Throwing a vintage party is a lot more fun than throwing a normal party.
Because you get to gather your favourite vintage decorations, foods, songs, and clothes with your favourite people.
Take a look at this complete vintage party planning guide!
Pick the Style for Your Party
Picking the style of your vintage party should be your first step. And this will actually depend on how many people you want to invite and who those people will be.
For example, a dinner party may require fewer guests than a cocktail party or a potluck.
You can throw any kind of party you want, but the style’s you’ll most likely want to stick with dinner parties, tea parties, cocktail parties, or potlucks.
Dinner parties usually take the most preparation work because you have to cook an entire meal for however many guests you choose. They also tend to be formal events and may include desserts and wines as well.
Tea parties are a lot more relaxed than dinner parties. If you chose to host a tea party, schedule the party around typical meal times. The best tea parties are either a few hours before or after lunch.
Cocktail parties revolve around drinks and snack foods. They are a great way to socialize and are best with a lot of guests.
You don’t have to make a lot of food for potlucks because everyone chips in and brings something to share. Just make sure you don’t end up with seven different kinds of chips and dip.
Once You Pick a Style, It’s Time to Choose Your Guests
The number of guests you invite will vary depending on the kind of party you host. Here are a few guidelines on who to bring to which parties.
If you’re hosting a dinner party, your guests have to fit around one table. That usually means your group will consist of six to eight people. (If you have a large table, you may be able to fit 10).
And remember, these numbers include you as well.
If you’re primarily inviting couples, don’t invite someone who’s single. You can always mix up the crowd with singles and couples, so long as people who are single don’t feel awkward and have plenty of other people to talk to.
You can make your tea party as big as you want, but this kind of vintage party works best with a few close friends.
This is a great time to invite a large group of friends who don’t know each other. The drinks will make it easy to talk to new people and keep the conversations going. Make the party large enough so your guests can interact with multiple people.
This is a good vintage party for families. It’s not the most traditional vintage party, so if you want to throw something truly vintage, one of the other options is a better choice.
Picking Your Vintage Party Date
You need to pick your date a long time in advance. Most of your friends probably have booked or busy schedules, so you’ll want to give them plenty of notice to put that date on their calendar.
This may even mean picking a date several months in the future. But that could actually be very beneficial for you as well.
If you don’t already own a few sets of vintage dishes or other decorations, it’ll take you a while to track them down. You may have to visit several different thrift stores before you find what you’re looking for, but you can usually get dishes for pretty good deals.
You may also have to make a lot of your decorations yourself, so scheduling the party a few months in advance will give you plenty of time to work on them.
Sending the Invitations
You can’t rely on Facebook or phones for sending your vintage party invitations. The invitation itself is when you actually get to start setting the vintage theme.
Spend some time looking up vintage invitation designs on the internet. When you find one you like, you can either buy or make your own similar invitations.
Vintage invitations let your guests know right away they’re going to a vintage party. And sending it to your guests through the mail is a lot more exciting than sending them a picture online.
Planning Your Food
Keep the food simple.
The number one rule when making food for a vintage party is to eat simple, real food. That means using butter instead of margarine and cutting out foods that have been engineered, like low-fat or fat-free foods.
The drinks should also be time sensitive. Again, you can look around the internet for vintage recipes you and your guests will enjoy.
But keep in mind not all your guests will like the drink you choose. It’s always a good idea to provide another, non-alcoholic drink as a secondary option.
Don’t put together an elaborate menu that’ll leave you slaving in the kitchen for hours right before the vintage party. Instead, pick things you can put together beforehand or keep warm in the oven until you’re ready to eat.
And always make more food than you think you’ll need, especially for cocktail parties. You’ll want to have enough food that your guests can snack throughout the entire evening.
If you have friends who like to cook or bake, you can always ask them to bring a side dish along so you don’t have to prepare as much food yourself.
Decorating the Room
The key to decorating your vintage party is fresh, colourful flowers. Get as many as you can. They can be used as the centrepiece for the table, places around the room in vases, or even hung from the deck railing if you’re hosting the party outside.
Candles are another easy decoration that fits the vintage theme. Just scatter some around the room, and even on the table if there’s enough space, and light them just before the guests arrive.
You can get creative with your other decorations. Those cheap beaded necklaces you can find at the dollar store can be draped around a light to make a little chandelier.
Ask your older female friends and family or look up some good ideas on the internet.
Setting the Table
Most of your decoration will actually centre around the table.
A vintage tablecloth is a must. It sets the base for the rest of your theme. If you can’t find a vintage tablecloth, use a simple tablecloth and enhance it with everything else you put on top.
The napkins should be fabric and folded or rolled neatly. The silverware should be straight. You’ll need a set of vintage dishes for each guest. Don’t worry about trying to match them all. Getting different sets can make the table more colourful.
If you have trouble finding them at thrift stores, you can always ask you grandmothers or female relatives if you can borrow some of their old dish sets.
Decorative, white doilies are a nice touch on serving plates, especially for tea parties. You can also make place names for your guests and put them around the table.
Dressing Yourself to Fit the Theme
One of the most fun things about throwing a vintage party is dressing the part. You should definitely take the time to put together a vintage outfit, and you should encourage your guests to do so as well.
Again, if you aren’t sure where to look, ask older female relatives if you can borrow something of theirs (if they still own anything vintage). If you can’t find anything from them, our vintage dress store is a good place to start.
At the very least, make an effort to incorporate some vintage elements into your modern clothing, like a vintage blouse or skirt.
You can let your guests know about the preferred clothing choice in the invitation. Describe the style you’re looking for (formal or casual), and you may want to include a decade in there as well (like the 1940s or the 1950s).
If you already own a lot of vintage clothes, you can also offer to let your friends borrow them for the vintage party. Tell them they can show up in the normal clothes, pick an outfit, and change when they get to your house.
This is another good reason to schedule the party several months in advance. It gives your guests a chance to find vintage outfits of their own if they need to.
Planning Your Entertainment
You’ll want to make sure you have a few different forms of entertainment planned for your vintage party. You don’t want to finish your dinner earlier than expected and end up sitting awkwardly around the table with nothing to do.
A vintage party isn’t complete without some music, some games, and some catching up.
The Right Music
Music is a must for any vintage party. Pick your favourite songs from the period and let them play softly in the background. The volume is important. You want it loud enough to be heard but soft enough to encourage normal conversations.
The easiest way to get the music you want is to make an album on your iPod. Yeah, yeah. An iPod is modern, but you can put all your music in a playlist, shuffle it up, plug it into a speaker, and have the perfect music throughout the entire party.
If you want to stay true to the vintage party theme, you’ll need to find a record player and some records. This will require you to get up a few times during the party to flip the record over, but it will certainly add to the feel.
And make sure you know how to use it before your guests arrive!
Some Fun Games
For parties with big groups, you’ll want to have a few games prepared for when the party starts to slow down. These don’t necessarily have to be vintage, but try to avoid video games or other games that will detract from the vintage theme.
And Good Conversations
Catching up with friends, socializing, and having good conversations are usually all the entertainment you need for your vintage party. This is especially true for tea parties or other parties with small groups of people who all know each other very well.
Tips for a Successful Vintage Party
Planning any kind of party takes a bit of work, but there are several things you can do that will make things easier for you and keep your stress level down.
As the party gets closer, make lists of everything you need to get done and when you’re going to do it. When you can see it all on paper, you won’t be scrambling around trying to finish everything at the same time. Instead, you can take your time and work on one or two things a day.
Have a Backup Plan
If the conversation starts to get awkward or sensitive (like if someone brings up religion, politics, or other personal topics), be ready to change the subject.
Sometimes this can be as easy as asking an unrelated question, making sure everyone knows each other if it’s a large crowd, or bringing out one of those games.
It’s okay if things don’t go exactly according to plan. Just let yourself relax and enjoy the time you get to spend with the friends around you. As long as they are enjoying themselves, the party was a success.
The Next Party You Throw Should Definitely be Vintage
Vintage parties are a lot of fun because you have complete freedom to decorate however you want, serve whatever food you want, and dress up in vintage clothing.
They don’t take a lot of work to plan, and your guests will enjoy a little blast to the bast without the familiar technology. You could even make a no phone rule.
Are you planning a party but haven’t found something to wear yet? Take a look at some of our casual vintage dresses!