The Roaring 20s theme is quintessential for a Long Island bash. After all, the setting for The Great Gatsby was inspired by Long Island, and F. Scott Fitzgerald started the classic in a Great Neck home (which, by the way, is on the market).
Governors Island will play host to the 10th anniversary Jazz Age Lawn Party Aug. 15-16. Russell Simmons and hundreds of his closest famous friends used the throwback theme to raise a bubbly to the 20th anniversary of RUSH Philanthropic Arts Foundation, and the Long Island Museum kicked off its summer exhibit Gatsby style.
Follow these tips if you want to make like Jay Gatsby and throw the party of the summer (just keep Tom Buchanan off your invite list).
Set the Scene
Set the tone the moment your first flapper (or gentleman) arrives with the right ambience and decor. For an outdoor garden party, get a big white tent. Pull your white holiday lights out of the attic or grab some paper hanging lanterns and string them around the tent’s interior.
If you have a pool, you’re already ahead of the Gatsby-themed game. Put out colorful and animal-shaped floats (let Taylor Swift and friends inspire you). If it’s indoors, consider making it a speakeasy-style affair. Use black poster board to cover your front door, and punch out a small peephole like club owners did back in the Prohibition era to keep police out. Make guests whisper a password before entering.
What Prohibition laws? Channel the era with a Seelbach, Bees Knees or Affirmed Windsor. Mix up some Mint Juleps for Daisy lovers. For something lighter and bubblier, take a note from Long Island Museum and raise a flute full of pink champagne with raspberries on the bottom. Bottles and bottles of rose are as on-trend now as they were in the 1920s.
Light bites were so East and West Egg. Let guests nibble on deviled eggs, salted nuts, shrimp cocktails and tea sandwiches. A Betty Crocker booklet hailed the 20s as the “beginning of the real cake era,” so serve up a tiered red velvet cake for dessert.
This is a no-brainer. The decade was the Age of Jazz. Cue some Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong and learn to dance the Charleston.
Silent movies were huge back in the day. Put the latest version of The Great Gatsby on mute on an outdoor movie projector or search for a real silent movie on Netflix. Card games like poker and black jack are also sure to be festive hits, and kids will love a magician.
You can have the finest food, best music and gorgeous decor, but if the guests aren’t dressed the part, it’s just not a 20s party. Ladies should don flapper dresses: sleeveless, shapeless dresses sometimes with sequined, fringe or feather details. Accessorize with diamond tiaras, long, layered pearl necklaces and of course, a feather fan to inch towards Daisy Buchanan fabulous. As usual, the guys have it easier, think comfy dinner jackets and straw hat or newsboy cap. Want to look like a high roller? Go all out with a striped suit, colorful or printed necktie or bowtie and make sure your straw hat has a gold petersham ribbon.