Blockbuster Entertaining on an Indie Budget

Hosting an awards viewing party? From wow-worthy bites to scene-stealing sips, we’ve pulled together our best tips to help budget-conscious hosts make a splash with less cash.

Cider 75

Cider 75 Recipe opens in a new tab

There’s something undeniably glamorous about throwing an awards night party, but there’s no need to spend money like a starlet making her red carpet debut. We’ve pulled together our best tips to help budget-conscious hosts make a splash with less cash.

Create a show-stopping cocktail. Nothing says sophistication quite like a signature cocktail, and nothing helps you stretch your beverage budget like a bubbly-based sparkler. Grab a few bottles of Presto Prosecco for recipes such as Cider 75 opens in a new tab or Apple-Pomegranate Fizz opens in a new tab. (The latter has a red hue, so you can rename it “Red Carpet Fizz” for the occasion.) 

Curried Crab on Crackers

Curried Crab on Crackers Recipe opens in a new tab

Small bites win the night. Since your guests’ attention will be focused on the screen, the awards night lends itself to small bites instead of a sit-down supper. Let Whole Foods Market’s prepared foods team do the cooking with heat-and-serve appetizers such as Sriracha chicken wontons. Pizza is always a crowd-pleaser, and when cut into small squares it’s the perfect size for awards night noshing. We have a variety of organic and wood-fired frozen pizzas that come in an array of flavors. If make some, buy some is your style, add homemade hors d’oeuvres to the table with budget-friendly recipes such as Bacon Jalapeño Stuffed Mushrooms opens in a new tab, Brie and Sour Cherry Toast Bites opens in a new tab and Curried Crab on Crackers opens in a new tab.

Have one big star. Just like a red carpet, even if your buffet has one big star, the whole scene feels fancy. There’s no bigger star than Parmigiano Reggiano opens in a new tab. Whole Foods Market only offers Parmigiano Reggiano that’s been aged a full 24 months, which means this bold flavor will steal the show in the best way. Our knowledgeable cheesemongers will cut to order, so you can get just what you need for recipes such as Parmigiano Reggiano Crisps opens in a new tab, Parmigiano Reggiano and Prosciutto Toasts With Balsamic Glaze opens in a new tab or Parmigiano Reggiano, Prosciutto and Arugula Flatbread opens in a new tab.

Photo of Parmigiano Reggiano Crisps

Parmigiano Reggiano Crisps Recipe opens in a new tab

Keep them entertained. When the show lulls, have an activity to keep things lively, like a simple blind wine tasting. This is a fun exercise for novice and expert drinkers alike, and Criterion® wines make it easy to do. This collection is comprised of classic, benchmark examples of wine styles from important wine regions around the world. Simply choose three varietals from Criterion’s roster to serve as the standard. (We suggest Pinot Grigio Friuli Grave, Malbec from Argentina and Chianti Classico.) Pair each one against a popular bottle of the same variety. Cover them all with paper bags and have guests compare within each category. For extra points, create an awards ballot of your own to choose a winning wine.

Be inspired by foreign films. Like a movie that transports you to far-off destinations, let your taste buds travel with an international spread. There are some great values on global flavors from our in-house brand of appetizers, including Whole Foods Market™ Potato & Pea Samosas or Whole Foods Market™ Brie Bites with Mostarda.

Do you have a tip for throwing a blockbuster party on an indie budget? Share your hosting hints in the comments!

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