Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Very Gatsby Anniversary Party

My parents celebrated 35 years of wedded bliss yesterday.
Their marriage and life have both been an inspiration to many. Marriage isn't easy, and as more and more end in divorce, it's astonishing and exciting to see couples that really do last for the long haul. It's even more admirable when the couple is still in love.
That is without a doubt the case for my parents. They honestly adore each other and if they had to, they would marry each other all over again. My dad wrote this to my mom yesterday...
"35 years ago, two kids (and I mean kids) affirmed their love for God and each other and set off to conquer the world, together. Well, the world is still as crazy and more so, but these two altered their world forever (she rocks mine), building a life that most only dream about. Sure there were scrapes and scratches. Any piece of art, any fine sculpture, gets many rough edges chiseled off, while the creator does his work. The end result is timeless. It endures, as has this union. Along the way, we've added kids and grandkids that anyone would be proud to call their own. I love you, Vicky and always will... And our world continues to turn.... stay tuned."
So sweet, right? 
Anyway- in celebration of their marriage, my parents had a roaring 20's anniversary party! As usual, my mom basically made and did everything herself, and so I wanted to share the DIYness with you!
But first, let's start with what I did. 
These shoes used to be forest green, but I didn't want to buy another pair of t-straps when these were already laying around and I NEVER wear them. They were leather, so the idea of spray painting them was very distressing- but it totally worked! 2 coats of outdoor metallic gold spray paint later- they were party ready. 
 My mom also asked me to make a couple of signs for her (house rules + photo booth). I designed the house rules sign and had it printed at Staples (6.99 for an 11 x 17). I wish we had gone larger, but with the schematics, we couldn't. Next, I bought some black foam core from Hobby Lobby and cut it in half.
Using mod podge, I coated the edges and then covered them in fine gunmetal glitter (also Hobby Lobby).
After the glitter dried, I used 3M spray on the backs of the posters and then stuck them to the glittered foam core. 
I also did a few props for the photo booth. My mom bought a circus set of props on clearance, but some of them didn't fit the theme. The ones that didn't work were re purposed! I traced out bow tie and cupid's bow lip shapes on to the backs and cut out the shapes. Next I mod podged glitter on and allowed it to dry. Afterwards I used 3M spray on the fine glitter (bow ties) and another coat of mod podge on the thick glitter (lips) to seal it on. Otherwise it wouldn't last the night of abuse from a photo booth! Lastly, I reattached them to the old sticks with hot glue. You can also make these from scratch with wood skewers and card stock. 
 I really didn't want to spend money on a new dress, and I had this one from my bachelorette party. It was too short for the time period, so I just added a little fringe to the bottom.
Finding a shade of pink to match would have been WAY too difficult, so I went with a nice gold that would tie my shoes in as well. Simply pin the fringe to the hem of your dress and either stitch it or hot glue in place. You can add fringe to the bottom of basically any loose or drop waist dress and make it more 20's inspired. My aunt went to Salvation Army and found a dress there, added fringe and had basically the same effect as mine!
For the rest of my costume, I hot glued a hair clip on to the back of a broken bow broach my mom found. I used used the pearls from my DOWNTON ABBEY post a while back, and some other pearls as well.
Men's fashion hasn't changed much, so for John we simply used a summer suit, bow tie and suspenders. Easy.
Makeup-wise, they wore a LOT of it then, but I couldn't bring myself to have a strong smokey eye, bright cheeks AND dark red cupid's bow lips. I went with just a really dark eye and bright cheeks paired with a raspberry lip balm. 
On to the party! We started with a nice, empty space and went to town. My mom had three card tables set up with period correct card games. She also rented 2 pool tables and bought a third pool table that was child sized for the kids. There was a silent movie set up on a giant theatre screen (which we ended up not playing) and a photo booth. I didn't get everything pictured, but it was there!
My dad is a radio guy, so he used this equipment from the 1920's . It couldn't actually provide enough sound for the space, so there's a bose system underneath playing the top 100 hits from the 20's. 
Even though it was THEIR party, they were the ones giving out the gifts! On the gift table, my mom placed a box of chocolate cigars. She made these herself with a chocolate mould and then covered them in dark foil. I believe she printed out the cigar labels and then cut them out and glued them on.
The gift bags contained candies and items from the era as well as bookmarks that you can insert photo booth pictures into. 
She had lots of the dancing silhouettes all over the room too. There was one very art deco silhouette with missing faces for guests to pose with as well. 
She brought her own props for the photo booth as well. Lots of props on sticks as well as boas, hats, masks, faux fur shawls (which she made herself), stoles and more!
She set up this little tribute to her own grandmother (who was an actual flapper!) which I found really sweet. Actual mirror, hand mirror + brush from the 20's, my great grandma's handkerchief, cloche hat, watch, perfume... all of it. And of course, a picture of the lady herself adorns it. 
The guests were awesome and totally got into the theme! Nearly everyone chose to wear a costume, and they seemed to love the chance to dress up. In the above picture, my cousin Ruby is eating a chocolate mustache. I forgot to mention that my mom made those. She also shaped a cookie cutter into a saxophone for sax cookies! There were cookies with edible images of flappers on them as well. Oh! And a bartender who mixed 5 family friendly drinks from the era. Some of them were really, really delicious! 
The happy couple! Congratulations, Mom & Dad! I pray you get *at least* another 35 beautiful years together. Thank you for your endless support, love, pride, advice, help and example. I love you to pieces and am so thankful you found each other. 
Ps- my mom made her own head piece too. It's incredible. I may do another follow up post with specific details about other things, but this is enough for now! All the best, and as always, thanks for reading! 


  1. O-M-G best party ever! love the house rules! ... well... love everything about this party! congrats to your mom and dad!!!

  2. Happy (belated) 35th anniversary to your parents. Everything looks perfect and your mom is beautiful.

  3. ...and I love your DIYing all the way! What a great party!


I love reading + responding to comments! Keep in mind that comments are moderated and spam will never be approved :)