Remember piling into the back of the family car, snacks in hand, and heading to an open field for a drive-in movie? Sure, IMAX and 3D films are cool and all, but nothing beats a flick under the stars. To celebrate our two true loves, design and entertaining, we teamed up with experience delivery service Joymode to cross yet another item off of our #summerbucketlist: hosting a backyard movie screening. So break out the popcorn and dust off the old DVD, because we’re sharing our tips on the ultimate al fresco movie experience.
Tip #1: Select the ideal backdrop
First things first, decide where to place the movie screen. Your guests will want to enjoy that summer sunset while watching their favorite flick, so make sure that the screen faces east. When choosing a spot to set up camp, select an area with power.
Tip #2: Pick a unifying theme + gather supplies
Let the flick inspire your decor — watching Jaws? Go nautical with stripes and rope-accented lanterns. Screening Casablanca? Opt for layered rugs and leather poufs. But don’t forget the screen itself. We used Joymode, a handy party service that delivers a movie screen, projector, popcorn machine and more for easy set-up.
Tip #3: Create a comfortable seating area
Your guests’ comfort should be top of mind because they’ll be sitting an extended period of time here. Layer rugs, blankets or old quilts first, then add large poufs and floor pillows with higher seating ringing the back to be sure everyone has clear sightlines for the screen. Just as important as having a cozy space for guests to hang out in is having level surfaces for drinks and snacks. Make sure to have plenty of folding tables and trays on hand, or for a more rustic look, reuse wooden wine crates.
Tip #4: Set the mood
We’re big believers that a little lighting can go a long way. And nothing says “summer” quite like enjoying the great outdoors underneath twinkling string lights. Easily upgrade your party’s style by repurposing your Christmas lights and hanging them from the top of the movie screen to the sides of your home.
Tip #5: Be prepared to fight the elements
Unfortunately, pesky insects come with the territory of planning a party outside. Even if you’ve created the ultimate ambiance, no setup is complete without bug spray and citronella candles. Don’t let your guests take home a bug bite as their party favor!
Tip #6: Set up a concession stand
Keep your snack set-up simple, ensuring that everything is easy to eat for guests lounging on the ground. We like making a popcorn bar, setting up a big bowl of fresh popcorn with choose-your-own toppings like flavored salts, parmesan cheese, mini chocolates and more.
Like what you see here? Use invite code, LAURELWOLFJOY at Joymode to skip the waitlist, get membership for $75 (usually $99/year), and enjoy your first experience for free!