Cottage Fall Hospitality Seasonal

Outdoor Movie Night

Have I got a fun fall idea for you!!!

Why not host an outdoor movie night?  It requires a little investment up front, but is so much fun and worth it! You will need a projector. I chose this one, and I love it because I can hook it up to either my phone or a laptop.

Sign announcing movie night in front of cottage
Welcome to Movie Night!

This was my second annual Fall Outdoor Ladies Movie Night–otherwise known as You’ve Got Mail Movie Night.  I considered showing a different movie this year, but was met with several resounding “No’s” from past moviegoers who love the story.  So I decided to keep the same movie and theme. I watch this movie once a year in the fall, anyway– I might as well watch it with friends who love it as well.

The plot…

The movie epitomizes the very best of what we want to think of when we think of New York City, specifically the West Side.  It was portrayed more like a friendly neighborhood than a section of a major metropolis, and upon visiting last summer, I couldn’t help but think that the producers got that right.  The locations used in the movie are actual West Side locations. There’s even a You’ve Got Mail tour of the West Side (self-guided; I found it on Pinterest).

Scene from You've Got Mail on backyard movie screen
Joe and Kathleen

You’ve Got Mail also appeals to Pride and Prejudice fans.  Joe Fox, played by Tom Hanks, is a good guy at heart who comes across as rather a prideful jerk, like Mr. Darcy. He insults Kathleen (Meg Ryan’s character) early in the story, prejudicing her towards him from that point on.  The conflict between them is symbolized by the bigger conflict between his large, corporate bookstore and her small, friendly one. The only difference is that, unlike Darcy and Elizabeth, Joe and Kathleen are actually unknowingly writing to each other (via email).

The food…

I asked each lady invited to bring a food that reminds her of fall.  (Last year, we also featured foods that remind us of New York– but after my cold hot dogs and stale pretzels, I decided to keep it more simple this year).  We had pumpkin bread, soup and sandwiches, and cookies. I also asked them to bring their own mugs for soup or coffee (I got this idea from a lady who used to have a neighborhood soup party and I love it! The hostess avoids running out of mugs, and everyone knows which mug is theirs if they set it down) and a camp chair if they had one.  Everyone bundled up, and we loaded up our plates and mugs and the ladies took their seats.

Entrance to backyard movie night-- path to backyard with lantern, mums, and pumpkins at head of path. In the distance, you can see the set up and string lights.
They came, they ate, they watched a movie!

The games…

Before starting the movie, I had a game for the ladies to play– You’ve Got Mail trivia– with questions from the movie.  We also played You’ve Got Mail Bingo during the movie. I used an online bingo-generator to create cards that had 9 different scenes or phrases from the movie in different squares so not everyone had the same card. When someone got 3 in a row, she yelled “Bingo!.”  This kept it fun and everyone on their toes. Winners chose prizes from a prize table, and all prizes were elements seen in the movie– a Starbucks cup with a gift card, a used copy of one of the children’s books mentioned, a bouquet of freshly-sharpened pencils, some daisies.

The results…

I received so much positive feedback on this event, you bet I am going to host it again next year.  Several ladies present were young moms exhausted from caring for their sweet little ones all day, and I loved giving them something fun to do that was just for them!  It was also fun to see a few ladies who didn’t know each other pair off with a new friend for a chat before the movie started.  

The end of the movie, where Joe and Kathleen kiss and live happily ever after.
Satisfying ending!

Tell me– if you hosted a movie night, what movie would you show, and what food would go with it?  I would love to hear your ideas!

Photo credits: Mandy Hepler

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