How to host a smashing ‘Great Gatsby’ party
Bring on the flapper dresses, feathered headbands, jazz playlists and bootlegged Mint Juleps. It’s time to party like it’s 1922.
The Great Gatsby hits theaters May 10, inspiring us to re-create and celebrate the Roaring Twenties, minus the whole Prohibition hanky-panky.
Directed by Baz Luhrmann (you know him as the mastermind behind movie adaptations of Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge) and starring actor Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby, the movie is being released in 3-D, and the traditional jazz will get some modern-day swag courtesy of Jay-Z and Florence + the Machine.
If you did your assigned high school reading of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, you know there ain’t no party like a Jay Gatsby party.
Eager to throw a bash this summer that would impress even Gatsby, that mysterious Long Islander known for his larger-than life, lavish summer soirees? As Jordan Baker says in the book, “… I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.” Here’s how to out-Gatsby Gatsby.
- Invitations: Send a ’20s-themed invitation, like this printable invitation design from Etsy that encourages your guests to come dressed as a flapper, gangster or silent screen star. Once you buy the design, you can customize it and quickly print it out at a one-hour photo shop like those at Target, Wal-Mart or Walgreens.
- Playlist: Take a cue from the movie’s soundtrack and mix some upbeat jazz, hip-hop and romantic indie rock. Download songs from jazz greats like Duke Ellington and Glenn Miller, plus some music from the Gatsby soundtrack, like XX + Jay-Z’s collaboration and Over the Love by Florence + the Machine. One particularly dramatic song for your playlist: Lana Del Ray’s Young and Beautiful.
- Costumes: Encourage your guests to dress in 1920s garb. Modcloth has an entire 1920s section, complete with cloche hats, frilly, tiered dresses and dancing shoes. There are so many ways to channel the ’20s today: Beading, tassles, drop-waist hemlines on dresses, Art-Deco accessories and Peter Pan collars are all trends. The shimmery beaded neckline on this dress from Anthropologie can play the part of a costume, but double as a fancy summer evening date-night dress, too. We’re also loving this all-over fringe, tiered turquoise flapper dress from BlueFly. For men, Brooks Brothers has a Great Gatsby-inspired collection — complete with dotted bow tie, regatta pin-striped blazer and a preppy button-up vest. Keep a dress-up chest at the party with props — elaborate headbands, strings of faux pearls and vintage cigarette holders for added flair.
- Cocktails: The bootlegged liquors of the 1920s were strong, thus toned down with sugary mixers. One easy drink for a beginning bartender is the Sidecar. Pour 1 1/2 ounces cognac, 3/4 ounces of Cointreau (or Triple Sec) and 3/4 ounces of lemon juice. Shake over ice and serve in a martini glass with a sugared rim. Other ideas: Gin served with lemon juice and a dash of honey. Or, try making a batch of Mint Julep cocktails.
- Decorations: Fill up the party area with shimmery white balloons. When the party moves to your backyard, have some sparklers on hand. Find party supplies at Party City.
Photos courtesy of Warner Brothers, Brooks Brothers and BlueFly.
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