Have you ever wanted to show your friends how much you appreciate them, in a really big way? I’m all about telling someone how much they rule in person or with a sweet text, but you could also do it on a much grander scale with…an AWARDS CEREMONY PARTY! Imagine, all of your cherished pals in one place, for a night solely dedicated to celebrating them. Similar to entertainment awards ceremonies, like the Oscars or the Emmys, there’d be actual trophies, speeches, and even a red carpet!

Here’s my guide to throwing your own awards ceremony, complete with ideas for DIY trophies, food, outfits, and swag bags. Your guests will feel like the SHINING STARS THEY ARE!

Your friends are winners!

Your friends are all winners!

And the award goes to: everyone!

All people deserve an award for something. Maybe one of your friends is a talented chef when it comes to fixing up snacks, and you can always count on another to make you laugh. And you? Well, not to brag, but word is you give the world’s greatest hugs. Make DIY mini-trophies for everybody using simple craft supplies! It’s easy, especially if you use this tutorial as a starting point, which is what I did. I found some orange plastic cups and covered them with gold glitter spray paint (because of the paint, they’re just for display—don’t go drinking out of these!). Then, I googled “ribbon clip art” and printed some banners out. I wrote a customized message on each slip of paper, then taped it to a cup. Done!

Dazzle ’em with your decor.

I don’t know who makes the rules about these things, but awards ceremony colors are typically gold, silver, black, and red. If you want to go the traditional route, try finding a shiny gold or silver fringe to cover a wall, which you can also use as a background for a photo booth (more on that soon). Spruce up a corner of the room with balloons, and put out some silver or gold plastic tableware (if you have a Dollar Tree or a similar discount shop near you, they’ll have tons). And if you want to go all out, pick up a “red carpet” runner at a party supply store!

Get red-carpet ready.

I’m a fan of going over the top when it comes to costume parties, and there’s no better excuse to become a full-fledged glamazon than an awards ceremony! Find the most ridiculous gown or tux at a thrift store or dig into your closets. Someone’s mom or older sister might have old prom or bridesmaid’s dresses you can borrow. Pick up a pair of opera gloves and wear the gaudiest jewelry you can find. I always love a giant fake diamond on a gloved finger!

You can also find inspiration from your favorite celebs, who have lots of practice at putting together awards ceremony looks. Here’s Angelina Jolie looking ultra glam at the Oscars in 2004:


And Gwyneth Paltrow in her famous pink Ralph Lauren dress in 1999:


I must throw in Mariah Carey to get us in the mood for fancy dress-up, because she admits to even swimming in her evening gowns:


And let us also take a moment to appreciate the dress that costume designer Lizzy Gardiner wore to the Oscars in 1995:


It was made of golden American Express cards!

Smile for the cameras.

It’s all about making a memorable entrance and showing off your outfit. Each guest can pose for photos while everyone else acts like paparazzi. You could also set up a photo booth with the aforementioned shiny fringe as a background, and print the photos later.

Snack in style.

When it comes to food and drinks, achieve maximum cuteness by doing everything in miniature! Serve mini burger sliders, macaroni bites, little pizzas, or individual seven-layer dips. Shrink desserts by putting them in tiny cups or cutting them into bite-sized pieces. Another easy snack? Popcorn, served in bags like these!


I made a batch of macaroni and cheese and put them in small cups that were originally used to hold gelato. You can also set up a mac and cheese bar, with options for toppings like pesto, avocado, jalapeños, sun-dried tomatoes, breadcrumbs, or bacon, so people can customize their tiny macs. Don’t forget the tiny spoons!

Toasts instead of roasts.

Have you ever seen those Comedy Central roasts where the spotlight is on a particular celebrity, while other celebs take turns humorously insulting him or her? Even Justin Beiber was honored with one! For this party, instead of roasting your favorite humans, take turns toasting! Describe something you love about each person and explain why. Relay an anecdote from a time when someone solidified their awesomeness. Sharing happy moments will make everyone feel good. Plus, it’s a great way for you and your friends to remember why you cherish each other.

No one goes home empty-handed.

No awards ceremony is complete without a swag bag filled with fun goodies to take home! You kind find cute goodie bags at dollar stores, or leftover popcorn bags can double as goodie bags, too. Stock up on inexpensive candy, stickers, and mini-erasers. Hit up the dollar bins at your local craft supply store for little frames, or cut some of out cardboard and decorate your own, so your guests can print and show off their red-carpet pics!


How fun was that? This party deserves a standing ovation! ♦