(updated Feb 5th, 2018. Note: Some of the links below are Affiliate Links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase)
My mom is turning the big 6-0 this coming November and she decided that she wanted to celebrate by having a 1950s themed party (1953 to be exact), and since I’m the party planner in our family I’m helping put this shindig on.
So I thought for my blog I would share some of my ideas for the party as I go along and maybe help someone else plan their own 50s party in the process. I’m also super eager to hear if any of you lovely readers have ideas to add to make my mom’s 60th birthday just perfect! Lets begin!
The Birthday Girl!
The invites have already gone out and I designed them myself thru a company called “Vista Print”
BUT If you don’t have an ounce of talent in your pinky finger do not fear! Here are some great sites that can help you with that:
- Retro Invites
- Etsy (just type in 1950’s invites as your search)
- OR just type in “1950’s party invites” into your search engine and options near you I’m sure will appear
- Online Invites Only:
This is the REALLY fun part and you can go so many different directions.
1. Vintage Diner
Many party stores carry all kinds of décor for this kind of party, so if you are looking for an easy breezy décor idea, you can’t go wrong here.
Some Online Options:
2. Tiki Party
Tiki was HUGE in the 1950’s (learn about Tiki Culture here) and it’s a another décor idea that is really easy to come by at any party store or Dollar Store. I was recently part of a Tiki party in the summer time and most of the décor came from Dollarama. So go Tiki Crazy!
3. Sock Hop
Balloons more Balloons and lots of Streamers is pretty much all you need for this décor idea. However other items like records tapped to the walls or dangling from the ceiling, a real Jukebox or some party stores carry Jukebox Standees if your budget is limited will also add a little extra to the party.
4. 50’s Lounge Cocktail Party (think Mad Men Style).
Low Lighting, replace some of the lamps with coloured bulbs like blue or green. Setup your bar with vintage cocktail wears (or vintage looking) and make it the focal point of the party.
For a more detailed description on how to make this party come to life, please check out my blog post ‘How to Host a 1950’s Cocktail/Lounge Party’.
Food & Drink
For the most authentic experience you need to serve 1950’s food. If you want recipes or ideas see if you can find some old 1950s cookbooks online or in used book stores, they will really help plan your menu. However if you are just stumped for time or looking thru a cookbook is foreign territory to you (like me lol), here is a small list of ideas:
- French Fries
- Hotdogs and Hamburgers
- Celery & Cheese whiz
- Devilled Eggs
- Pineapple upside cake
- Jello Mold!
- Fruit on Skewers
- Swedish Meatballs
- Angel Food Cake
- Pound Cake
- Fruit Cup
- Meat Pies
- TV Dinners 🙂
- Grilled cheese
- Ice Cream/Banana splits
- Non-Alcoholic Drinks: Soda/pop, Milk Shakes, Root beer floats etc.
NOTE: For a more detailed post on food options see the post ‘Party Foods of the 1950’s‘.
- Tom Collins
- Pink Lady
- Pina Colada
- White Russian
- Dirty Martini
- Singapore Sling
- Whisky Sour
- and a Champagne Cocktail to name just a few
Having a Tiki Themed Party? Here is a fun website to help with your Tiki Drinks, The Tiki Lounge Talk.
The list is endless of all the fun games you can do, but here are some of my suggestions:
- Hula Hoop Contest
- Name that Tune
- Name that 1950s TV Show
- Bubble-gum blowing contest
- Limbo Contest
- Trivia Questions about the 1950s
- Pin the Tail on the Donkey
This is I think the easiest piece of the puzzle to make your party a success as there are so many CD’s out there with “Best of the 50s” and online radio stations playing that music, all you have to do is press Play. For an extra fun add-on to the party check out “Rockabilly music”. Enjoy!
How to Dress (My Favorite Part!)
How to dress is totally going to depend on the 1950’s theme you are going with. If you are doing “Tiki” you are going to want your guests showing up in Hawaiian shirts, and dresses, leis etc. (see my Tiki party blog post for clothing images). If you are going with 1950’s diner, sock hop etc. then your options are pretty open to anything from circle skirts, poodle skirts, capris pants, saddle shoes to Cardigans and slacks for men.
Here are some inspiration pictures to help…..
Circle skirts, pencil skirts, apron a slim fitting sweater and pearls will get the job done nicely. Don’t forget the crinoline!
Poodle skirts or skirts with images on it were very popular
Add slacks or capris to the mix with a beautiful blouse
Saddle shoes! Look at that top! Fantastic 🙂
If you doing a Cocktail Lounge party you might suggest cocktail outfits. Like Tuxedos for the guys, as seen on Frank and Bing.
And beautiful Cocktail gowns for the women.
Where to buy 1950’s clothing
If you want that Poodle Skirts/Grease Look then try out your local costume store or online stores, they always carry that fun style. BUT if you are looking for something a bit more authentic here are some (not all) of my favorite online stores:
- Etsy (for vintage or reproduction. Use search words like: 1950’s Dress, 1950’s vintage Dress/skirt)
- Stop Staring
- Unique Vintage
- Vivien of Holloway
- Pinup Girl Clothing
- Bettie Page
- Lindy Bop
- Tatyana Clothing
- Collectif Clothing
- Rosie the Rebel (CDN)
- Doll Factory by Damzels (CDN)
Brick & Mortar Stores: In your hometown venture to your local Vintage Clothing store and ask the staff to help you. I have sometimes found that just because you don’t see it on the floor, does not mean that it does not exist. You can also get creative with modern clothes that you might already have in your closet (or can find in a store). Pencil skirt and cute blouse will work perfect every time.
There you have it the “Mini guide to the throwing the ultimate 1950s themed party”. I hope you got some great ideas and if you do throw a party I would LOVE to see what you did. Share your post or images.
To end, I had to share the below video because the music is just too good to not share. Add these as well to your party!