In October, I attended a Halloween party. It had been quite some time since I attended a party where I had to show up in costume. Let’s just say, I loved it! I loved everything about it, but mostly, the wig; my newfound long, flowing brown locks. I discovered that I.love.wigs. I also discovered that although I grew up with blonde hair my entire life, brown hair is a good match for me. A few days later I wore the same wig and a different halloween costume to work and received an overwhelming response that brown hair was meant to be on my head. Immediately I made my way to my hair dresser who I see but once or twice a year (side note: come to find out, I only see her right before I head out on a trip. Strange fact: she has another client who only comes in before funerals. I would much rather be the traveling girl. Right?). Anyhoo, I let her know that I wanted to dye my hair brown. She told me “no!” and instead I went blonder. Why is all of this significant? Two reasons, I knew I needed to throw a party that required costumes and I needed to sport the brown hair, like pronto. I had it! A New Years Eve party, Great Gatsby style. This way I could dress up like a flapper and wear a short brown wig. Perfect! So, on October 26, I sent out a Save the Date for the Great Gatsby NYE Gala.
The best time to let people know about a costume party is right after Halloween. I was able to score all of my costume items (such as a flapper dress, pearls, long black gloves, fishnet tights, and a long cigarette holder) for 30-50% off at Party City totaling about $63 with free shipping and a super cute short brown wig for $8 on Amazon. I’m a planner, I like to save money and I was excited. Although, I can imagine that most of my friends didn’t start thinking about their outfit until the week of, and thought I was looney tunes for sending out a STD (save the date) so early. I will say, in the end, they all “brought it” and looked dashing!
I knew that the decor had to be classy and NYE appropriate. I opted for a lot of glass, candles, black, gold, silver, strings of beads, big shiny gold and silver ornament balls, and fun fabrics. I also knew I needed lots of gold frames sitting around with fun pictures. The first order of business was to find some fabulous pics from the web to frame for the party. These also doubled as pictures I added to the Facebook event invite and the Postmark evite. I found gold frames at the Dollar Tree and used either card stock or photo paper to print the images.
I purchased most of my items at the Dollar Tree, 87 in total, as the bill came to $87! Had I purchased these items elsewhere, easily I would have spent over $300. It was perfect timing, as I went in late November and they had everything I needed! Glass candle vases, flower vases, candles, glitter stars, gold and silver swag, bendable wire with silver stars, strings of gold and silver beads, big and small gold and silver ornament balls, silver platters, black ceramic plates, martini glasses, NYE noisemakers, and plastic “silver”wear.
I purchased black fabric tablecloths for about $8 each (2 rectangular, 1 square, and 1 round), a 40-pack of plastic champagne glasses, mason jars, black and white striped straws, and a 4-in-1 roulette, poker, blackjack, game table all on Amazon for about $125.
I purchased black and white polka dot mini cupcake liners, a gold basket, mini letters “B, A, R” and gold spray paint to paint the letters. I also purchased gold glittered battery operated tea light candles, a sharpie, and some decorative craft tape at Michaels, for about $40. I’ll get to the craft tape and sharpie later…
I purchased NYE decorative hats, NYE hanging decorative clocks, a bag of silver star confetti, a big black plastic salad bowl and tongs, 50 packs of NYE plates, napkins, and appetizer plates, along with a 40-pack of black plastic soup bowls at Party City. With a $5 off coupon, my total was approximately $65.
Finally, I purchased 3 yards of various fabrics (1 shiny black, 1 gold, and 1 basic black) from JoAnn’s to use for decorative purposes. With a 15% educator discount and a 25% off my entire order JoAnn’s coupon, the total cost for fabric was $11.
That just about did it! Phew!
The food needed to be filling, tasty, and quick to access for approximately 25 people. I decided on soup, salad, bread, and a large assortment of appetizers. Thank you to my friends who added to the tasty spread.
New England Clam Chowder from Boudin Bakery
Organic Tomato Bisque from Panera
Sweet Kale Vegetable Salad from Costco (thanks Alexis!)
Assorted breads from Costco (they bake bread fresh daily!).
Fondue (from Trader Joe’s) with cubed sourdough baguette
Marinated Shrimp with dipping sauce (made by my friend Kelli, I’ll get the recipe one of these days!)
Blue Cheese and Pomegranate Endive Spears (thanks Amanda!)
Spinach Artichoke Dip from Costco and Pita Chips
BBQ Chicken Wings from Ralphs
Cheese Platter- 4 types of cheeses, assorted crackers, rosemary and olive oil marinated marconi almonds, grapes, honey, marinated olives, dried apricots, salami, and blackberries (thanks Brent and Kylie for bringing cheese!)
Cream Cheese with Harry and David Pepper and Onion Relish and Wheat Thins (thanks Erin!)
I’ll admit, I’m obsessed with how pretty my cupcakes turned out, so I had to take as many pretty pictures as I could of these delicious little morsels. Aren’t they cute? I purchased a Cake Boss cake decorating tools and icing bag kit online at Kohl’s and 2 mini cupcake pans at TJ Maxx Home Goods. By God, I was going to make cupcakes for this event!
I researched lemon cupcake recipes far and wide online and on Pinterest. I purchased all of the ingredients and I was ready to rock. Until I arrived at my mom’s and she suggested I use the boxed mix as they would probably come out tastier and more moist. Mom’s know best, so, back to Target and Ralphs I went with my “from scratch ingredients” and I picked up a box of Betty Crocker White Cake Mix along with a White Frosting.
Although, yes, I’ll admit, I used a box, I tried to make them semi-homemade! I gussied up the mix with 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (in place of some of the water), and I added some fresh lemon zest to give it that lemon flavor I was looking for. I added to the frosting a Tbl of fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and a few drops of yellow food coloring. Voila!
What’s Shakin’ Bacon…The Cocktails
I knew along with champagne, beer, wine, and your typical alcohol and mixers, I wanted to add something special…a specialty cocktail menu that reflected the roaring 20’s period…I created this bar menu using MS Word, added a black matting, using card stock, and put it in a gold picture frame. I also used the other picture at the wine bar.
It was important, that along with all of the required liquor for these drinks, we also provided items such as sliced lemon, lime, cherries, sugar cubes, sugar in a bowl to rim glasses, and fresh lemon juice.
I’m a fan of drinking cocktails at a party out of glassware, so our guests could use wine glasses for the wine bar, martini glasses for the martinis, or mason jars with cute straws for the cocktails. I did opt for plastic tumblers for the cocktails at the outside bar and plastic champagne glasses, considering it would be pretty late and people would be pretty tipsy by the time they needed it for the NYE toast! I found this cool idea using washi or craft tape and a sharpie on Pinterest, so that people could recall which glass was theirs.
Ladies and Gents, I present to you the bar menu:
Muddle 1/4 ounce Bitters, 1 slice orange, and 1 cherry
Add: 1 ounce Whiskey & 1 splash Seltzer
1 Sugar Cube
1 & 1/2 ounces Cognac
3/4 ounce Contreau
3/4 ounce Fresh Lemon Juice
Shake and strain into a glass with a Sugar Rim
2 ounces Gin
3/4 ounce Honey Syrup
1/2 ounce Lemon
Shake and strain
Photo Op…1,2,3 Cheese!
I used my work laptop and projector. I opened up MS PowerPoint, and made a 1 screen PowerPoint that read:
Happy New Year
Let’s Ring in 2014
I projected that current screen onto the back wall above the pool. It made for a really awesome photo backdrop!
I wanted my guests to stay entertained throughout the night as the party began at 7:30 and had to last until at least midnight. Poker, Black Jack, Craps, and Roulette kept the party going into the wee hours. It helped to have guests step up and play “dealer”. I purchased both game sets through Amazon.