The 1930s were an era of big-band music, swing dancing, and sleek design. This period makes for a great party theme because its clothing, music, and lifestyle are all unique. Pulling a theme party together is an easy task when you know how to combine these elements into an event. Find out the details about how to decorate and what to wear to make your party unforgettable.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Big-band, swing, and jazz music
- 1930s decor
Play music specific to the time period you've chosen to celebrate. Big-band and swing music are the staples of 1930s music, but jazz was also making a mark at this time too. Start the night with some slower jazz tunes and build up to the faster rhythms of swing music as the night goes on. Get tunes from some of the biggest names in music at that time, like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, the Red Hot Peppers, and Benny Goodman (see Reference 1).
Wear 1930s attire, and encourage your guests to do so. It's a good idea to include some examples in your invitation in case they are unsure of what constitutes 1930s dress. Send a photo or just list some of the key clothing items related to this era. Options for women include long, flowing gowns, pearl necklaces, fur stoles, high-waisted, wide-leg trousers, and berets. Men should consider fedoras, double-breasted suits, and vests (see Reference 2).
Decorate the event space in a 1930s theme as well. Art deco was in its prime during this time, so keep those elements in mind while choosing decorations. Angular, geometric shapes and clean, crisp lines are features of art deco design. If your party budget is limited, add some photos of iconic 1930s scenes or people to remind guests of the theme. Try adding a photo of Coco Chanel, Cary Grant, Al Capone, or any other 1930s celebrity.
Serve 1930s-style drinks to enhance that classic time. Drinks like sidecars, martinis, whiskey sours, horse's necks, Manhattans, and mint juleps reigned supreme (when prohibition wasn't in effect, that is). Make drinks based on gin, rum, whiskey, or brandy -- vodka didn't become popular in the U.S. until the 1950s (see Reference 2).
Tips and warnings
- The 1930s had many different aspects, so you can also do a 1930s theme with a focus on gangsters or the Great Depression.
- Add elements to your invitations that will also reflect the theme. Look up famous movie quotes from that era to include as part of the invitation -- "Gone With the Wind" and "The Wizard of Oz" were two of the top movies of the decade.
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