Roaring Twenties Gatsby Party: A How-To Guide

posted on 5/10/13

Today is the release of the highly anticipated big-budget Hollywood production of The Great Gatsby. All of the build-up and hype surrounding this cinematic adventure are guaranteed to make this the Summer of Gatsby. To make the most of this trendy season of vintage revelry, it would be a fun idea to host a Roaring Twenties Gatsby theme party! We have put together this helpful guide to assist you with all your 1920s party planning needs.




Before the guests arrive, you will want to set the stage for this magical evening. It is important to maintain a sense of authentic atmosphere in order to make your guests feel as thought they have been transported to another decade. If your residence has a private outdoor space, it would be ideal for replicating the lavish garden party scenes in The Great Gatsby. Alternately, it is possible to achieve the illusion of being outdoors by decorating your home’s interior with fake flora and fauna. Whether your party is held indoors or outdoors, you will want to pick up some colorful hanging lights to adorn the space with. Another thing you might want to do is hand out sparklers to your guests to add some extra razzle dazzle to the soiree!




Next you will want to get ingredients for the libations you will be serving. In the book, Gatsby’s parties were lubricated with copious amounts of alcohol, despite taking place during the Prohibition Era. At a Gatsby party, “champagne was served in glasses bigger than finger-bowls”. Some of you may be wondering what exactly a “finger bowl” is. Don’t be ashamed, I had to look it up myself! Basically you’re going to need some margarita-size glasses in which to serve your bubbly. Other drinks that were popular in the Roaring Twenties would be gin martinis and Mint Juleps. If you are working with a big budget, it would be a good idea to hire some help for the party. They could serve mixed drinks behind a bar, or circulate amongst the guests with floating rounds of cocktails on trays.




The best part of a Roaring Twenties party is having an excuse to dress up in vintage costumes. Men can rent tuxedos, or just sport a fancy bow tie with a white button up shirt. Either black or white bow ties are acceptable. Another popular Jazz Era look for men is a black button up shirt with a skinny white neck tie. Fedora hats were very popular for men during this time period. For women, flapper dresses and flapper headpieces are the sparkling standard. Other accessories that were popular in the days of Gatsby were pearl necklaces and earrings, satin gloves, cigarette holders, and feather boas. For more in depth hairstyle and makeup tips, see our 1920s fashion guide.




To really set the mood for your Roaring Twenties party, it would be ideal to have live jazz music playing at the festivities. Obviously, hiring an orchestra or a five-piece band is not within every host’s budget. You can still select a great playlist with melodies from that era to play via speaker. Another fun option would be to get a modern day phonograph replica that is compatible with CD’s and your MP3 player! Some songs from musicians like Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, Duke Ellington, and Eddie Cantor would do the trick. Don’t feel you have to limit yourself to 1920s music. As an alternative, The Great Gatsby soundtrack features songs from contemporary artists like Jack White, Jay-Z, Beyonce, Florence & the Machine, and Lana Del Ray.


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If you follow these guidelines, your Roaring Twenties Gatsby party will be a huge success! For added authenticity, you may consider planting ‘speculation stirrers’ at your event. These calculating individuals will blend into the crowd with the explicit purpose of spreading scandalous rumors about you. Make sure to spend plenty of time standing in contemplative solitude, pretending not to notice that people are looking at you. With any luck, by the end of the night there will be hushed whispers of your murderous capabilities and involvement as a German spy!

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