So, you missed the Roaring Twenties the first time around? Don’t sweat it, Old Sport. The ʼ20s are here again, only this time we’ve got better cameras, smarter invitations, and—oh yeah!—adult beverages aren’t illegal. What better reason to party?
After spending so much time apart from the ones you love, throwing a lively Roaring Twenties party inspired by “The Great Gatsby”—one that really pulls out all the stops—is an exciting way to celebrate togetherness. Fun, fancy, and just a tad bit frivolous, your guests will be raving about your soirée ‘til the 3020s. Read on for some great Great Gatsby party ideas, including a drink menu, suggested attire, and Great Gatsby-themed party invitations.
“The Great Gatsby” party decor ideas
Image credit: stylemepretty, “Black Tie Affair” by Paperless Post
Hosting a “The Great Gatsby”-themed party is the perfect excuse to go all out, so minimalists may want to steer clear. More is truly more, and the more extravagant the decorations, the better. Veer towards excess, and fill your space with art deco delights: iridescent streamers, metallic balloons, lots of sparkly glitter (but skip the rainbow—monotone works best), and plenty of confetti. Keep your palette limited to gold, silver, white, and black, and make sure you’ve got lots of everything.
Dim the lights for a touch of mystery, and add strings of plastic pearls to the tables. Leave party masks and feathery fans around for guests to fool around with and take pictures. As for flowers? Try incorporating daisies as an ode to the object of Gatsby’s desire, Daisy Buchanan.
What to drink at your “The Great Gatsby” party
“The Great Gatsby” may have taken place during Prohibition, but that didn’t stop anyone from getting their drink on. And thankfully for your sake, the alcohol you serve won’t have been crafted in a bathtub. That said, it’s fun to evoke the bevvies of the day for your Gatsby party.
Champagne served in coupe glasses is the ultimate (and easiest) crowd-pleaser—there’s no mixing required, and who doesn’t get revved up over an exuberant cork pop? If you’re particularly adventurous (or perhaps emboldened by a little liquid courage), try stacking the coupes into a classic champagne fountain—though you may want to use plastic vessels for that endeavor.
Other era and theme-appropriate drink ideas include anything with gin or bourbon, something with orange or lemon (in honor of Jay Gatsby’s citrus fruits of choice), or a frothy egg white cocktail in ode to Gatsby’s home turf, West Egg. Get it?
P.S. Don’t forget to keep your company hydrated—New Money may be a nemesis to some, but water is a friend to all.
Food to serve at your “The Great Gatsby” party
“La Grande Gatz” by Paperless Post
With all that imbibing, it’s even more important than usual to make sure you’ve got enough food for your guests. If you want people to mingle all night long, serving finger food, either as passed hors d’oeuvres or at a station, is the way to go.
Stick with the egg theme and offer up perfectly poppable deviled eggs (tip: deviled quail eggs are even more divine). Pigs-in-a-blanket are easy to make and fun to eat, plus they were mentioned in the book. So was spiced baked ham, which you can include in little bite-sized sandwiches—or as part of a sit-down meal, if you’re more into a dinner party scenario.
What to wear at a “The Great Gatsby” party
A “The Great Gatsby” party might just be the best possible excuse for you and your friends to get dressed up. And we mean *really* dressed up. Encourage guests to get creative with their outfits, the more authentically “Roaring Twenties,” the better.
For broads and dames (that’s women in 21st-century speak), flapper-style attire is best—think drop-waist dresses with sequins and fringe a-plenty, paired with glitzy headpieces, a jeweled brooch, fishnet stockings, long strings of pearls, and a feather boa or shawl. Finger waved hair is also a nice touch, as is red lipstick and elbow-length gloves.
For cats and fellas aka men, a well-tailored tux with a tailcoat or caramel-colored suit (like the one F. Scott Fitzgerald describes Gatsby wearing in the novel) are the ultimate options—but any pinstripe suit or pants with suspenders will do. Fedoras, top hats, and newsboy caps are also good, or if a guy’s going hatless, make sure his hair’s slicked back off his face. Extra points for a pocket watch. Host a contest for best dressed.
Here’s a thoughtful “The Great Gatsby” party idea: If you want to give guests a head-start on planning their getups, include links to a Pinterest board with outfit inspiration, or your favorite local vintage stores in your online Roaring ‘20s party invitations. It’s also a good idea to include dress code information on the invitation to make sure no one shows up in a t-shirt and jeans.
Set the mood with music
Along with decorations and dress code, the music at your “The Great Gatsby” party will also help set the mood. Big Band and Hot Jazz from the 1920s is your best bet if you want to be authentic—this is the Jazz Age, after all. Make a playlist with groups and artists like King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington. If you have space (and energy), try learning and dancing the Charleston with any other willing participants.
Choose the perfect “The Great Gatsby” invitations
“Brushed Gold Letters” Flyer
Make your “The Great Gatsby” party even greater with elegant, ad-free online 1920s invitations from Paperless Post. With glitzy foil finishes, art deco designs, fizzy drinks, and champagne glasses, they’ll get your guests excited for an evening of glamorous debauchery. They’re fully customizable to include any wording you want. And because RSVP tracking is included, it’s easy to plan for how many people you’ll be hosting.
If your friend group loves its smartphones, you may prefer to make an animated Paperless Post Flyer, which you can send via text. With the same fab features as a classic Paperless Post invitation, you can also add eye-catching gifs and fun stickers.
“The Great Gatsby” party invitation wording
“Ruhlmann” by Paperless Post
Of course, none of these “The Great Gatsby” party ideas will matter if the people you’re hoping to host don’t know the details of your fête. So it’s important to include all the basic information about the party in your online “The Great Gatsby” invitation: Date, time, and location.
If you’re hosting your party for a particular reason—a birthday, New Year’s Eve—make sure it’s front and center. Let guests know that they should RSVP, and if there’s an RSVP deadline. (Psst… all Paperless Post online invitations come with free RSVP tracking, so planning is easier than ever.) As mentioned earlier, it’s also nice to include dress code info and links to outfit inspiration for those attending.
And by the way, whether you want to refer to your party theme as “The Great Gatsby” or “Roaring Twenties/20s” is totally up to you. Your guests will get the gist no matter what you choose to call it. Use words like “toast,” “cheers,” “glamour,” and “glitz” to let ‘em know they’re in for a fancy night.
One of the best things about your “The Great Gatsby” invitation wording is mixing in some retro slang from the 1920s. Have fun with it! The party will be a swell time. Your house is now a speakeasy. Guests should be ready to tip a few (enjoy some drinks). And if they RSVP on time and get dressed up, it’d really be the bee’s knees.
You can also play with the fact that it’s actually the ‘20s all over again, ex: Celebrate the Roaring 2020s, Party Like It’s 1921 (in 2021).
Ready to start planning your “The Great Gatsby” party? Browse all of our Roaring Twenties-themed invitations now.