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Great Gatsby Party Ideas: Prepare to Indulge!

By Andrew Burgon / phoenix@projectfellowship.com
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February 28, 2015

Great Gatsby Themed Party Supplies dresses necklaces props

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Great Gatsby party dress
By Russell Patterson [Public domain]

Great Gatsby Party Ideas: Opulence and Sophistication

Great Gatsby parties are noted for their luxury and sophistication. A time machine taking us back to the roaring 20’s. The era of art deco and lavish living. Think of an elaborately decorated dining area and ballroom. Lively music, an abundance of food and lots of champagne. Amazing tablescapes complete with sequined table clothes and gold rimmed glasses. Glamorous crystal chandeliers. Oh, yeah, and gorgeous arrangements of white flowers. I’m going to briefly touch on the inspiration that launched a thousand Gatsby Parties and some of the things you need to make sure your very own Gatsby party is a success.

Gatsby Parties Origin

Image of Scott Fitzgerald by The World's Work (June 1921, p. 192 / Public domain

Image of Scott Fitzgerald by The World’s Work (June 1921, p. 192 / Public domain

We have F. Scott Fitzgerald to thank for these wonderful parties. He wrote the book, “The Great Gatsby.” One of the characters is Jay Gatsby, a young and mysterious millionaire, who holds the most fabulous parties.

Great Gatsby Parties:

Clothing & Accessories

1920s fashion

An example of early 1920’s fashion. Pictured are actor Douglas Fairbanks and actress Mary Pickford.

The roaring twenties was an interesting time in fashion.

Dresses were short or long sleeveless slip gowns that had dazzling beads, sequins, fringe and maybe even some feathers thrown in for good measure. Colors were predominantly soft pastels or rich jewel tones.

Lavish accessories finished off the look. Diamond tiaras or feather headbands.  Silk shawls and fur stoles. Long pearl necklaces, gold arm bangles and feather fans.

Great Gatsby Hairpiece

A pretty silver headpiece.

Image by Eva Rinaldi from Sydney Australia (The Great Gatsby Movie Premiere Uploaded by russavia) / CC BY-SA 2.0

Men on the other hand opted for dinner jackets (tuxedos). Those that didn’t wore striped suits, flamboyant neckties and homburg hats. Walking sticks were popular. Back then they were considered an accessory.

In a number of pictures I’ve seen women and men using long cigarette holders.

The_Great_Gatsby_Clothing Image by Eva Rinaldi Celebrity and Live Music Photographer (Flickr) / CC BY-SA 2.0 

Invitations

You definitely want to set the mood of the party from the get-go by sending everyone Art Deco inspired black and gold invitations. I’m talking geometric lines, patterns, arches and gold accents.

Mint Juleps

Mint juleps are one of the classic drinks from this era. Treat your guests to one as they arrive.

Simply muddle mint, sugar and water in a highball glass. Fill the glass with cracked ice, add Bourbon and stir well until the glass is well frosted. Garnish with a mint sprig. Recipe.

Dazzling Tablescapes

If you only opt for doing one thing well then I would say focus on the table setting. Black table cloth topped with white plates with a black and gold trim looks distinctive. Elegent gold rimmed glasses. Gold forks and a black silk napkin will all make you feel you’re sitting in the lap of luxury. You might like to see if you can also pick up a set of gold colored champagne flutes. Put those champagne flutes to good use by ending the night off with a champagne toast.

Dessert / Snack Table

If you want to have a dessert / snack table you can give it a more sumptuous look by layering your table. For example, plates help create the first layer. Then perhaps a rectangular glass bowl on a decorative black iron stand. Then a 3-tiered desert stand.

Decadent Cakes & Deserts

Cake Great GatsbyYou want cakes and desserts that help convey the opulence and decadence of Gatsby’s parties. You might go for a classic lemon Bundt cake partially covered with cream or a cake covered with cream and different kinds of berries.

Balloons

Pearl or white colored helium balloons look the best for this kind of party. Make these balloons your parting gifts to friends or at least any children that came with their parents.

Lighting

Without a doubt lighting helps give a Gatsby party it’s vibrancy, vividness and opulent feel. If you’re having a Gatsby garden party consider using stringed lights. Parties during that time often used them.

Decorations

Gold fabrics swathed across the ceiling. Dazzling chandeliers and candelabras. Large feather centerpieces on the back of chairs. White, peach or pink floral arrangements also with feathers.

Having a large model of one of the classic automobiles of the day on display will help evoke that time period. Perhaps a 1920 Kissel Model 6-45 ‘Gold Bug’ Speedster, a 1921 Mercer Series 5 Raceabout or a 1927 Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 Spyder Mille Miglia.

Naturally, unlike the extravagantly wealthy many of us have a limited budget. I hadn’t forgotten that! Fortunately, there are some amazing party supplies to be found on-line that may help you pull off a Gatsby party without emptying your bank account!

Gatsby Party Ideas

1927 Alfa Romeo 6C1500 MM Spyder

Image by Mr.choppers/ CC BY-SA 3.0

Activities

1. Get some appropriate music. Jazz legends like Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong started in the 1920’s.   Then teach guests how to do the Charleston! Another option is too find a great video on Youtube that takes you through the steps and play it on your HDTV or projector screen.

<iframe width=”620″ height=”370″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/pUpAcPAipDA” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

2. Such a party theme makes for great photo opportunities. Create a nice backdrop and have a few props especially for those guests who didn’t prepare well for the event.

If you would like to see lots of images of Gatsby Parties go over to my pinterest account and check out the category I have their dedicated to it.

Have you anything to add to Great Gatsby party ideas?

 
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