The 1960s was a distinctive era characterised by peace and love, the first moon landing and decorating choices that ranged from luxurious to psychedelic. For many households, dinner parties offered a convenient way to socialise. Today, throwing a '60s-themed dinner party is a creative way to have fun with friends while capturing the decade's groovy, sophisticated spirit. Serve authentic food and cocktails and ask your guests to wear their finest retro outfits.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Choose a theme. The '60s is a good place to start, but add extra creativity. Build a theme around hippies, with plenty of tie-dye and flower power. Host a moon-landing dinner party or try a theme that acknowledges popular '60s music, such as the Beatles. For a traditional touch, try a party with a formal dress code, upscale cocktails and lounge music.
Write down your menu. In most cases, a '60s dinner party should be a lavish affair with appetizers, starters, main meal options and desserts. Look for retro recipes that authentically capture the decade. Ask your relatives for favourite family recipes that date back to era.
Design and mail invitations. For a formal dinner party, create crisp, stylised invitations and use '60s slang, such as "swinging" or "hip." Look for '60s graphics, such as pop art, movie posters or magazine ads. Tailor your invitation to reflect any extra themes, such as a peace symbol for hippies or a Union Jack for the British Invasion. Ask guests to wear retro outfits. For a potluck, suggest themed '60s side dishes and snacks to help your guests plan ahead.
Decorate. Several weeks before your party, shop thrift stores to find '60s items, such as candlesticks, centrepieces, figurines or lampshades. Relatives and friends may have vintage items you can borrow. For a fancy dinner party, decorate with your finest linens and tableware. For a hippie dinner party, use lava lamps, love beads and tie-dyed tablecloths or napkins. For a '60s-music dinner party, hang vintage posters of popular bands.
Dress the part. For a formal '60s party, women often wore sleek evening gowns while men wore suits and narrow ties. For a more casual look, mod miniskirts or slim-fitting trousers with sports jackets were in fashion. Hippie fashions included wild hair, round glasses, bright geometric or paisley prints and bell-bottomed trousers for men and women.
Tips and warnings
- Play '60s music in the background to create a suitable atmosphere. Try Dusty Springfield, the Who, Frank Sinatra, the Archies or any other '60s band or musician that fits the mood of your dinner party.
- Serve authentic '60s cocktails with ingredients such as Babycham or Dimple Haig. Coke was a popular non-alcoholic beverage.
- Create a menu that offers plenty of options. For vegetarians, try hippie staples such as vegetarian chilli. For more traditional meals, try sausage rolls and cheese straws for appetizers, followed by tomatoes stuffed with chicken livers, beef Wellington or a Julia Child recipe. Dessert options might include bundt cakes or Jell-O salads.
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