I recently celebrated my 31st birthday, and decided to throw a shindig at our home. I’m usually not one to enjoy planning my own birthday (probably because I plan events on an every day basis), but I figured it would be fun to try something new this year, so a soiree in our backyard was in order. The first decision, of course, was what theme I wanted to run with. After watching Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of, The Great Gatsby, a few months prior, a 1920’s, Great Gatsby-esque Soiree would be perfect (all the glam, minus the sad ending).
Below I have broken down how I transformed my birthday party into my own adaptation of a Great Gatsby Party. I hope you’ll find it to be the bees knees.
The first step to any party is deciding on who you’d like partying with you, and how you’d like to invite them. I didn’t want to go the evite or paperless post route (though I do love the paperless post platform), and a facebook invite felt a bit too casual, so I wondered if there was a way to make a simple website for this specific event, that wouldn’t cost money, and would take minimal effort. After researching, I came across Splashthat.com. Splashthat.com is a platform made specifically so you can make personalized event websites. They made it incredibly easy to add my own background, maps, video, pics, and more to make the page unique to my event. Here is the link to the invite (though I have made some changing out of personal information): GREAT GATSBY SOIREE INVITE
For a little added fun to play into the whole prohibition era, I set it up to send out an email with additional information, and a password for admittance to the party.
I am an ambiance person. I love my surroundings to be beautiful, with special touches to make it whimsical, glamorous, or festive. For the case of this soiree, I wanted touches of opulence, but I wanted to keep the luxe look very budget friendly. My first stop was 23rd Street in NYC, where there are 5 or 6 thrift stores all within a block of each other. This is where I was able to find beautiful silver serving platters for less than $5, and glassware that looked right out of the era, for less than $10. I used them as centerpieces, and as a lovely way to display hor d’oeuvres on our table. I checked out Lots for Less Closeouts, which is a a store that has a little bit of everything, at closeout prices, and Jack’s 99 Cent Store, which is definitely a go to place for throwing a party in NYC, for cheap serving platters, dishes, plastic-ware, votive candles, tissue paper, and more. I added a bit of glittery decor from Party City, and anything DIY, I obviously went to Michaels. Also, since my soiree was outside, and in the evening, I strung up cheap twinkle lights, and added candles to table tops, centerpieces, and along the stairway. Here is a sampling of the different pieces that made up the decor.
In preparation for the event, I researched what would have been served during the 1920’s, as well as what was mentioned about the extravagant food served at Gatsby’s parties. There were mentions of pigs in a blanket, whole hams, salads, oranges/fruits, deviled eggs, and gelatin treats. I decided to take some of these foods from the era and book, and make a modern interpretation for our menu. What was served is below:
–Baked Ham & Swiss Mini Sliders (we used 2 packages of 12, and changed nothing else, and came out perfect)
–Jello Shots (we made 2 types – blue raspberry and strawberry, both with vanilla vodka)
And just for fun for Dessert:
–A S’mores bar (just set out chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers, next to a fire source)
To label the food, I used the Free Food Label Printables from Cupcake Express.
I served lots and lots of champagne. If you’d like to spruce it up a bit, here are a couple cocktails that are mentioned in the book, or were popular in the 1920’s.
For extra fun, and knowing that my friends
like LOVE taking pictures, I decided to make a photo booth in our living room. It was super simple, and you can find the DIY HERE!
Outside of decor, music is another important factor in setting the tone of a party. For a Great Gatsby Party, 1920’s music consists of famous jazz artists like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Paul Whiteman. If you google 1920’s music, you’ll find an amazing array of cool jazz. I started the night with this type of music, then as the night went on, I switched it up to Electro Swing/Jazz, which takes jazz/swing music, and puts a faster beat behind it.
If you need a little more inspiration, Check out my Great Gatsby Pin Board!