Matt Harrington for HomeGoods
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February 09, 2017 07:13 AM

After planning weddings for LeBron James and Nate Berkus, and organizing birthday parties for the likes of Katie Lee and the Rockefellers, it’s safe to say that celeb event planner Marcy Blum knows how to throw a glitzy gathering.

And while putting together an over-the-top event of your own might seem out of reach (and over budget), Blum’s insider secrets, including a little thrifty shopping and a lot of creativity, will get you a long way — especially when hosting a viewing party for the biggest award show of the year.

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1. Go for the gold. “Use a variety of all the nicest glasses that you already have — they don’t all have to match and can be different sizes and shapes. It’s more fun that way!” she says. “Glam up the whole event by picking up sparkly coasters, fancy cocktail napkins, frilled toothpicks and glitzy stirrers — all of which you can get at HomeGoods and still come in under budget.”

Matt Harrington for HomeGoods

2. But don’t go overboard on the glitter. The color scheme should be, “Glitz and glam, without overloading on the sparkles,” she says. “Mid-century modern neutrals are fabulous. That way all the sparkle can be on the trays and food platters.”

3. Set up for Snapchat. “Have an area for red carpet-worthy posing — but rather than your typical step-and-repeat, prop out a love seat or oversized chair with fabulous scarves, sunglasses and fans, for guests to pose for a Vanity Fair–style Oscar shoot,” she suggests.

4. Respect the super fans. “There are always one or two ‘serious watchers’ in the group, so if you have a second TV in your bedroom, for example, assemble a mini-watching area with some chairs and specify that as the ‘no talking’ room.”

Matt Harrington for HomeGoods

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5. Get in on the action. “Emailing the ballots around early in the week for all the main awards categories, and collating the responses in advance will go a long way to make the party fun and suspenseful,” she says. “The host can announce the correct guessers in each category as each award is announced on screen. At the end of the evening, award prizes to the first– and second-place guessers. A chocolate Oscar, bottle of bubbly or huge tin of popcorn make great gifts.”

6. Have some fun with the snacks. “I love the idea of tailoring each dish to one of the films that are nominated,” she says. The Arrival, a Prosecco and pomegranate punch served as guests arrive (“duh!”), La La Lemon Chicken Wings, Hacksaw Ridged Potato Chips & Dips, Manchester by the Seafood Crab Cakes, Hell & High Water(melon) Margaritas, Moonlight Mini Meatballs and Hidden Fig and Nut Mix are a just a few of Blum’s cleverly themed dish ideas.

While you can’t control who wins the actual trophies, you can bring home the award for best Oscar party. Just try to keep your acceptance speech short.

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