Retro is in, thanks in part to shows like “Mad Men,” the ‘60s have made a comeback when it comes to home entertainment. The era is marked by classic cocktails, crisp fashions and sleek table and serve ware. Going retro is perfect for fall entertaining, and it’s an easy theme to tweak to new, green levels. So let’s take a trip to the past…
The theme – fine tune your guest list so you’re only including folks who will enjoy the fun, retro theme, and make sure to tell all your guests what you’ve got going on so they’ll be ready to join in the fun.
The music – set a tone for your party by creating a custom play list from classic tunes. Make sure to provide some quieter music for when it’s time to eat and kick up the beat for some dancing later. The music can range from mellow Connie Francis, Ricky Nelson, Roger Miller and Dean Martin, to classic beach tunes by Jan and Dean or Motown sounds from Marvin Gaye, James Brown, The Miracles, and the Supremes. Throw in Sam Cooke, Etta James, Tom Jones, The Doors and even the Rolling Stones for variety. Don’t forget some mambo and bossa nova beats to get folks on their feet.
The clothes – encourage your guests to dress their dapper best. Guys, break out the skinny ties, close fitting suits or plaid jackets. Ladies, reach for slim fitting skirts, classic pumps and don’t forget the pearls. To keep it green, head to a vintage clothing store for your party duds.
The food – have fun with it! Now is the time to dig up one of those old cookbooks and give a modern, organic tweak to classic menus. The ‘60s were a time of culinary exploration full of showy foods, French influences, ethnic cuisines and the baby steps of vegetarian curiosity. Set out a selection of spiced nuts in a colorful tray to keep your guests snacking happy. Plan some onion dip with crudité, deviled eggs and shrimp cocktail for appetizers. Keep your eats eco-friendly with organic fruits and veggies and locally-sourced ingredients.
The drinks – what would a retro party be without the cocktails? The ‘60s are full of iconic cocktails, pick a few signature drinks, or ask each guest to bring the mixers for one classic cocktail. Go for a Manhattan, Bloody Mary, Vodka Gimlet, Old Fashioned, Blue Hawaiian, Cuba Libre or the classic Martini. The list goes on. Stock your bar with organic vodka, rum, gin and bourbon plus vermouth, curacao, triple sec and orange liqueur to cover the alcoholic elements. Add in your mixers and a stainless bar shaker set and you’re set for a wide variety of classic cocktails.
Once you’ve got all that planned out, it’s time to set the stage and get ready for fun. It’s the little details that really make a party pop.
Scour thrift stores for an old rotary phone and vintage copies of Life, Vogue or other old magazines to set out in place of your cell phone and TV remotes. Make sure to retro-ize your accessories, opt for sleek candlesticks and tapers and arrange drinks on mod-styled trays.