How to throw a great gatsby party

By Emma C | Aug 03, 2021

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The Roaring Twenties

Ever considered what it was like to be alive during the roaring twenties? The Roaring Twenties, more commonly known as the 1920s, were a decade of contrasts. The First World War had ended in victory, and peace and wealth had returned with it. The battles had proven to be quite profitable for some. During the war, manufacturers and providers of items for the war effort profited and became extremely wealthy, indeed life had never been better for the aristocracy and wealthy classes. In the cities, nightclubs, jazz clubs, cocktail bars and casino themed entertainment thrived. For some, the hedonistic lifestyle depicted in books and films like The Great Gatsby was an escape from reality.

How to throw a great gatsby party

Because they were too young to fight, this generation mostly missed the war, and there may have been a strange sense of regret or guilt that they had escaped the horrors of battle. Because so many other young lives had been lost on the battlefields of Flanders, they may have felt compelled to live life to the fullest.

Even though many technologies were invented prior to this decade, widespread acceptance of many older technologies resulted in a significant shift in people’s lifestyles. Automobiles, telephones, movies, radio, and domestic electricity all became commonplace. This brought people together and offered them the freedom they didn’t have before. Despite being formed in the late 1800s, jazz was the new music type to dance to. This musical genre, which African-Americans in New Orleans created, began to gain mainstream acceptance and drive the jazz kids wild.

The Great Gatsby

F. Scott Fitzgerald is arguably best known for writing The Great Gatsby, published in 1925. It is set in 1922 during the Roaring Twenties and tells the story of one man’s quest for the American Dream. Nick Carraway, the narrator, is a wealthy American who relocates to New York to pursue a career as a bond trader. He meets an eccentric, exceptionally wealthy neighbour named Jay Gatsby. Unfortunately, he becomes entangled in Gatsby’s scheme to revive a lost love with Daisy Buchanan, Nick’s cousin. Jay Gatsby, the protagonist, is involved in criminal activities such as bootlegging or selling booze during prohibition, when alcohol was prohibited in the United States. He throws lavish parties and ultimately meets his sweetheart Daisy and begins an affair with her. Unfortunately, Daisy’s husband, Tom, is having an affair with the wife of a garage owner, Myrtle Wilson. Daisy strikes and kills Myrtle while driving Gatsby’s automobile on her way home from New York.

Completely oblivious that she has murdered her husband’s mistress, she flees the scene. Myrtle’s husband is depressed, and he is on the lookout for his wife’s killer. Daisy’s husband, Tom, leads him to Gatsby’s house, where he kills Gatsby and then himself, putting an end to Daisy’s affair.

Party Time

There’s nothing quite like throwing a themed party to have a good time. But, setting the tone with magnificent décor, delectable treats, party favours, and getting dressed up is only half the fun. A Great Gatsby party or Roaring Twenties soiree is an idea that never goes out of vogue. So it’s no surprise that Great Gatsby-inspired parties are popular, with their flapper dress, Art Deco décor, and epic dance skills. However, learning how to make your own requires some party planning.

Venue – Look for a venue with a ’20s vibe if you’re looking for a place to hold your event. Exotic materials, brilliant colours, and geometric patterns dominated Art Deco design throughout this period. The theme was elegance and richness, with decor ranging from Egyptian-themed paintings to ebony tabletops. Geometric prints, metallic and mirrored objects, vibrant colours, Bauhaus-style furniture, and ornate chandeliers are significant design themes from the 1920s. If you’re hosting the party at your house, there are a lot of items that obviously reference the decade’s design.

Decoration – You can’t go wrong with a black and gold colour scheme and glittery components for your Great Gatsby party décor. Rich jewel tones, modern forms, and materials like leather and feathers, on the other hand, are all appropriate for the decade’s aesthetic. Entertainers can be greeted with gold and black balloon arches. Try draping tabletops with silver and gold sequin runners and placemats for a more metallic look. Ostrich feather centrepieces in white and silver provide a subtle touch of elegance, while black and pearlescent balloons help add spice to your room.

Dress Code – A considerable part of the enjoyment of a Great Gatsby party is getting dressed up. At these gatherings, the dress code is all about the flapper from the 1920s. Flapper dresses are usually knee to ankle length, straight, sleeveless, and loose. Beads and sequins are typical embellishments, and many ladies wear them with feather boas or long pearl necklaces. Lavish Great Gatsby party attire is completed with diamond-dripped headbands, tiaras, and gold bangles. Solid suits are necessary for elegant men like Jay Gatsby, but feel free to change it up with pinstripes, plaid, and even pastels.

Music – The jazz, dancing, and creative flair of the Great Gatsby party theme are prominent features. Complete the feel of your Art Deco party with music that will keep your guests dancing all night. The styles of jazz, blues, swing, and Broadway music were all popular during the decade. Your guests will have an awesome evening.

Hopefully, you now have a few ideas to set you on your way to throwing a fantastic Gatsby themed bash. These tips will have your friends talking for weeks after the event and could inspire them to host their very own party.

There’s no doubt that media influences event themes, from Despicable Me Minion cupcakes at birthday parties to Frozen, Midnight in Paris, and James Bond themed events. Themes are the perfect way to jazz up any event. They also provide flair, planning direction, and icebreakers for your guests. Themes can simplify planning, invoke excitement for those who enjoy dressing up, and bring something special to each unique function. These parties are an exciting, invigorating way to approach an otherwise boring, predictable event.

A few years ago, fashion and media revolved around a fascination with the 1940s; reminiscent of Golden Age thinking and a belief that the past was simpler, kinder, and purer. Alternatively, because the tycoons of the past knew how to party, and could take a drink any hour of the day (ie. Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire). Similarly to the 40s and the day-drinking attitude of roughish leading characters; the 20s boasted a time of excessive drinking in the face of prohibition.

How to throw a great gatsby party“The Roaring Twenties” have risen to popularity in media with Midnight In Paris, and naturally, Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby; there is something intrinsically popular with the 1920s and its simplicity, a godsend for event planners. What is seductive about the 20s from an event perspective, is the wild, carefree style it seems to inspire. For the 20s, an age nestled between wars, and on the brink of depression, the flappers, philosophers, vixens, and gangsters had no choice but to party until the sun rose. Thus, the 20s are a perfect recipe for Carpe Diem or more newly named YOLO. You Only Live Once so why not party like the world will end tomorrow?

The 1920s are a perfect theme for any occasion; a New Years Eve bash, office, anniversary, or birthday party. This theme doesn’t seem like it’s going to go out of fashion any time soon, and can be effortless to pull of, merely because there is little to no historical accuracy linked to flappers and vintage parties anymore. Few remember details other than bold makeup, short hair, and flapper dresses which are popular in fashion today.

Hosting a Great Gatsby party can be as simple as providing booze, cheap pearls, and an invite that demands Great Gatsby Party costumes. Throw in some jazz and the event is transformed into a decadent and charming affair. Historical accuracy has been recklessly abandoned by many who pursue such a theme, just as the inhibitions of the era that has inspired this particular theme (oh the irony!). While fashion and makeup trends continue to adore the 20s, there’s no doubt that this theme will continue to be popular; proving that the media and fashion industries are not sick of it yet.

Gatsby is here to stay, and these wild parties have a vaudeville, never-care, “YOLO” attitude which will inspire only the truest sense of the phrase Carpe Diem. So if you haven’t already, plan the Greatest Gatsby party ever, and you’ll find that A Little Party Never Killed Nobody.

How to throw a great gatsby party

A while back, a friend and I talked about what our 1920’s names would be if we had been born in that decade. I’m sure it was a wine or beer infused conversation but I went to sleep that night as “Rubygail” and woke up knowing I couldn’t just leave it at that. I began mind-planning. I was going to throw a Great Gatsby themed party – a roaring 20’s bash of time – and live out my inner flapper girl, Rubygail.

As my 36th birthday approached, Husband and I were having trouble finding a location for such a soirée. I wasn’t convinced that our apartment would be big enough but Husband, channeling his inner 1920’s highfalutin’ fella-ness, threw caution to the wind. In the end, with rearranging and the right touch, Husband was right (he knew his onions this time) and our apartment was the bees knees. (Yes, Husband. You were right this time.)

So how do you throw a killer Great Gatsby themed party? Easy squeezy… and I’ll start with the most important detail…

How to throw a great gatsby party

T H E G U E S T S

By far, the most important thing you will need – for any theme party – are guests that will play along. A theme party falls flat if people don’t come dressed up or aren’t willing to “show up,” as Husband and I like to call it, and play along. Luckily, we don’t have a problem finding guests that go all out.

How to throw a great gatsby party

How to throw a great gatsby party

How to throw a great gatsby party

How to throw a great gatsby party

S A M ‘ S B A R & L I G H T S

The most significant touch for decor as far as I’m concerned were the cafe lights and “Sam’s Bar.” If you’ve got those two things, you’re more than half way there. The makeshift bar was a big hit and became a focal point of the party. Between that and our serious cafe lights, our apartment felt like a real speakeasy. Husband’s grown-special-for-the-party ‘stache didn’t hurt.

How to throw a great gatsby partyBartender Sam, himself How to throw a great gatsby partyCafe lights and flapper girls How to throw a great gatsby partySam tending bar

How to throw a great gatsby party

T H E L E A D U P

Creating anticipation is as important as execution. People need to be excited and to build excitement you have to, well, build it. The week of the party, a daily email was sent written in 1920’s fashion with a new detail about the party. To preserve the speakeasy feel, the location and the password weren’t disclosed until the day of.

(I’ve saved all the lead up Gatsby Party emails here for you. Lemon squeezy, right?)

T H E E N T R A N C E

First impressions, are everything… and we slayed this one. Our guests were greeted with a “name station” and then asked to come in through our “back door” where empty cardboard boxes were stacked and labeled with BOOTLEG and PROHIBITION signs, candles were burning, and lights were dimmed.

How to throw a great gatsby party

A sign hung on the door asking them to knock and await further instructions. On the other side, Bartender Sam asked for their 1920’s name, password, and the name of who sent them. It was pretty funny to hear everyone add their own twist to the response.

What’s the password?

Who sent ya, hey?

The blind pig sent me.

How to throw a great gatsby party

How to throw a great gatsby party

T H E S M A L L D E T A I L S

To bring it all together, we printed vintage posters, Prohibition signs, and Wanted flyers. We also took the 1920’s slang (links found in Gatsby Emails or just Google) and taped those on the wall. My favorite was that I got to repurpose our last year’s “Night at the Movies” party picture when we went as Bonnie and Clyde and use it as a Wanted sign.

How to throw a great gatsby party

How to throw a great gatsby party

A L I T T L E S U M P T I N ‘ S P E C I A L

Having a little something special planned is a neat little way to break up the evening so in the middle of the Gatsby Party, we had a Charleston dance contest. I found two videos on YouTube – both short, fun and informative – that showed basic dance moves for 1920’s style dancing. We told our guests they would watch the videos and then be on their own. When the contest and dancing started, Husband and I tapped people on the shoulder to let them know they were “out.” The prize was a bottle of rum and the outcome was spectacular. Again… the amazing guests are everything!

How to throw a great gatsby party

H A V E F U N

The rest was pure enjoyment. Bartender Sam mixed up great cocktails and people danced, laughed, and mingled.

How to throw a great gatsby party

How to throw a great gatsby party
How to throw a great gatsby party
How to throw a great gatsby party

Got any other suggestions for a Great Gatsby themed party?

W A N N A H O S T A G A T S B Y P A R T Y ?

Here is a quick guide:

Google vintage posters, speakeasy, prohibition and similar words and find images you like. Save them, print them out, and hang them up. Here are a few vintage posters I liked.

Lights, lights, lights.

Be secretive and clandestine about the location and password; it adds to the mood.

What “special” treat could you add to your Gatsby party? A dance-off, a champagne toast, some Burlesque dancers?

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How to throw a great gatsby party

Regardless of your taste in literature, you may have heard about The Great Gatsby. As one of the great American novels, it has captured the flair of the 1920s, and remains one of the most popular pieces of writing to come from the U.S.

The 2013 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the titular role has only added to the novel’s popularity. Directed by Baz Luhrmann, the movie’s visuals did a marvelous job in capturing the essence of the Roaring Twenties. As polarizing as Luhrmann’s take was on the novel, it was quick to paving a way for The Great Gatsby party theme.

Today, a Great Gatsby party remains a great way to dress up in 1920s attire, to decorate your home in the colors of the decade, and to simply immerse yourself in the razzle-dazzle of the Roaring Twenties.

And it’s not that difficult to pull off either. In fact, it’s as easy as smoking a Black and Mild, which lets you enjoy the ‘20s fondness for pipe tobacco but in the form of a cigar.

If you are a movie buff looking to throw a party Jay Gatsby would be proud of, then these tips will help you put together the perfect Roaring Twenties bash.

It’s All About the Ambience

How to throw a great gatsby party

The most important rule of a Gatsby party is to transport your guests to the era it was set in. You don’t really need a time machine to do so. A few visual and sensory cues are all you need.

Send Out the Invites with the Era in Mind

A true Gatsby party deserves a 360-degree approach with the 1920s’ lens. This also applies to the invites.

Instead of sending out a text, make sure that you take the time to send physical invites. As recommended by Martha Stewart, a “swoopy Venetian script” pulls off that handwritten invite look quite easily. Here, you can define the dress code and other details for your guests.

And if you play with the senses by putting in a pipe tobacco cigar such as Black and Mild in the envelope, then it just elevates the invite like nothing else.

Put Together the Décor

Whether it is at your home or another menu, make sure that there’s a lot of gold and Art Deco themed decorations in place to bring out the romance of the 20s. If you are serving alcohol, then make a mighty display out of your champagne bottles and flutes.

Once again, since the sense of smell plays a big part in setting the ambience, lighting up some pipe tobacco cigars such as Black and Mild would help you greatly.

Choose the Music

Nothing would speak more for a Great Gatsby party like its music. Make sure you are selecting a lot of jazz, but also pay attention to the movie’s soundtrack itself.

With that, also see if you can pull any tracks from modern albums that aren’t strictly in line with Luhrmann’s magnum opus but still make the cut for the 1920s.

For instance, while you are playing Lana Del Rey’s Young and Beautiful from the movie, also pay attention to the artist’s other tracks such as Art Deco. Another non-traditional choice would be Panic! at the Disco’s Roaring 20s, which makes for a great background music for your theme.

This mix of different music styles that fit the 1920s theme would take your part to another level. From there, it is all a matter of putting your smoking jacket on and enjoying a Black and Mild, or hitting the dance floor with a glass of champagne.

How to throw a great gatsby party

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How to throw a great gatsby party

How to throw a great gatsby party

How to throw a fabulous Gatsby 1920’s Party

When it comes to throwing an over-the-top, Gatsby-style bash, we know it don’t mean a thing if you ain’t got that swing… music. That’s why we’ve dug through the archives to find the finest jazz and swing tunes to serve as the soundtrack to your 1920s party with our fabulous Mood Music Gatsby Band. From Cole Porter to Louis Armstrong and more, we have over 80 Great Gatsby songs in our band pad and waiting for you. …to dance the night away!

What do you get when you cross the most lavish literary scene of all time with the biggest party night of the year? A Gatsby-themed bash that’s sure to go down as your most epic party yet! Transform your typical year-end bash into an extravagant 1920s soiree reminiscent of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby with the Mood Music Gatsby Band.

You’ll need fabulous period decorations, your guests will find it easy to dress in the 1920-1930s style – and the good thing is that everyone looks good in dress of the period, and it’s easy to get hold of…but of course, the music is perhaps the most important element of the Gatsby Event…it will be crucial to the success of your party!

A little research will be paramount – the Mood Music Gatsby Band has researched this thoroughly and loves to play this style music…we will also branch out at the end of the evening with some more contemporary dance numbers – ensuring that all of your guests have a top night!

A little more information on the Gatsby music for your reading pleasure:

Any “Great Gatsby” party needs a good playlist. Here are a few great jazz tunes that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s hero might have cued up in the Roaring ’20s:

Fletcher Henderson, “Shanghai Shuffle” (1924)
Pianist Henderson’s big band was a laboratory for the coming Swing Era revolution. This number is lifted to the heights by Louis Armstrong’s cornet solo: He squeezes, moans, floats and otherwise examines a single note from a blurring succession of angles; it’s pure soulful exuberance. Behind him are various legendary players, including tenor saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, who once said that Armstrong’s nightly solos on “Shanghai Shuffle” left him “silent, slack-jawed, almost ashamed.”

Jelly Roll Morton, “Wolverine Blues” (1927)
Taking a break from his Red Hot Peppers sessions, the pianist recorded several tracks with a stripped-down trio. Here we have the pianist-composer’s rollicking, ragtiming, jazzing accompaniment to the sandy-toned clarinet of Johnny Dodds and the rhythmic essence of drummer Baby Dodds. This is a special corner in New Orleans heaven.

Bix Beiderbecke (with Frankie Trumbauer and His Orchestra), “Singin’ the Blues (1927)
Fragile and melancholy in tone, the trumpeter often is characterized as Armstrong’s temperamental opposite. But on his much-imitated solo here, Bix not only “sings” sweetly, he leaps and growls and gives his notes a shake, a sad-eyed man hinting at a more complicated story.

Duke Ellington, “The Mooche” (1928)
Even in his early days, Ellington fashioned his sound to both complement and crown his soloists. Here, once again, is trumpeter Bubber Miley, bending and growling his notes around the moaning, march like strains of the orchestra. The “epitome of soul” is how Ellington once described Miley; the same phrase applies to Duke and the rest of his sublime band.

Louis Armstrong and his Hot Five, “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” (1929)
Sing it, Louis! Armstrong does everything here, transforming a pop tune of the day with his slip-slide vocals and shining trumpet. His friend Rex Stewart, another great trumpeter, got it right when he compared Armstrong’s art to “a wand of rainbows or a cluster of sunlight, something from out of this world.”

• Sing, Sing, Sing – Benny Goodman
• Take the “A” Train – Duke Ellington
• What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
• Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love) – Cole Porter
• Sugar Foot Stomp – Fletcher Henderson
• My Blue Heaven – Benny Carter
• A Night in Tunisia: Coleman Hawkins
• It Don’t Mean a Thing – Duke Ellington
• Anything Goes – Cole Porter
• Night and Day – Art Tatum
• Puttin’ on the Ritz – Fred Astaire
• They Can’t Take That Away from Me – Louis Armstrong & Ella Fitzgerald
• I Got Rhythm – Don Redman
• Crazy Rhythm – Benny Carter
• Blue Skies – John Kirby
• Charleston – Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra
• Chicago – Benny Goodman
• You’re The Top – Cole Porter

By Lauren Pozmanter Published: May 17 2013

Do you love all the parties you saw in The Great Gatsby? Check out these tips on throwing a Great Gatsby Wedding!

How to throw a great gatsby party

As many Long Island natives know, current blockbuster The Great Gatsby takes place on our lovely Island and provides some of the most lavish party scenes in literature. Many moviegoers or people who have read the novel seem to have the thought, “I wish I could throw a party like Jay Gatsby.” Well good news Long Islanders, you can! And the best time to throw this kind of glamorous affair would be your wedding day! Take a look at some of these tips on how to throw a party just like you saw in The Great Gatsby !

The best place to host your Gatsby themed wedding would no doubt be in any of the Gold Coast mansions. These mansions were home to some of Long Island’s most lavish parties and home to the very well to do, much like Gatsby. For a true Gatsby feel take a look at Oheka Castle for your wedding day. The grounds feature a beautiful mansion and gorgeous gardens! Any other estate on the North Shore will provide the perfect setting for a Gatsby wedding. If you are looking to keep the budget lower then take a look at a local yacht club, it will still give off a very Great Gatsby vibe!

What to wear…

While some people might associate Gatsby with all things extravagant the real kind of dress you should be looking for is far simpler. Look for something with a vintage touch but that keeps with a sleek and slim look. Lots of beading and stonework would be very appropriate as long as it’s not on a princess ball gown. For the bridesmaids, you can go with a little more of obvious twenties look. This would be the time to wear the flapper dress if you want those included! For the men, different colored three-piece suits are a possibility. Gatsby’s famous pink suit could easily be given to the groom’s party of the groom himself!

How to accessorize…

This is the most distinctive feature when it comes to the dress from the twenties. Hairpieces, hats, and feathers were all the rage in the twenties and are very prominent in the recent Gatsby revival. You can even wear long opera gloves that go to the elbow and a feather boa if you’re really getting into it! For the bride you should definitely be looking to use long strands of pearls to accessorize and jeweled hairpieces. As far as hairstyles go look to do something with a bob or with a retro updo. Lots of jewels and statement pieces are the way to go when it come to accessories for the bridal party!

What to serve…

When it comes to beverages you really have to go with champagne and martinis. This is a Gatsby staple that is a must have. If you are not a fan of a traditional martini then you can use different flavorings. You can also serve scotch and whisky for a mature touch. When it comes to food you’ll want to serve mini hors devours for appetizers and then something much more seafood based such as lobster for your main course. For poultry serve something a little more gamey like rabbit or duck. For desserts serve anything you want as long as its mini! Mini cakes and macaroons are a must!

Escape to the 1920s with a magical soirée

Just in time for the holidays, Relais & Châteaux has released their first ever entertaining book, The Art of Entertaining, published by Rizzoli New York. Each chapter features a decadent soirée put on by a Relais & Châteaux hotel, with tips and recipes for hosting your own take on the event at home. The book’s Glenmere Mansion chapter features the hotel’s elegant Great Gatsby Dinner Party. The event allows an intimate group of guests to step back in time to the Gilded Age and experience the glamour of a bygone era. Here, the hotel owner, Alan Stenberg, and executive chef, Gunnar Thompson, reveal how to host an impeccable Great Gatsby Dinner Party of your own.

Owner, Alan Stenberg

How did you come to throw a Great Gatsby Dinner Party at Glenmere?

Glenmere Mansion was built in 1911 in the lower Hudson Valley as the Goelet family “Gilded Age” country estate. During Glenmere’s heyday in the ‘20s and ‘30s, the Goelet’s hosted royalty, celebrities, the social elite and the titans of industry for “English Country Weekends” where large parties gathered for great food and spirits along with hunting and games. The fictional “Gatsby” of Fitzgerald’s famed novel lived in this rarefied period of social history and Glenmere today offers its guests a peek into that fabled past in entertaining. Just after opening 6 years ago, some of our first guests began organizing hotel parties around a “Gatsby” theme with a nod to this wonderful time in history.

What makes a great event?

Having owned and run a hotel now for the last 6 years, Dan and I have discovered the planning of a great event at home on a small scale can work just as well in a hotel setting. Guests need to feel the evening is not too staged or thought out when it comes to making guests feel welcome and relaxed. Let the party evolve and takes its own course. Set some parameters for the evening but let the guests take the journey and create the magic together. The most memorable events of a party are the spontaneous things that happen when you mix a diverse group of guests together, like when someone got up recently at a dinner party and began singing opera acapella between courses. It was sheer unrehearsed magic!

How did the space influence the event?

Since Glenmere was once a family estate having a Gatsby party at Glenmere is like having a party at your rich uncle’s estate (if we all had one!). The hotel and 150 acres is a cross between Gatsby’s estate on the North Shore of Long Island and “Downton Abbey” of PBS fame. We use the library or terrace overlooking the lake in warm weather for pre-dinner cocktails, a private dining room with one long table for guests and after dinner drinks and music in the living room after the main dining event.

What are your tips for throwing a Great Gatsby party?

Offer fantastic period drinks like interesting martini options and Jazz Age classics like Sazeracs and French 75s. Colorful drink options and a wonderful tasting menu of foods from the period set the stage and reinforce the theme without making the night appear like a costume party.

The best Gatsby parties we have had at Glenmere do not require guests to wear Gatsby attire. The evening is more a nod to the period by offering elegant hospitality from a bygone era. Fantastic foods and spirits reminiscent of the age are enjoyed while a lively jazz combo is playing all the favorites of the Roaring ‘20s.

Photographed by Melanie Acevedo and David Engelhardt

Executive Chef, Gunnar Thompson

What do you suggest serving at a Great Gatsby Dinner party?

I suggest selecting classic dishes of the 1920s era such as Waldorf Salad, Baked Ham, Stuffed Mushrooms, Game Dishes, Deviled Eggs, and Oysters. A cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres is a must. Olives, celery and finger food type canapes were traditionally served with cocktails and make for a great way to set the mood for the Gatsby Dinner Party.

What inspired you when creating the menu?

I put this Great Gatsby Dinner Party menu with the help of historical menus I located from some of the great hotels and restaurants in New York. The Waldorf-Astoria, St. Regis, The Plaza and Delmonico’s have published menus from the time period. Re-reading The Great Gatsby again after many years also gave me some understanding of the type of parties and food that fit the period and tastes of Jay Gatsby’s partygoers.

Which drinks pair best?

Champagne is a great addition to any party and this one is no exception. The Glenmere Gatsby cocktail is delicious and a great cocktail for the cocktail hour or throughout your meal.

Do you have general tips for how to seamlessly serve a dinner party?

Select the items that are “do ahead” items and get those taken care of well in advance of the party. Set yourself up to be able to enjoy the party and not get stuck in front of the stove all evening. At the dinner table, serve the food from decorative platters. This is an elegant way to keep the party in the style of the Gatsby era.

January 29, 2021

Many of us were exposed to the 1920’s world that The Great Gatsby portrayed. Whether in classrooms or at home, the book is read repeatedly and referenced all around pop culture. And with all the buzz around the Gatsby films—especially the 2013 remake starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan—it is hard not to get caught up in the movie, the era, and of course the fashion trends. Both 2013 and 1974 films have their own twist on the story, and their own specific trends when it comes to event planning. Here’s how to host your own Gatsby-inspired party!

A Great Gatsby inspired party!

Currently, there are two mainstream Great Gatsby films out today: the 1974 Robert Redford version and the 2013 Leonardo DiCaprio version. Both films have their own twist on the story, but the trends throughout each make for a fun event theme.

If you need help bringing the book and movie to life, below is a list of just some of the fashion and decor trends we noticed from The Great Gatsby movies. Check out these ideas as inspiration for your own Gatsby-inspired party!

Event Location

If you are looking to host your party at an event venue opposed to your home, you are going to want to look for a venue that looks vintage, but also very classy at the same time. Chandeliers and cream and black color decor would be best for this setting. Dim lighting is also a good idea for this theme, and you can achieve this with strategically placed white candles.

Extravagance

The Great Gatsby has themes of extravagance, but it seems that the more recent of the two films has a lot more going on. We may have modern technology and more extensive filming tricks to thank for this, but the newer Great Gatsby is said to be more extravagant than the old. With more special effects, more extras, lighting, and props, it appears that the Leonardo DiCaprio version embraces the excess of luxury to a higher degree. With this in mind, if you are trying to channel the most recent Gatsby, remember that the more decadent your event location, the better.

Event Decor

The 1920s had a look unlike any other. It would not be a roaring 20s party without your feathers, so consider getting giant ostrich feathers to spruce up the event venue ! Additionally, having a record player in the corner will add authenticity to the theme.

Color

The Baz Luhrmann version of starring Leonardo DiCaprio has been said to be a slightly darker twist on the original story. When comparing the two films, it is easy to notice that the outfits and mere ambiance of the film is a tad bit darker, such as the presence of more dark suits and dresses and darker lighting. For your event, consider dimming down the lights or light the event venue with candles.

Maze Print

The designs in The Great Gatsby are very specific to the era with a slightly modern edge is heavily used in the films and as a result, there has been a lot of maze print on the movie posters. This can be an excellent print to use if you are planning a Great Gatsby party or event . Whether you decorate the with this maze print or add a maze theme on the invitations, your event will bring the movie to life.

Black and Gold Decor

Just from one glance at the movie trailer or poster, it is pretty clear what colors stand out: black and gold. Again, if you are planning a Gatsby themed party , it is a safe bet to stick with the black and gold color scheme for your décor.

Event Entertainment

Before anything, make sure your event location has a dance floor. Now, if you really want to play along with the theme, you should definitely not hire any run of the mill DJ. Consider hiring a jazz band or saxophone player. The music will transplant your guests directly to the 1920s.

Dancing

Both films are extremely historically accurate, which also means that they have perfected the dances and popular culture of that time period. It is also important to remember that the dance, the Charleston, was very popular during this time and it may be worth your while to get the corresponding music and perhaps teach your guests the moves of these famous flappers! Dancing and music can be a chance to enhance your party’s theme, so find some classic jazz tunes that are perfect for performing the Charleston. Remember, not everyone at your event venue is sitting, but socializing, dancing, and hopefully busting out some flapper moves!

Drinks and Food

Since this was the prohibition and the flapper scene is largely associated with the speak easy, alcohol is an important aspect of this entire genre. Cocktails such as martinis, sidecars, champagne, and mint juleps are all popular drinks for this theme. The food can be standard cocktail party finger foods and appetizers, such as mini crab cakes, stuffed mushrooms, and more. Just place them on fancy silver platters and you’re all set! Just remember to check in with your event location to see their alcohol policy and if they can provide their own food.

Great Gatsby Film Fashion

It would not be a Great Gatsby party without the quintessential flapper attire. For girls, this means sleeveless tubular dresses with fringe, pleats, or feathers, hats, bobbed hair, red lipstick, feather boas, and headbands. For men, this means black tailcoats with white waistcoats, bow ties, and gloves.

The more recent Great Gatsby film has mostly stuck to the trends from the flapper era, but with a modern touch. Sleeveless dresses with more jewels, beads, and lavish decor are more apparent in the newer Gatsby. For example, the 2013 Daisy Buchanan has quite a different look than the 1974 version. Carey Mulligan has a more vibrant, perhaps even edgier look, compared to the toned-down Mia Farrow. When planning your party, if you want to go with a more modern look, encourage guests to model their outfits after the 2013 film.

Pleats, Feathers, Fur, and Jewels

Dresses, dresses, dresses! The Great Gatsby, along with the flapper era in general, was a big fan of dresses, especially anything with pleats, fur, and jewels.

Diamonds

Let’s be honest, diamonds will always be in style, regardless of what decade it is. However, the sort of diamond necklaces and detail they wore for the movie is very specific to the time period and is definitely making a comeback.

Men’s Clothing

The Great Gatsby is even setting trends in men’s fashion. Anything from white suits to skimmer hats, the movie has got it covered.

Hair & Makeup

Smokey Eye and Red Lipstick

Bold eyes and lips were all the rage in this era, and both have a timeless look that will never go out of style. Isla Fischer ‘s character, Myrtle Wilson, is the prime example of this trend.

The Bob

Bobs are synonymous with the 1920’s and have been here to stay in the fashion world since then. Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan showcases a graduated bob in this film, which is definitely a 1920’s trend worth trying.

The Headband

One of the most iconic flapper looks is the headband. You will definitely see your fair share throughout The Great Gatsby and probably even more around the streets and runways.

Start Planning Your Great Gatsby Party

Have you planned a Great Gatsby party? Did we miss any helpful tips and advice? Share your stories in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter .

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