Reader Question: How to throw a Roaring 20's party

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Back in December 2012, Jon turned the big 3-0. After he turned 29, I asked if he wanted to do anything special for his 30th. All he said he wanted, was a party with his close friends. No fuss, just drinks, music and fun. So about six months out, I was watching an episode of Boardwalk Empire when Nucky mentioned "the roaring twenties". Then it hit me...Roaring Twenties...Saying GOODBYE to your roaring twenties. And then, the idea was born.

The party I threw is the most popular post on my blog and I get emails about it a lot, so I figured I will do a follow-up to the general emails/questions!

You can throw this party on the cheap. One thing I knew is that if I threw a large bash (renting a place, crazy costumes, DJ, etc) Jon wouldn't have enjoyed it as much/we wouldn't be able to get our countertops. We were building our home at this time and all spare cash was going to the house and supplies. So, I knew I had to throw the party on a budget. THIS CAN BE DONE. How? Let me tell you.

1.) Use cheap vendors/websites. I bought 5 things off of Party City. I bought the silver chandelier, champagne glasses, balloons beads and the horn things for when Jon walked in. At the time they had supplies for "gangster parties" and "new years eve" parties. PERFECT. I just got a few things from each themed party. It totaled $30. The things I "splurged" on were the Photo Booth props from PAPERandPancakes and the Champagne fountain from Amazon.

2.) Facebook for Invites. Dude. I straight up made an event on Facebook. This way, it was easier to communicate with who could come and if there was a chance I needed to cancel due to weather (it was December). Also, IT WAS FREE. I didn't have to buy $50+ worth of invites, stamps, etc. You can make a 20's invitation for the Event photo and post any information like address, time, etc.

I created an "invite" in about 10 minutes using Picmonkey (free) and Photoshop.
1) In PicMonkey, open up any picture and click on "canvas color" and choose a black background.
2) Google "art deco wallpaper" and select in image for free. I chose this one below and saved it to my desktop.
3) In PicMonkey, click on the butterfly image and select "add your own", then select the image you chose off of google. You can have the image be your ENTIRE background, or you can do a banner like I did so the font sticks out. If you choose to do the entire background, just select the image and stretch it till it fits the whole image. If you want to do a banner like I did below, move the image to a corner. Then right click and press duplicate and keep moving the images until they line up and form the banners. On the top of the invite, I rotated the picture as well and did the same "duplicate" step. Enlarging this, I realized it is NOT STRAIGHT AT ALL HOLY COW, but then again, I can't cut a straight line and I did this in ten minutes haha.
4) Once I had this, I couldn't find any Art Deco fonts on PicMonkey, so I opened up photoshop and used "Volstead" "for Saying Goodbye to Jon's" and "Desdemona" for the rest.
You get the idea!

3.) Plan months ahead and shop SALES for food, drinks, clothes, etc. I planned this party for six months with Glenn (Jon's best friend) since they were going to be in NY together and I needed someone I could trust. Since I had months to plan, I would plan the menu and shop sales. I researched popular food from the era and found a lot of beef entrees. I decided to make a beef stew. I was shopping 2 months before the party one day and found a BUNCH of healthy ground beef on sale. I bought enough for 25 people for $10. Then, just save your coupons for anything you can and shop a few days before the party for the perishable foods. Alcohol wise, I would buy a bottle of this and a bottle of that for six months so it didn't add up during one trip. I think I bought a bottle of something every month (Jack Daniels, wine, bourbon, whiskey, etc). My dress was from the Juniors section from Macy's. I still have it and I want a 20's party for my birthday this year, so I'm glad I kept it! The headband was from BrassLotus, but I bought it for my wedding, not the party, but it worked with the theme so I wore it.

4.) If someone offers to bring something, LET THEM. I used to struggle with accepting help from others. I love doing things MYSELF. I was terrible at group projects and normally took over in school. But, I have started to realize that it is ok to accept help. Our dear friend Kristen offered to bring supplies to make Old Fashions and Glenn's gal Arianna (the hottest gangster over), made a mango salsa and brought chips to go along with it. But, it helps so just suck it up!

5.) FREE MUSIC. I have to thank the Boardwalk Empire soundtrack for this one. But, the music is the one thing i would do differently. The CD player wouldn't repeat all of the songs, so it would turn off once it was done. What I recommend is to make a 20's themed soundtrack on iTunes or Spotify etc, and shuffle all songs. Here's a playlist I would use:
So it all depends on the TYPE of party you're throwing. Is it more for family/adults/a cocktail party? Do you and your friends all want to party like it's 1999? For more of an ADULT party (no, not like that), choose classier hits like George Gershwin, The Artist soundtrack, The Charleston and Louis Armstrong. For more of a wild party, do the entire soundtrack of Baz Lurhmann's movie Gatsby. I listen to this soundtrack all the time and it is the perfect mix of slow and booty bumpin' (is that what its called?)

6.) Plan the menu around the era. Honestly, you can eat whatever, but I wanted to milk this theme for all its worth. The menu I planned was:

Dessert was Jon's favorite: Confetti cake...cutie pie. I baked two cakes and in-between, I did a layer of frosting and sliced strawberries to make it more interesting.

7.) Pinterest is your friend. As always, utilize Pinterest to get ideas, tips, etc for any theme. Follow my Party Idea board for more ideas!

I really hope this answers any questions you had and offers some tips as well. We (ok I) want another 20's party this summer for my birthday, so we will need to start planning since that is very soon!

Constructive criticism is welcome but any comments that are malicious and mean-spirited will be removed. Ain't nobody got time for dat. 

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