The Great Gatsby is one of the most iconic novels of the 20th century, and to this day continues to inspire and captivate. This 1920s theme is the perfect way to add glamour and luxury to your party or event, whether that be a special birthday, anniversary or just a ‘because we want to‘ kind of party! If you’re thinking about hosting your own Great Gatsby-themed event, then read on for some party inspiration. If you need some help, or are looking for a great party planner, then contact us and we can help you plan the best Great Gatsby Party.
Why choose a Great Gatsby themed party?
Why? Because they are glamorously outrageous of course! A Great Gatsby-themed party can be a lot of fun to both plan and attend. They are usually very glamorous affairs, with stunning art deco-inspired surroundings, feathered and tasselled garments, flowing gin-infused cocktails, silver dishes of Hors d’oervres and sultry jazz music in the background. If you like glam, sophistication, class and fun, then this theme is perfect for you. We love planning parties on this theme, they always go down a real storm.
Top tips for throwing the best Great Gatsby Party
The devil is in the detail. Below we cover the main areas to consider with some extra tips and ideas that will take your Gatsby party to the next level and have your guests talking about it for years to come. But be warned they may be back the week after expecting more of the same, just like the guests of our ‘old sport’ Jay Gatsby did.
Get the experience to start from the very moment they gear about your party. Nicely designed invitations along the theme of your party deco adds an air of suspense to the party. If you can, do not provide an actual address of the party venue until the day, adding an air of mystery and intrigue. Of course, that doesn’t work if they know where you live!
The venue and decor
Your party might not be taking place in Long Island, New York City but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring some of that style into your party. By mixing art deco, glamourous and luxurious style from the 1920s into your party venue you can make your guests feel like they’ve been transported into another world. A Gatsby party is all about luxury, so your space needs to exude wealth and opulence. Great venues could be a country club, mansion, country home, or even a rented yacht. But hey, if a yacht is a little out of budget, you can transform any venue into an atmospheric speakeasy bar with the right amount of glitz and glamour.
Once you have the perfect venue, you’ll need to decorate accordingly. Think art deco, speakeasy bar, feathers, tropical flowers, glitter, gold, and green – the more lavish, the better. Why not have a projector screen showing a silent movie on the wall, adding another dimension to your party. The great thing about Gatsby parties is that you can really go all out with the theme.
The 1920s were a time of rapid cultural change in America, with jazz emerging as the dominant music style. Jazz bands became popular during this period, along with ragtime and blues. If you’re looking for authentic 1920s music for your party (or just want to listen), check out these artists: Louis Armstrong (jazz), Jelly Roll Morton (rags), Duke Ellington (jazz) or Bessie Smith (blues). The Great Gatsby soundtrack features songs from various eras. You could create a playlist using these as inspiration.
Performers and theatrics
In the novel Gatsby’s parties are known to be lavish, excessive displays of wealth and opulence. Sparing no expense, they included live music and performances. When planning your party, you can emulate this by including live music, singers and performers like magicians, pianists, burlesque dancers, swing dancers or a jazz band. To make your party really fun, why not have a loose storyline, and hire performers to chat to guests throughout whilst welcoming, serving at the bar, serving their meals or getting them on the dance floor – making it a real immersive and unforgettable experience.
Games at parties are fun, and they help break the ice and get people talking. Ideas could be having a story running through the night as we mentioned above, a murder mystery or a Charleston dance competition.
Delicious prohibition era inspired foods & drinks
For a Gatsby-themed party, you have to serve champagne, Gin Rickeys and hors d’oeuvres! But what else is in keeping with this story? For some inspiration here are the cocktails and dishes served in the Great Gatsby novel.
Drinks and Cocktails
- Champagne – The most popular tipple in the story, and stated by Nick “champagne was served in glasses bigger than finger-bowls.” Why not create a lavish Champagne fountain!
- Gin Rickey – One of the cocktails named in the novel, made with gin, lime juice and soda water.
- Mint julep – The other main cocktail mentioned, made with bourbon, sugar and fresh mint.
- Highballs – Mentioned a few times, the highball is simply a spirit over ice with a mixer for a long and refreshing drink.
- Whiskey – Tom Buchanan’s drink of choice, so either go straight or create some whiskey based cocktails.
- Claret or red wines from Bordeaux – During dinner at the Buchanan’s, they drink “corky but rather impressive claret.”
- Sauternes – The novel states that the night before Daisy’s wedding to Tom she had a few too many glasses of Sauternes, a sweet white wine from the Bordeaux region of France.
- Cold ale – During a luncheon the group “drank down nervous gayety with the cold ale.”
- Sandwiches – “Celebrated sandwiches which were a complete supper in themselves.”
- Hors d’oervres – At Nicks first Gatsby party, he describes a buffet table filled with “glistening hors d’oervre.”. Typical 1920s hors d’oerves were; canapes, devilled eggs, tomato shrimp, fruit cocktails, cheese and olive boards.
- Lemon Cake – Served by Nick during tea with Daisy and Gatsby.
- And, here are some more mentioned to take inspiration from; Spiced Baked Ham, salads of Harlequin designs (think colourful!), pastry pigs, turkeys bewitched to gold and little pig sausages and mash potato, fried chicken and succulent hash.
1920s Fashion inspiration
Gatsby is the name, Glitz and Glam is the game. Guests can go for sharp and well-tailored suits, fedora hats, silk scarves, dress shoes and sleek watches. Glamourous ladies can choose between a simple cocktail dress or a 1920s-style flapper dress with beaded and feathered headpieces and jewellery. Allow your guests to get creative with the style, era and options.
Great Gatsby party favours
Don’t let the fun end at the final goodbye, give your guests a takeaway in the form of a Great Gatsby inspired party favour. You could do fun party bags or a simple takeaway gift. Some ideas could be a copy of the classic The Great Gatsby, a small bottle of Gin or Champagne, some delicate handmade chocolates, a raffle ticket (draw at the end of the night!), a lottery ticket or a pre-paid betting slip for the next sporting event coming up. We know Jay Gatsby liked a little flutter!
Now, to plan your Gatsby party!
That’s just some ideas we have for you to help your Gatsby Party take your guests by storm and leave them wanting more. If you need help planning your party, then we are here to help, we are professional party planners with a theatrical edge. Contact us today and Book a free consultation call.