Party Like It's 1917
"Life is a party. Dress for it." -Audrey Hepburn
Everyone loves a good party, and even better, an excuse to throw a good party. Last month, our beloved office building, built in 1917, turned 101 years old and was a perfect reason to celebrate. As a nod to the rich history of our building, which was a Speakeasy during the Prohibition years, we had a 1920s Speakeasy soirée. We encouraged our guests to dress in theme, decorated the building with black and white feathers, lots of sparkles, and used a Model-T as our photo booth. We played old jazz music and turned our back patio into a secret Speakeasy, complete with an Absinthe bar and various Prohibition inspired cocktails. As our guests ate, drank, and mingled they enjoyed experiencing an old-time era.
Our bartender making an Absinthe cocktail.
You do not need to have a home that was once a Speakeasy to throw a great party. Each home, no matter when it was built, has a story. Even homes built this year have a certain style and design that can be matched with a fun theme for a party. When planning a party, remember that respecting the era or design of your home will make your party outstanding and people will feel like they have been transformed to that era.
This special order cake was perfect for our 1920s party theme.
Each layer of detail counts, even down to the wheels of the Model-T.
Here are a few party theme ideas based on a house's history.
1940s Hollywood Theme - Decorate with accents of black and gold - Have old film reels scattered about - Ladies, wear a black cocktail dress, and men, dust off that tuxedo - Play Big Band music - Serve the timeless Vodka Martini
Everyone loves an opportunity to dress up.
Some guests even got into character!
1960s Mad Men Theme - Decorate using a drink cart and appropriate Mid-Century barware
- A-line dresses and tailored suits were the fashion trends of that time
- Cheeseballs, deviled eggs, and fondue were popular bites at a party
- Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra music will set the mood
- Serve an Old Fashioned or Gimlet cocktail
Guests rode in style all night long.
Martini, Manhattan, and Bee's Knees cocktails were hand mixed.
1980s Rock & Roll Theme
- Decorate with neon colors and bold patterns
- Have guests tease their hair big and wear bright make up
- Three words: Acid Washed Denim
- Blast Michael Jackson and Madonna on a chunky boom box
- Serve an Amaretto Sour or Piña colada to your thirsty guests
Our bouncer made sure he heard the password "Bee's Knees" before allowing anyone entrance into the party.
Dressed to the nines, our many guests took advantage of the
unique photo booth.
Whatever theme you decide to try for your next party, people are going to be honored to be invited, and impressed by your creativity. Attention to little details go a long way and your guests will notice when you keep the integrity of the theme in tact. Most of all, have fun, relax, and enjoy watching your guests step back in time!
Ingredients: 2 C. Golden Raisins 2 Tbsp. Freshly Grated Zest of 1 or 2 Lemons 1/2 C. Irish Whiskey, or more as needed
1 1/2 C. Flour 1 tsp. Baking Powder 1/4 tsp. Salt 1/4 tsp. Ground Cloves 12 Tbsp. Unsalted Butter, room temperature 1 C. Packed Light or Dark Brown Sugar 3 Large Eggs, separated
Icing: 1 C. Confectioners' Sugar 3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed
Directions: Combine the raisins, lemon zest, and whiskey in a small bowl; let sit overnight at room temperature. (Alternatively, microwave the raisins and lemon zest on high for 1 minute, making sure the bowl is microwave-safe, then stir in the whiskey.) Preheat the oven to 350º. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking oil spray. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cloves in a medium bowl. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer; beat on medium speed until fully blended. Add the egg yolks one at a time; beat until thoroughly blended. Add the raisin mixture and blend until fully incorporated. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture to form a batter. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl of a stand mixer or hand-held electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold them into the batter in three additions, then pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 2o minutes, then run a round-edged knife around the edges of the cake to loosen it. Invert onto the rack and cool completely. While the cake is cooling, make the icing: Sift the confectioners' sugar into a small bowl, then add the lemon juice and mix well to form an icing that can be drizzled over the cake. If the consistency is too thick, add lemon juice or whiskey as needed. If the icing's too thin, add confectioners' sugar. Drizzle the icing over the cooled cake.
Found in our new cookbook, One-Hundred Sweets by Wren & Willow
Kenneth Morrill joined our team as a Carpenter. This past year, he has been a great addition as a Superintendent. Kenneth's skills and interests range from the fine arts of carpentry to creative problem solving, and from gardening to playing multiple instruments. Kenneth credits his love of carpentry to the first time he reclaimed an old Oak floor, "After I was done, the finish of the floor was a perfect mirror. I will never forget that feeling of accomplishment of my work." When not building, Kenneth loves spending time with his wife, Amanda, and their three children, Connor, Eveline, and baby Jude.
To learn more about Kenneth, click here.
Is everyone coming to your house for the next big party? No need to fret, Wren & Willow has you covered! With this hostess tray, you can easily become the hostess with the mostest and effortlessly entertain your way through the evening.
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Photos by: Aleksander Akinshev