Outlander seems to attract the kind of fan who not only obsesses about the TV series, but also makes Outlander a way of life. Pretty soon they’re speaking Gaelic, wearing tartan wool as everyday cosplay, and hanging thistle accessories all over their home. (Some of us find excuses to wear our official Outlander wristers while we work. Shh!) Throwing an Outlander viewing party, then, is a natural extension of our love of all things Claire and Jamie Fraser.
To celebrate the release of Outlander Season 2 on DVD today, I thought I’d put together some elements I found on the web to help you throw your best Outlander viewing party. Feel free to incorporate as much or as little of these ideas as you like!
Sending the right invitation can set the perfect mood for your Outlander viewing party. Depending on your style, you can make them fancy or simple. Either way, the invitation will give your guest an idea of what kind of Outlander viewing party to expect.
sferra designs sells a printable invitation on their Etsy store. It’s got all the ingredients, like a tartan background, a thistle on the cover, and even a picture of Craig na Dun.
If you want to go all out for your Outlander viewing party, a couple of Etsy sellers have packages that included invitations and other goodies.
OllieDesignStudio’s Outlander party supplies include printable invitations, cupcake toppers, gift tags, bunting and signs.
DixieSisters sells an Outlander party pack that includes a banner, coasters, wine charms, invitations and something to decorate the utensil basket.
If you’re like me, you decide to throw parties at the last minute. In that case, there’s no time to order, print and mail paper invitations. You can still send a pretty cool invitation through Evite. And they even have a category for viewing parties! This one looks like the misty highland mountains.
The viewing party invitations are ready to go, but if you’re looking for something more Outlander-like, I suggest designing your own invitation for free. Here’s an invitation I made. I chose a gold background to represent the “amber” in “Dragonfly in Amber,” and added a picture of myself on the Outlander tour I took. (I’m always looking for an excuse to show off those photos!)
No matter what kind of invitation you send, make sure your guest has all the pertinent information: Date, time, location, what to wear, what to bring.
Rearrange the furniture in your TV room so that guests are comfortable and can easily see the screen. Throw down some pillows (preferably plaid, tartan or wool) and blankets for guests who want to lounge on the floor.
Have plenty of places for guests to set drinks or food without spilling them; I have a set of wooden TV trays we use for just such an occasion. End tables, bookshelves and upturned boxes and crates work too.
If it’s possible, dim the lights or don’t turn on all of your lamps so guests can easily see the screen. Even better, light candles! For me, a lot of those indoor scenes get so dark I have to brighten my screen to catch all the details! If you can’t dim an overhead light, try turning it off and bringing in one or two lamps for low lighting.
There’s almost no end to the ideas you could come up with for decorations for an Outlander viewing party. First, use what you can find around the house to keep your costs down.
Dig out a plaid tablecloth, or really, anything plaid.
Scotland is “verra” green, so gather all the greenery into the TV room.
Collect any rustic crockery or cookware or antiques that wouldn’t look out of place at Lallybroch and place them around the room.
Remember those candles I mentioned above? Not only are they good for low lighting, they add to the Outlander atmosphere. Use any candles you have lying about, the more varied they are the homier the room will look. If you’re feeling really ambitious, make paper luminaries, like the ones the Druid ladies use in the opening. (If you make enough of them, give one to each guest to take home!)
While your guests are gathering, having music playing softly in the background is a great way to ease tension and social anxiety. The easiest thing to do is play the Outlander soundtrack, either from Season 1 (my personal fave) or Season 2. You can buy the soundtrack or play it on Spotify or Amazon Prime’s Unlimited.
If you want to get a little creative, visit your favorite streaming music service, like Spotify or Pandora, and search for “celtic,” then create a new station to keep the playlist going. You’ll get to hear bands and musicians you might not have otherwise heard.
Lucky for us, Scottish food is fairly basic, but definitely delicious. And there are countless blogs about Scottish food and Outlander food, so I’m not going to beat a dead horse here. The most successful blog is Outlander Kitchen, where you can find dozens and dozens of recipes for everything from appetizers to desserts to food for special occasions. I highly recommend having Colum’s shortbread on hand.
If you’re pressed for time, you can always buy Walker’s shortbread, to server along basic food, like cheese and crackers, and apple slices, that can all be picked up at the supermarket, ready to go.
Now it’s time to have some fun! (As if you weren’t already.) Like most cultures, the Highland way of life is closely tied to eating and drinking. But Scotland is especially fond of its whiskey. (If you don’t already know, American whiskey is not the same as Scottish whiskey. American refer to Scottish whiskey as Scotch.)
If you have the time and money, inviting someone in to give you and your guests a lesson in whiskey would be a hoot. There are tours of Scotland in which the travelers do nothing but travel from distillery to distillery, drinking and learning about whiskey. At the very least, watch this short video on how to drink whiskey.
You should also read this highly informative, and blessedly to-the-point, article on Esquire about Scotch — er, I mean whiskey.
If whiskey isn’t your cup of tea (ha!), you could mix up the Comte St. Germain’s poison, which is made from the St. Germaine Elderflower Liqueur.
Be cautious with alcoholic drinks, however. You’re going to be watching TV for a very long time. You don’t want your guests dozing off!
To keep your guests peppy, you could serve them coffee. Then again, there’s always tea. Or, make hot chocolate for a themed, yummy and thoroughly non-alocholic drink. Why hot chocolate Remember Bree and Ian’s little chat about hot chocolate?
It’s time to dress up! Encourage fans to wear something Outlander related, even if they don’t want to go full-kilt. There are all kinds of accessories you can wear, from a simple sculpted Outlander pin to a Mackenzie tartan tie.
Ladies can wear long skirts and knitted shawls. Really, wear anything knitted. My favorite Outlander-inspired clothing of late is “wristers” or fingerless gloves. My cousin made me a cozy pair I keep in the car, and I have this official pair I bought on my (ahem) Outlander tour of Scotland.
Or, to take a page out of Bree’s handbook, wear breeches and an overly long shirt.
You could also buy cheap gold and silver rings at a party store to wear on each finger, just like Claire.
Men could wear plain white shirts and short pants, or dress pants. If they’ve got them, or can borrow them, a kilt wouldna go amiss.
Giving your guests favors isn’t a requirement. It is, however, a fun way to commemorate your Outlander viewing party.
You could make a Pocket Jamie for everyone to take home.
Or, you could give them something like a handmade “Dragonfly in Amber” soap.
Remember those inexpensive wedding rings from the party store? You could put one of each in a small net bag to give to each guest to take home.
In the End
An Outlander viewing party can be as sophisticated and complicated, or as simple and easy, as you like. Just look to Outlander for inspiration.
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Header photo by Kaboompics.com.