by Emma

You may have noticed me rabbiting on about turning 30 recently. It was a pretty big deal for me, not because I was bothered about hitting a milestone birthday but because I was well and truly ready to embrace it by hosting a big party to celebrate.

I wanted to gather my nearest and dearest for an evening of fun and laughter, with as little stress as possible…no mean feat when you are organising a party.

The theme was a roaring 20s party to wave goodbye to my roaring 20s, and here’s what I did in case you are looking for some party inspiration of your own…

The venue

Part of the no stress brief kind of ruled out having anything at home. I came to the realisation that it takes far more preparation and creates too much cleaning after the event.

I have had some really amazing weekends with friends in cottages throughout the UK over the years, so I knew at the back of my mind that the ideal would be to find a lovely house that we could take up camp in for the weekend and party to our hearts content.

Little did I know I would find something as perfect at the Waterhouse in Bath. The Watherhouse is a beautiful country boutique hotel with 13 bedrooms, which is available for full hire. Yep, that meant that we could take over the whole hotel for the weekend.

1920s 30th birthday theme, Great Gatsby party, via Year of the Yes

When hiring venues that you have only looked at online, you get that slightly nervous feeling that everything isn’t quite going to be as it seems. But The Waterhouse did not disappoint one bit. It had the perfect areas downstairs to host a party, with the dining room and kitchen perfectly equipped to cater for your party, and a beautiful conservatory that can be dressed up to host your soiree.

The rooms were beautiful as well, with 13 stylishly decorated rooms, the majority of which can be made up as doubles or twin rooms.

1920s 30th birthday theme, Great Gatsby party, via Year of the Yes

I actually found the Waterhouse via a website called The Big Domain, which specialises in larger party houses for rent, but it is always worth checking out Owners Direct as well.

The decorations

I was keen to dress up the venue to make it look like the real deal. So I spent a couple of months before the party collecting various decorations.

My year of the yes partner in crime, Christina, kindly donated the use of the fairy lights that she got for her wedding, which really lit up the whole conservatory and dining room and added a touch of sparkle to proceedings. Christina picked them up on ebay not long after Christmas, so if you are planning ahead that is a great way to bag a bargain.

Here’s some of the lights twinkling behind some obligatory party shot action:

1920s 30th birthday theme, Great Gatsby party, via Year of the Yes

The pastel perfection collection from Ginger Ray was the inspiration behind much of the rest of the decorations, I purchased table confetti, fan pinwheels and table tassel, star and circle garlands. I didn’t manage to snap any photos of it, but here’s what some of the collection looks like:

1920s 30th birthday theme, Great Gatsby party, via Year of the Yes

1920s 30th birthday theme, Great Gatsby party, via Year of the Yes

I then used party packs.co.uk to get some 1920s specific decorations, including the 1920s bunting, posters and themed toilet signs.

1920s 30th birthday theme, Great Gatsby party, via Year of the Yes

The final touch was a sweetie bar, because I have a bit of a sweet tooth myself. I got it all from Amazon, including the candy bags, scoops and  sweetie jars.

The food

This is the area where I confess I was a little lazy. I intended to cook something easy in advance that we could reheat and dish up on the night. I even looked up some 1920s inspired dishes. But as I was away in the run-up to the party, there just wasn’t time to get it sorted and it was beginning to get me quite stressed. You remember that the brief was to do a party that wasn’t stressful?! So, I decided that we should just get a takeaway.

It wasn’t at all 1920s but our takeaway from Koh Thai in Bath was thoroughly delicious. We had been there once before for a friend’s hen do, and loved the taster menu option that they did (you tell them how much you want to spend and any dietary requirements / spice intolerances and they will send you a selection of dishes to tantalise your tastebuds), so I knew we were in for a treat. And for just £20 per head it was the perfect solution for quick and tasty food.

The entertainment

Following a recommendation from Christina, I put together a playlist on Spotify of Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox tracks. They are perfect for a 20s themed party with jazz style adaptations of current hits. It was the perfect soundtrack to the evening, but I also put together a list of party tunes for later on.

We had some fun and games for entertainment too…

1920s 30th birthday theme, Great Gatsby party, via Year of the Yes

Helped by the incredible grounds of the hotel and space outside where you can play croquet and giant Jenga (both provided by the hotel) – there was already fantastic entertainment available for the party courtesy of the venue itself.

1920s 30th birthday theme, Great Gatsby party, via Year of the Yes

But my amazing friends also took the entertainment into their own hands, setting up games of beer pong (a great party drinking game – the rules are here if you haven’t tried it before and want to give it a whirl) and also their very own game – hashtag bingo.

Hashtag bingo was the brainchild of the lovely Lesley (she of beautiful Lelly Vance artistry fame). It consisted of a series of photos of me which my lovely friends, grouped into teams, had to come up with three hashtags to accompany. The tricky part was that the hashtags had to be those they thought I would be most likely to pick, as they only scored a point if their suggestions matched hashtags that I chose for each photo (don’t worry, we were a bit lenient with the scoring). The photos were obviously the most entertaining ones that could be found, which made it even more hilarious. It was so much fun and I thought it would make a fabulous hen party game too if you were looking for something that is tailored to your party host / hen.

The fashion

I am not one for stringent fancy dress codes. But I love a pretty and sparkly dress, so the 1920s theme was right up my street and quite easy to achieve.

I picked up my outfit from Gatsby lady, which as you might imagine specialises in beautiful vintage inspired womenswear from the era. I bagged this beautiful green dress and headdress (posing here with my boy).

1920s 30th birthday theme, Great Gatsby party, via Year of the Yes

But actually any sparkly number teamed with a headdress does the trick for this theme, and the very clever Christina actually made some headbands for her and the rest of the gang.

1920s 30th birthday theme, Great Gatsby party, via Year of the Yes

And here’s the look the boys went for:

1920s 30th birthday theme, Great Gatsby party, via Year of the Yes

It was so much fun, I really can’t recommend the 1920s theme, venue or details enough. The only shame is that you can’t borrow my wonderful friends to join you, as they really made the event for me. But hopefully you have a pack of your very own to make sure that things go with a swing and you celebrate your 30th (or special occasion) in style!

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About the Author

Emma loves sunshine and flip flops, prosecco, chocolatey treats, things that sparkle, trips to the beach, reading and blogging.

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