I've been MIA lately and for good reason...our "Mad Men Themed" party was this weekend and I spent most of the week prepping for it. I've been wanting to host monthly theme parties (an excuse to wear fancy dresses, I suppose) for a couple of years now, and we finally pulled one off! It was a lot of work, but it was just so much fun! So if you think you'd like to throw one too, I'll give you the 411 on how to do it...
First we started out with decorations...handmade pom poms (this tutorial was good and made us laugh), advertisements from the late 50's/early 60's , streamers, Christmas lights (maybe not so period appropriate, but nice nonetheless!), and vintage Life Magazines and books strewn around the coffee table and side tables. I also purchased vintage cocktail invitations off of Etsy and sent them with a hand stamped recipe card with a period appropriate hors d'oeuvre.
Next is one of the most crucial steps to creating an authentic "Mad Men" atmosphere...the booze. Yes, you need lots and the corresponding glasses to each fancy cocktail. We served four cocktails, all out of a vintage bartending book found here. My friend made cocktail stirrers out of wooden sticks and sparkly pom poms. And another friend was the designated bartender for the evening. Poor guy...he hardly had a chance to sit down! (Thanks Mark!!)
Next up...cigarettes! In this case, we chain smoked candy. I found a box of individual packs here. Everyone got their own pack and the rest were on coffee tables, the buffet table, and well...just about everywhere else.
We also wanted to be fabulous hosts, so we spent some time the past week hunting around for quirky books published in the late 50's. I took some old advertisements from the era and created a card for each guest. Then we wrapped them up with a pack of cigarettes. Everyone loved them!
The food was all hors d'oeuvres from recipes from the era, complete with two fondues (one cheese and one chocolate), a "jello" mold made by Sasa with agar-agar, and cocktail wieners wrapped in bacon (YUM). It was all delicious!
I had Pandora playing all night...we started out with "Sally's Tomato" station, then moved on to "Wives and Lovers", and as the party got really hoppin' we broke out "The Twist" (boy, was that fun!). For games we had Twister going, charades, and a slogan game. For the slogan game I took all the 50's and early 60's slogans from here and everyone had to pick one and try to guess which company or product the slogan was for.
And probably the most fun of the evening was this super simple photo booth I set up upstairs. Elisabeth and I made the backdrop...just a white sheet, a cardboard cut out of a city scape spray painted black with aluminum foil windows, and yellow stars above. Then I set up a camera on a tripod with my flash and we were in business. People kept disappearing upstairs throughout the night to be silly (and boy...there are hundreds of pictures to show for it) and it was just a super fun addition to the night!
By the end of the night (or maybe I should say morning?), we felt pretty authentic in our vintage clothes surrounded by all this Mad Men goodness. It really was just what we all needed in the midst of this long Maine winter.
So next party is either 80's or 70's. We're not sure yet, but I know it will be full of fun!