"In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars."
When I think of parties on hot summer nights, it isn't long before my mind goes to The Great Gatsby. I think a lot of people tend to get the Gatsby theme wrong, making it too formal because we think of the 1920s as being a very formal time. To me, the heart of a Gatsby party is all about casual extravagance or the juxtaposition of comfort and luxury.
MAKE IT EASY: Create little enclaves
If you're having a mid-size to large party, I recommend creating a few distinct little spaces for small groups to gather. This helps a large crowd feel more intimate. This could mean having a little garden table in the grass, a set of plush chairs around a coffee table, a fire pit with seating, and so on.
DRINK OF CHOICE: French 75
Champagne is a necessary element of a Gatsby inspired party, but why not elevate it a bit by creating a champagne cocktail. My favorite is the French 75, made from cold champagne and gin with lemon juice, which is super refreshing for hot summer nights.
HOSTESS GIFT: Crate of citrus
There was a part in Gatsby where it is said that large crates of oranges and lemons arrive before each party and the evening ends with piles of halved, pulpless citruses. There's also a great party scene in the book Commonwealth that has to do with bringing citrus to a party and they're really onto something. There is something so luxurious about the idea of showing up to a party bearing a crate of fresh citrus.
DECOR STAPLE: Vintage finds
I talked about this in the June entertaining tips, but I love incorporating vintage finds into my parties. Typically, this means tableware but you can also use things like antique oil paintings to dress up your outdoor space. Lean one up against a wall or use an antique bird cage as a centerpiece on your food table.
EASY APPETIZER: Deviled eggs
So classic and so simple, deviled eggs are a great ode to 20s glamour and are a perfect appetizer. They're filling and delicious, yet super unpretentious.
Forget the sequined flapper dresses! For a modern Gatsby vibe, try a textured white mini-dress with bare feet and gold, Art Nouveau earrings (pearls are a must). Try a luxurious, coral Tom Ford lip color and a green velvet evening bag to finish the look.