We know how badly you wanted to go to the Spadina Museum’s Great Gatsby Garden Party. But after 52,000 people clicked attending on the Facebook event page, our guess is you may be screwed.
But before you shove that adorable flapper dress back in the closet, doomed to wait another year in dusty solitude, Vv Magazine may have the perfect solution. We’re old hands at throwing a killer theme party, so we compiled an ideal guide to throwing your very own 1920s shindig that your pals will swear is the bee’s knees. (Just no swearing in front of the ladies, please.)
First thing’s first. A Gatsby party needs to look like a Gatsby party. If you invite more than 50 people, you may want to book a venue. Ensure that whatever venue you book has both indoor and outdoor arrangements, as Gatsby’s parties were always held in all corners of his lavish estate. Go for larger-than-life feather arrangements, strings of pearls and floral displays. If the staircase, gold confetti and gold detailing on the invitations featured in the film doesn’t tip you off, Mr. Gatsby is partial to gold accents.
To push your Gatsby Garden soiree over the top, you mustn’t forget the movie’s signature colour. There are several places in Toronto where you can find these vintage-style details, such as the Queen West Antique Centre and Ethel 20th Century Living, now located in Corktown.
Anyone can make a playlist, but that don’t impress-ah Jay Gatsby much. A 1920s blowout demands live music, and in order to perfectly recreate the biggest party of the year, a local jazz band is the way to go. Your guests will dance the night away to the tune of the sax while the pianist tickles the ivories until dawn.
Lucky for you, there are several ready-for-hire live jazz bands right here in the Greater Toronto Area. Failing a live band, try to obtain a record player for the evening, which still contributes to that antique ambience. Just make sure there’s plenty of room to dance.
It simply wouldn’t be a Gatsby party without the flappers, now would it? Insist that your guests arrive in head-to-toe 1920s garb. When choosing the perfect dress for the occasion, have fun with it. Go for a bold colour (gold perhaps?) and the more fringe, the better. Feathered hats and long gloves are absolutely essential, which you can tie together perfectly with a metallic clutch. There are ample opportunities to find the perfect flapper look in Toronto, but for the guys on your guest list, it might be a little more difficult.
Though we love Gatsby’s pink suit, a white one will channel the legendary bachelor just as well. We urge you not to shy away from colour when choosing your tie, and two-tone shoes stay true to the 1920s style.
When throwing a party, Gatsby-style, one must never, ever run out of champagne. The alcohol should always be flowing, and we’ve discovered a few ways for you to add a little flare to the drink menu. Mint Juleps are Daisy Buchanan’s signature drink, as she offers to make one for her husband Tom during a row in a hotel. They’re so easy to make, including just mint, sugar and bourbon that we think they’d make a great addition to a Gatsby-themed blowout.
And is there a better way to pay tribute to F. Scott Fitzgerald than by serving up a Gin Rickey in his honour? Not only does Leonardo DiCaprio indulge in this gin-lime-soda delight in the film, but this is said to be Fitzgerald’s favourite drink. Lastly, we’d like to humbly recommend a cheeky little number called Between the Sheets. (How daring!) This drink includes a mix of rum, cognac and triple sec and was popular among young socialites of the Roaring Twenties. Just try not to giggle as you order.
The Fine Print
The success of any great event is in the details. What made Gatsby’s parties so spectacular were the lavish touches that enchanted all who attended. What most party planners don’t consider is that the event begins far before the first guest arrives. The invitations Gatsby mailed not only dictated what kind of event it would be, but gave the whole thing a sense of exclusivity. When handing out your invites, try to mimic the gold block lettering, the 20s slang and the light-to-dark contrast. Your guests will feel like they’ve entered the 20s before they even walk through the door.
An added touch: On the necks of every flapper girl in Gatsby’s mansion were round beads. Hand these out for your guests to wear and use them as decorations. If you’re feeling up to it, provide masks to enhance the mystery that always followed one of Gatsby’s infamous evenings.
Lastly, Gatsby’s parties always ended with a bang, and often with a confetti storm. Shoot bright, shimmering confetti onto the dance floor to perfectly end the evening your guests will never forget. Just make sure no one gets confused and shoots the host in a fit of murderous rage!!
Will you ditch the Spadina Museum and throw your own Gatsby themed party? Share your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.