Big Guest List, Small Space

Are you planning a big Oscar party in your home that’s, oh, just a little smaller than a football field? Well you won’t have to worry about diagramming it out like a Silver Linings Playbook, and you needn’t make a Life of Pi-chart. It’s actually pretty simple if you just have a plan once you receive all your RSVPs.

Rule number one: Don’t talk about Fight Club. Oh, wait… that’s a few Oscar parties ago.

Rule 1: Don’t over invite

You just never know when somebody is going to disrespect your e-vite guest limit and bring along enough people to rival the cast of Zero Dark Thirty. So, you have to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Here are 9 Oscar party-related tips, which of course, can fit any situation in which you are hosting a small gala for big fun.

1. Life of Pi, and cookies, and cakes. Be sure to cook in advance so that you have time to clean and clear the pots and pans before guests arrive. This will prevent traffic in the kitchen from too many cooks who “just want to help”. Put snacks and drinks in a couple of different places so there’s no crowding up in one spot.

2. Silver Linings Playbook. Do you have bookshelves in your living room? Clear out a few hard-covers, put down coasters, napkins, and viola. You have a convenient spot for guests to set drinks and little appetizer plates down.

3. Les Miserables. You don’t want your place looking like the alleys of old-time Paris with trash overflowing everywhere. If using disposable dishes, please put a trash receptacle out that’s easy to see, or make a sign for the one that’s hidden under your kitchen sink. There’s nothing worse as a guest, than having to hunt for the dumpster.

4. Argo… put the coats away! Have a designated place for people to put their jackets and purses, and make sure they use it. Coats on the bed is perfectly acceptable, and it prevents people from laying them on or across chairs and making it awkward for other people to sit there.

Coats on the bed

5. Lincoln may have been the Great Emancipator, but you too can free people… from having to sit in just one place. You can do this by not only offering up your immovable sofa, but take chairs out from behind your dining room table, and if your coffee table is sturdy clear it off and encourage sitting there. Big throw-pillows and little beanbag chairs make for inviting floor-sitting. And, of course, folding chairs are always an option. If you have a patio area, it might not be clear you want people mingling out there, too: put up a sign by the door giving them permission to explore.

6. Django Unchained. And guests undressed… or at least, shoeless. You’ve already gotten them to ditch their coats, but why not keep on riding the casual train by asking them to take their shoes off at the door? Roll up your rug, and make it a perch to for their loafers and heels.

7. Zero Dark Thirty. Dim the lights. Make not only the look of your main party room casual and cozy, but light it accordingly. Think about it: would you be more likely to plop down on a beanbag chair or a velvet throw pillow under a bright spotlight, or by candlelight?

8. While you do want to encourage looseness, freedom, and fun at your big party in your little house, you don’t want the Beasts the Southern Wild knocking over your hand-painted vase from the Ming Dynasty. Be sure and stow awkward, fragile, or bulky items you might otherwise have in your main living and dining areas.

9. Amour. Most of all… love your party! Have a great time, don’t stress, don’t fuss, and your guests will feel great about your party even if there’s not always someplace to sit and whether or not the food is plentiful. (As long as the French wine is flowing…)

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Photo credits:  HGTV – Carol Schoenfeld & Chris Caselli; DIY Network; & themiddle-ages.blogspot

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