An Outdoor Movie Night Bachelorette Party for Claire Thomas

Yayo Ahumada

Weddings are a lot like a movie: the bride and groom play the lead, vendors build the set, and friends and family comprise the supporting cast. While Claire Thomas's "feature film" wouldn't debut for another month, the blogger behind The Kitchy Kitchen celebrated in equally cinematic style with 20 pals for her outdoor movie night bachelorette party.

Claire's mom ("it was all very PG," the honoree promises) and sister threw the Viva Las Vegas-inspired fête in the backyard of her childhood home.

"All I wanted was to hang out with girlfriends, watch an Elvis movie (my favorite from when I was a kid), and drink root beer floats," Claire says. "It sort of spiraled out from there."

And evolve it did: The 1964 musical comedy, starring Ann-Margret and Elvis Presley, influenced the dress code and entertainment, while the era inspired retro eats and the reproduction of a drive-in theater.

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A Feature Presentation

Yayo Ahumada

Attendees mingled before showtime under string lights and prepped individual servings of fresh, movie-style popcorn spiced with Sriracha (a zesty alternative to melted butter) for the viewing to come.

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Costume Conscious

Yayo Ahumada

"I tried to channel Ann-Margret as much as possible," says Claire, who rocked high-waisted Madewell black jeans, a butter yellow Topshop sweater, and a heavy dose of eyeliner to mimic the actress's iconic look on the Viva Las Vegas cover.

The honoree took a break from the limelight to sip strawberry-spiked soda pop.

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Snack Attack

Courtesy of Claire Thomas

The at-home cinema incorporated dinner-and-a-movie dining with homemade appetizers, including pigs-in-a-blanket, artichoke dip, and crudités and dressing, on offer.

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I Want Candy Bar

Claire Thomas

Guests filled brown paper sacks with an assortment of gummies that played on fads made popular in the diner era, such as small soda bottles to represent coke floats and orange candies to call up creamsicle milk shakes.

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Chex Mixin' It Up

Courtesy of Claire Thomas

Inspired by Claire's Aunt Tina's addictive batch, the savory snack graced the buffet table—but only briefly; it was quickly gobbled by the handful.

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Chicks Love Chocolate

Courtesy of Claire Thomas

This Caramelized Popcorn Milk Chocolate Bar by Los Angeles-based Compartés (fittingly called The Drive In and packaged accordingly) didn't find one (movie) critic. Made from crunched up candy corn, kettle corn, caramelized movie popcorn, and a coating of cocoa, it's worthy of five stars.

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Bottle of Pop

Courtesy of Claire Thomas

A boozy soda fountain dispensing old-school pop, like Nesbitt's orange soda, gave signature drinks retro flair.

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Posh Quarters

Courtesy of Claire Thomas

Recalling the countless all-girl sleepovers of her youth, Claire created an outdoor den piled with Turkish rugs, serapes, and poufs for the gals to lounge.

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Backyard Screening

Yayo Ahumada

Viva Las Vegas played from a large screen, creating the environment of an at-home cinema, minus the previews.

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A Hunk of Burning Love

Yayo Ahumada

Just like the unexpected ending of a solid flick, the bachelorette party also took an unpredictable turn:

"My mom and sister surprised me with an Elvis impersonator," Claire says. "I've seen Viva Las Vegas at least one hundred times and used to practice The King's 'Come on Everybody' dance in the mirror as a kid. Apparently, I hadn't forgotten a single step! 'Elvis' sang, and we did the choreography. It was supremely awesome."

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Cool Classic

Courtesy of Claire Thomas

With dinner and a movie complete, next came dessert: Steve's Ice Cream pints in cold-brewed cinnamon coffee, blackberry honey, dark chocolate salted caramel, and small batch bourbon vanilla.

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Outdoor Candlelight

Courtesy of Claire Thomas

Chairs circled a warm fire pit, a cozy arrangement for late-night chats and movie reviewing.

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Courtesy of Claire Thomas

Photography: Claire Thomas; Yayo Ahumada

Event Planning: Beau and Arrow Events

Dessert: Steve's Ice Cream

Rentals: YEAH! Rentals

Wine: Club W

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