Saturday, 4 February 2012

How to host a Mad Men Dinner Party

When i signed up for 'come dine with me' competion with my friends, little did i know what i was in for!
After Brian and Jacqui set the standard with a fabulous murder mystery night, and Sinead and Clare followed up with an impressive Godfather themed night, Myself and Colin were very worried! What on earth were we going to do??

As a long time fan of the tv show Mad Men, and an even longer time lover of all things retro, i was eager to attempt a mad men style party.   Luckily, Colin was up for it too! So now we had our theme, how were we going to execute it?  Mad Men is all about vintage style, retro decor, booze and cigarrettes.  A good night in other words!

If you fancy hosting your own Mad Men style party, here are a few suggestions to get you started!

Atmosphere is a large part of getting your mad men style party right.
The TV show is set in the 60's so move or hide any wires, computers, sound systems which wouldn't have been around in the 60's. 
Mad Men is set in an advertising company so i printed off sample adverts from the show, got them blown up and laminated to hang on the walls.

This is one of the posters we used
Lighting is great- lots of fairy lights, tea lights etc...
Smoking is everywhere on the show so have lots of ashtrays in the room and give your guests a packet of  candy cigarrettes each.  Colin painstakingly glued 'lucky strike' labels onto a gazillion candy cigarrete packets.
Glassware- I picked up sherry glasses, a decantor and crystal from the charity shop and put them where the tv. would ordinarily stand.
The table- Red tablecloth, old records for placemats, napkins, cocktail glasses, wine glasses, retro name tags all add to the kitch factor

If you can, beg, borrow or steal a record player.  I had to make do with my not very retro laptop and it did look a bit odd amidst the old school surroundings.


I borrowed the official soundtrack to the mad men series from the library. Music by nina simone, John coultrane or the rat pack would be appropriate.  Think jazz, no rap or hip-hop is allowed!


Dress to impress- no jeans allowed!

Me and Colin doing our best don and betty draper impression!

Lyndsey, Brian and Jacqui pictured looking suitably cool and glamorous
 As regular readers will know, this blog began in my hunt to find the dress of my dreams.  I got to wear my
dress for this themed party- hurrah :)
Jacqui brought a type-writer along, which provided lots of laughs!

Jacqui typing something undoutedly brilliant from Brian.

The characters on the show don't seem to eat very much, but they do drink a lot!
In one episode, Betty does host a dinner party with a 'foods of the world' theme.
Therefore myself and colin decided to do a boozy menu with an international flavour.
The menu had to be a bit retro too, so no new fangled foods allowed!
Colin put together a gorgeous vintage style menu to tempt our guests upon arrival.

Colin prepared a delicious tequila salsa salad, which was served on grilled tiger bread.
Many tomatos were killed in the making of this starter...

The vegetarian guests (were there vegetarians in the 1960's?) tucked into a vegetarian bake
served with greens and crusty bread

Vegetarian bake

 The carnivores tucked into boeuf bourgignon (boozy and french!) with potato gratin and greens
Boeuf Bourgignon
I made a scrumptious grasshopper pie for dessert.  Grasshopper pie is a lurid green boozy cheesecake pie with an oreo cookie base, and a creme de menthe/creme de cacao/ marshmallow topping.  Its based on the classic grasshopper cocktail which was popular in the 1950's
Grasshopper pie
If you can try to stick to classic cocktails of the time- martini's, sidecars and manhattans would be perfect.
Myself and colin served simple vodka and cranberry cocktails on arrival and grasshopper's after dinner.
I served the grasshopper cocktails from a tea cup, maybe a kitch step to far....

Cocktails from a teapot!

Myself and colin plumped for charades, which proved to be hilarious and very easy to organise.
Swing dancing could be another possible source of entertainment.  Basically any game which involves technology which would have been available in the 1960's would be suitable!

Myself and Colin had a ball organising our mad men party!  It took quite a lot of planning to pull off, but i think it was worth it!

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant article on how to host mad men dinner party. I am so pleased to have all these details here because my husband’s birthday is coming and wanted such a fun theme for celebration. Also need to book some outdoor NYC venues for that. So if you have any suggestions, please share.