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The Roaring Twenties are back, old sport, and now is a better time than ever to recreate the magic and opulence of the over-the-top parties of the decade. The twenties were a time of skyrocketing wealth for many Americans, who were experiencing the glitz and glam of high-society for the first time, as well as a lot of newfound freedoms that didn’t exist before (especially for women). In this article, we’ve got some great tips and ideas that will make for a grand ole time.
The most prominent art style of the twenties was the elegant gold and black geometric patterns and lines of art decor. While you can really choose any style for your invites, the art deco style is immediately recognizable, especially after its use in the marketing media for the popular Great Gatsby film adaptation. The shimmery gold really pops against a black or white background, and the style gives off a very luxurious feel. You can even incorporate the twenties slang and lingo into the copy for a little extra fun for your guests.
When considering decor, you want to think luxury, opulence, elegance, and high-class. Again, take inspiration from the art deco style with its mix of black, gold, champagne, and white/cream. Here are some elements to consider incorporating into your decor that will capture the allure of the decade:
- Glimmering streamers
- Bold signage
For more inspiration, check out stills of the party scenes in the Great Gatsby film adaptation (or consider watching the entire movie)!
Hors d’oeuvres are the way to go for any party, but especially a Roaring Twenties-themed party. If all goes according to plan, your guests will be up mingling and dancing the night away, leaving little to no time to sit down and enjoy a full meal. You could go with traditional twenties appetizers that were popular at the time, including:
- Shrimp cocktails
- Oysters Rockefeller
- Deviled eggs
- Stuffed mushrooms
- Crudites + dips
- Roasted nuts
- Cheese platters
However, if none of those are quite your style, you can get away with really any sort of bite-sized snacks. As long as the decor and general atmosphere are on point, the historical accuracy of the food won’t much make a difference in the mind of guests. The most important thing when crafting a menu is to choose a variety that includes something for everyone!
The twenties was well-known for being the prohibition era, meaning speakeasies were thriving businesses during this time. Of course, just because alcohol was illegal in the twenties, doesn’t mean people didn’t drink! Having alcoholic beverages at your twenties party adds an extra layer of intrigue and excitement — guests get to experience all the fun of rebelling against societal norms, but not actually breaking any modern laws. Here are some cocktail selections that would blend perfectly in a twenties-themed event:
- Old Fashioned
- Bee’s Knees
- French 75
- Gin Rickey
If you really want to create an immersive experience for your guests, you can request that all attendees show up in their best twenties attire. Suits and bowties for the guys, flapper get-ups for the ladies! Of course, be mindful that not everyone can afford to purchase an extravagant costume for a single event, so just encourage your guests to try their best with what they’ve got on hand, and no one will be judged for historical accuracy!
Outfit ideas for men:
- Button-down shirt
- Black or brown Oxford shoes
- 8-panel or newsboy cap
- Striped suit/ Bootlegger suit
- Bow tie
- High crown fedora
- Bowler or Derby hat
- Top hat
- Drop-waist dress with a loose, straight fit
- Beaded evening dress
- Mary Jane or T-strap heel shoes
- Fur coats or shawls
- Cloche hat
- Beaded or feather headband
- Long pearl necklace
- Bold Art deco colors
- Small beaded purse
Lively entertainment is absolutely essential for a Roaring Twenties extravaganza. Here are some ideas for how to keep guests happy and occupied:
Photo booth. A photo booth is a must-have for a twenties bash, especially if guests are showing up in costume. It’s super easy to throw one together, just set up some streamers in the background and set aside some props for guests to incorporate in their photos. If you have the budget, you can hire a professional photographer. However, setting up a tripod and having a way for guests to set up their smartphones to snap pictures works just as well!
Card tables. Card games like poker, blackjack, and Canasta fit well into the theme and provide a great source of entertainment for guests. Additionally, you can set up other games such as Dominos, Yahtzee, Bunco, etc.
Murder Mystery game. This one will require a lot of coordination and cooperation from most, if not all, guests. But if everyone is willing to participate, this game is a roaring good time. There are specific kits you can buy that guide you and your guests through the game, connecting clues and making connections to solve the “murder”.
Live music. If budget allows, hiring a live band for the evening will really help bring the theme of the twenties together. There’s nothing better than upbeat jazz music, and it’s even better when played by a talented live band.
Dancing. If you have a live band, of course, you’ll want to create a space for guests to dance the night away! Dancing was perhaps the most popular activity during the real twenties parties. You can even have someone come in and teach guests dance moves from the era.