Last night, our friend Ted hosted a great event - dinner and a movie for 40+ friends. He choose the film and then put out the word by email for everyone to contribute a dish or beverage to a potluck dinner that we would all enjoy before the screening at his place.
It went off without a hitch - here are a few details from the event last night along with tips to make it work at your home:
Have an early start to the festivities: Giving everyone a chance to mingle, eat dinner and then enjoy the movie takes time, so getting things underway early is necessity.
Pick a movie that not many people may have seen before - Ted chose "Omkara" - a bollywood version of Othello. A tragedy...with a few musical numbers for good measure. It was dramatic (with a plot line we were all familiar with done in a new way), fun to watch and long enough to merit an intermission in the middle for dessert!
A projector is a big plus: Ted projected the movie onto the wall of the combo dining room/livng room allowing all of us (in the very large group) to see the film from wherever we had grabbed a seat. Even for a smaller party, projecting onto the wall makes it more of a "cinema" experience, so if you can get your hands on a projector, go for it.
Have the food match the film: We all enjoyed an Indian food feast. There was a large buffet set up with goodies from the guests - everything from home made naan to the host's delicious tandoori chicken. There was a great mix of everyone's favorites so we had a wide variety of things to try and, because of the central theme of Indian food, it all worked well together.
Same with the beverages: Indian beer, anyone?
Movie treats can't hurt: Ted had a stock of classic movie theater candy, which got passed around during the screening: Raisinets, Whoppers, Sno-caps and Twizzlers all went over well and brought back memories.
Definitely have an intermission: This gave everyone a chance to grab a drink, partake in the potluck desserts, chat a bit about the movie or say hi to someone who arrived late. It also gave those who had to make it an earlier night a natural, easy time to make their exit.