If you’re looking for a unique party theme for your next get together, I have a fun and creative idea for you. Bonus points if your house happens to support it.
It’s fair to say I’m a huge fan of a well executed party theme, as you may have guessed from our annual Halloween costume parties or our Christmas whiskey tasting and dinner parties. And last weekend, our friends, Dave and Amy, threw a party that absolutely nailed the theme they were shooting for. (In fact, they hit such a home run with this party, I asked if they wouldn’t mind me sharing some photos and details here on the blog.)
Simply put, the party theme was “Dinner at Grandma’s House.”
The idea for this festive affair came about due to the decor of our friends’ new, old home. I recently worked with Dave and Amy to sell their 1900 Italianate home in Old Town, the sale of which was driven by their desire to tackle a new project. As consummate DIYers, when they laid eyes on this 1950s Cape Cod in Alexandria they had a vision. What didn’t work for some folks is what really drew them in. Vintage bathrooms, floral wallpaper, wall-to-wall carpeting (over top of what appear to be beautiful original hardwood floors they plan to reveal), and a yellow hue called “Lemon Merengue” blanketing many of the walls made it just the project they were looking for. I have to say, working with clients that share a love of character you can only find in homes of another era is just one of the many things that makes me truly love my work as a Virginia and DC realtor.
One other, very notable detail that attracted them to the home was the fact that its previous owner had lived there since the 1960s. The previous owner cared so much for the home that she maintained everything carefully, and even kept meticulous notes in a ledger about every detail of the home and its maintenance over the years, even down to paint colors and who had performed each and every repair, service call, or upgrade. Even major appliances that many might be looking to replace are in perfect working order as they’ve been for decades.
As a nod to the home’s current state, the party theme was an attempt to capture the wonders of a neighborhood gathering typical of the mid 1960s. Beyond the home’s decor, the most important piece of this party theme was to capture the food you’d find in this era.
From Jello molds to dinner rolls, pigs in a blanket to ambrosia salad, what else would you expect at a party where the host immediately welcomed you to 1966 upon your arrival?
Not only was the food period inspired, it was fun, a change from what (in our experience) is typically served “these days,” and absolutely delicious. Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, mac-n-cheese, a ham, and even a few cans of that newfangled easy-cheese made it to the table.
And no dinner at Grandma’s would be complete without a few different selections of fruit cake, along with desserts of cookies, lemon tart, and assorted other sweet goodies.
Here’s a little life hack for you, Easy-Cheese stirred into an already cheesy mac-n-cheese is pretty spectacular.
In addition to the food, the decor worked its way into the meal. Our friends are proud owners of beautiful vintage divided glass plates, passed down from her grandmother, that were absolutely perfect for the festivities.
When thinking about the 60s, you can’t forget about the beverages of the era. A cooler stocked with bottles of cream soda or root beer and cans of other traditional offerings was an excellent addition to the mugs of eggnog and fruit punch being passed in vintage glasses.
And one of my single favorite subtle touches were the glass jars of candy mints and wrapped butterscotches that sat beckoningly on the living room coffee table, presented in a cherished family heirloom. It brought back memories of visits to my grandparents’ homes where these mainstay candies were always front and center.
The party hosts (including their children and grandchildren) truly immersed themselves in the theme as well, donning clothes you’d typically expect to see in a party from the mid 1960s. Amy even went so far as to find vintage frames, and have them updated with her prescription lenses. Now that’s dedication!
We had such a wonderful time! The party hosts with the help of so many of their family members ended up throwing what amounted to the perfect throwback housewarming/Christmas party, and we’re so happy to have had the chance to attend. There were so many moments where we felt like we were looking back at scenes that could have taken place in another era.
If you’re looking for a theme for your next party, and you happen to have some decor and clothing that might be able to support the theme, I highly recommend “Dinner at Grandma’s” as something you should give a go. It’s an unexpected and nostalgic way to throw an event your guests will surely talk about for years to come.