Summer Party Idea: Throw a Movie Night With the Stars

Time for a movie sesh under the stars. Just add popcorn!

June is Great Outdoors Month, and for good reason. These warm summer nights are begging us to get out of our homes. So, while the nights are still balmy, why not throw a movie night with the stars? No, I’m not saying you should invite Leo DiCaprio. What I mean is, move the party outside and screen movies in your own backyard! Here are a few tips for making your cinema soirée a success:

DIY Outdoor Movie Screen

DIY Outdoor Movie Screen

Make this DIY outdoor movie screen in less than an hour and turn your next outdoor get-together into a neighborhood movie night.

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

Create a Display

DIY Outdoor Movie Screen 01:31

Dan makes an affordable media screen for outdoor spaces.

First things first: set up your theater. This video by designer Dan Faires shows you exactly how to transform your backyard into an outdoor entertainment center. Other good options include renting an inflatable screen or simply projecting the movie on a white drop cloth or large white wall.

Set up Seating

Chairs to Spare

Chairs to Spare

Extra seating is a party essential. These cute folding chairs help accommodate everyone while adding color to the space. And when the blowout is over, just collapse and store until your next event.

Colorful fold out chairs like these serve as both seating and lively party decor. Plus, they’re super easy to store for your next party. Toss a throw pillow on each chair to create a chic look and help your movie-goers feel comfy. If you want a more casual and cozy vibe, provide blankets for your guests and let them pick a spot to sprawl out.

Create a Classy Concession Stand

Original_Camille-Styles-Outdoor-Entertaining-Jars_s4x3_lg

Original_Camille-Styles-Outdoor-Entertaining-Jars_s4x3_lg

Rather than your average run-of-the-muck movie theater concession stand, create your own upgraded version. Cook up a variety of popcorn flavors like maple nut, salted stout caramel or even maple chili. Of course, what movie night would be complete without candy? Pick up a selection of classic movie theater candy or even make some of your own. Serve your treats in large glass apothecary jars with decorative labels and give your guests paper snack boxes to fill with their choice of goodies.

Buckets for Beverages

Buckets for Beverages

What's cooler than a cooler? A galvanized metal bucket, of course. Fill one with ice and bottles of your favorite brews or sodas. Another party perk? It's easy to see when supplies are dwindling, so you can stay on top of restocking duties.

For drinks, set out a large galvanized metal bucket filled with ice and glass-bottled sodas. Or serve up some homemade slushies (which you can easily turn into cocktails for the adults).

Light the Pathway

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iStock-5607760_garden-path-lights_s4x3

Once the movie starts, your backyard will be pretty dark, so guests may have trouble navigating their way to the concession stand for refills. Outline a path that leads to the snack table and the back door of your home using votive candles in glass jars, globe lights or rope lights.

And the Winner Is…

Outdoor Theater

Outdoor Theater

When the summer sun gets too intense, invite friends to join you for an after-dark movie night. Hook up a projector to your laptop computer, then display a favorite summer flick on a screen or empty wall. Movie buffs of all ages will love a laid-back evening under the stars.

To get the word out about your awesome movie night, send electronic invitations to your friends. In the invite, include a link to an online survey with 10 movie choices. Tell your guests to vote for the movie they’d most like to see. On the day of the event, send out a mass text or email to announce the winner. Not only is this a fun way to get your invitees involved in the party planning, it also reminds them of that night’s event! Once everything is prepared, all that’s left is to sit back, relax and enjoy the show!

Outdoor Party Extras

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Chairs to Spare

Extra seating is a party essential. These cute folding chairs help accommodate everyone while adding color to the space. And when the blowout is over, just collapse and store until your next event. Image by Courtney Apple, courtesy of Society Social. Styling by Styled Creative

All-Purpose Stool

Sure, you could buy a table, a seat, an ottoman and a plant stand for your party, but why would you when one durable stool can do the job of all four? Design by Brian Patrick Flynn

Cocktail Cart

Don't tote heavy trays of drinks all over the yard! This bar cart has wheels, so serving is a snap. (You can also park it in a central location if you prefer guests help themselves.) Image by Courtney Apple, courtesy of Society Social. Styling by Styled Creative.

Cool Pool Caddy

If partygoers will be swimming, another smart use for a bar cart is a makeshift pool caddy. Fill the cart with sunscreen, bottled water, goggles and towels, then place it next to the pool for easy access. Image courtesy of Fermob

Folding Tray Table

A tray table used indoors for TV dinners becomes a stationary bar for outdoor parties. How's that for multitasking? Design by John Gidding

Indispensable Dispenser

Glass drink dispensers are a lifesaver for busy hosts and hostesses. Mix a batch of iced tea, lemonade or punch before the party, let guests serve themselves and mingle the night away. Jars as glasses strike the perfect casual chic note. Design by Kim Stoegbauer. Photography by Laura Winslow Photography

Multitasking Mason Jars

In addition to being adorable vessels for summery drinks, Mason jars can also be used to hold utensils, straws or votive candles, as shown here. Design by Layla Palmer

Romantic Lanterns

Keep your soiree swinging after sundown, and go for a glow. These hanging outdoor lanterns add light, as well as a romantic ambiance. Image courtesy of Laurie Bell

Mood-Setting String Lights

Don't want to spring for outdoor-specific lanterns? String lights can provide plenty of party flair. Drape them against a fence, curl them around a balcony or hang them under table umbrellas and in trees. Image courtesy of Oxford Garden

Buckets for Beverages

What's cooler than a cooler? A galvanized metal bucket, of course. Fill one with ice and bottles of your favorite brews or sodas. Another party perk? It's easy to see when supplies are dwindling, so you can stay on top of restocking duties. Image by Courtney Apple, courtesy of Society Social. Styling by Styled Creative

Soft Cushions, Shade and Speakers

All-weather umbrellas and soft cushions offer a chance to lounge in the shade or bask in the sun. And the portable speaker dock keeps the tunes going. You can even let guests attach their own MP3 player or smartphone for a chance to DJ. Image courtesy of Laurie Bell

Weather-Resistant Curtains

Weather-resistant curtains block bright light and help define the space around a porch. They also help shield your party guests from the prying eyes of neighbors — bonus! Design by Brian Patrick Flynn

Tough Tables and Chairs

If you like entertaining at a moment's notice, you may want furniture you can leave outside, but be sure to choose pieces that can withstand the elements. This purple table and chair set looks delicate, but don't let looks fool you. It's been given a high-protection treatment for outdoor use and has an anti-UV powder coating to ensure it lasts longer than a summer fling. Image courtesy of Fermob

Games Galore

Everyone loves lawn games and backyard diversions! Challenge family and friends to classics like badminton, croquet, volleyball, bocce and lawn bowling. You'll have fun and work up an appetite for party food in no time. Image courtesy of Pottery Barn

Wet and Wild Supplies

If it's a scorcher, tell guests to bring their bathing suits and cool down with a garden hose, sprinkler, water balloons or squirt guns. (Just don't forget to have plenty of towels on hand, too.) Image courtesy of Fermob

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