another went on the floor - made it cosy]

Silly me. What was I thinking? An outdoor movie party in Autumn? In Auckland??? When it has been fine for weeks??? Now that's just asking for trouble.

Yep. Sure enough, a week out, the weather forecast was not looking pretty. I could stay in denial and cling to my plans/hopes OR I could face reality and come up with a workable Plan B. Because, really, who wants to watch a movie outside in the pouring rain? It just aint no fun at all.

[I played with vintage signs in Photoshop and got these cuties printed and framed; the bunting is SEWN by me. That's a first!]

By the end of the week a Plan B was definitely needed. The predicted rain was inescapable.
I won't bore you with all the permutations of Possible Plan B's - suffice it to say that we ended up with a compromise. Part Outdoor Movie-themed party; part Indoor movie (which only the kids ended up watching).

[MOVIE PARTY FOOD & DRINK: Lemonade & Sangria; cupcakes, popcorn & potato chips]

Sometimes you just have to surrender to Plan B and make the best of it. Sure I was disappointed that there was no cosy beanbag-movie-watching under the stars. (My day will come. One day I'll pull it off. ONE DAY!)

[The birthday boy meets my cousin Cheryl and contemplates the rain on the roof while we wait for guests to arrive...]
See, the main thing that makes a party a success is not the styling. It's not the decor, the themed food or the clever little touches that most people won't even notice.
No. The main thing - the most IMPORTANT thing - is that the birthday person feels sufficiently celebrated and that everyone who comes has a good time.
By that definition our Outdoor (sort-of) Movie Party was a raving success.

[Amazing six-layer chocolate cake made by the clever and awesome Ella-Talei]
The birthday boy had a fab time hanging out with his mates having an epic spontaneous darts championship.
The female contingent had a fab time hanging out in a cosy lantern-lit corner of the carport  movie-themed pavilion. The kids watched a movie or two on the big screen (inside)...

Everyone ate popcorn and drank (decaf) coffee, sangria, lemonade (and beer or two). There were MNMs, Jaffas, tangy fruits and oddfellows. Cupcakes and chips. And popcorn. Lots and lots of popcorn.

We stayed dry, we were cosy. We had fun. And it all looked fab too. 

Happy birthday husband!


I used lots of red, white and gold. Trays, crates, black and white prints of movie posters, borrowed glassware, bunting. Lots of lights, lanterns and candles, cushions and old wool blankets made the outdoor space feel cosy. The black and white checked mats are the ones we use for camping (we own three); they were purchased from an Asian emporium years ago and come in handy for so many things!
  • The walls were decorated with retro Movie Posters, which I found online, played around with in Photoshop, turned B&W and printed cheaply at Warehouse Stationery for .40c each on thick A3 paper. I stuck them up with gold striped washi tape.
  • Retro "concession" prints were also found online tweaked in Photoshop, printed in colour and framed using cheap re-usable frames I had bought for $7 from Bed Bath and Beyond. 
  • Trays, crates, tablecloths, lights and bunting have all been re-used from earlier parties. 
  • Gold bunting was the string type bought from Typo which I sewed into thick bias binding (and now looks so much better)
  • Rope jar lanterns are from Kmart. 
  • Treat bags, serviettes, cupcake wrappers and chevron cups are all from Look Sharp.
  • Food was simply movie concession treats (classic chocolates, lollies (like jaffas, tangy fruits, maltesers & MnMs), popcorn, chips, plus cupcakes) and the usual drinks, including our party faves Old Fashioned Lemonade and Sangria.

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