Want to live a day in the life of Jay Gatsby? Throw a black-tie theme party! A black-tie theme is perfect for many events like reunions, birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, work parties, fundraisers, and even New Year’s parties. Turn whatever event you wish into a fun, fancy memory for everyone! These parties can easily turn into extravagant affairs that are way over budget, so ensure you stay within your budget with our financial plan.
Black Tie Theme Party Decorations
Altering lighting is an easy way to create a specific atmosphere. Replace any stark white bulbs with soft amber lights* to give your party area a romantic glow. Hang gold paper lanterns from the ceiling to give your guests more light and to give your space a decorative touch. You can also light your space with candles. These could be tall elegant candles in antique candle holders*. The lighting that you choose will depend on the mood that you are going for.
2. Entrance Archway
A grand entrance is a perfect way to set the stage for an elegant formal party. You can rent/buy an archway* or create your own. Creating your own may show that you are dedicated to your party, but renting one is understandable, as the host has countless responsibilities. To add a touch of sparkle, wrap white Christmas lights* around the entire arch.
3. Table Décor
Scatter tall standing tables* around your party area to give your guests plenty of space to mingle and congregate. Decorate them with attractive votive candles* or elegant silver candlesticks. Tall standing tables are preferable to shorter tables with chairs, as shorter tables are more confining and do not fully allow guests to gather in groups.
4. Black and Gold
Black and gold are both sophisticated colors. Purchase black and gold balloons* as decorations for your party. Tie them in bunches to decorate the corners of your party area and the walkways. Helium or non-helium balloons are acceptable when decorating. You may consider using helium balloons for letters, such as “Party like it’s 1920.”
To create an elegant bouquet, fill your vases with black stones* and tie them with thick, gold ribbon*. Keep your arrangement simple with large flowers like orchids and roses. Fill in your arrangements with greenery. These bouquets can be used as centerpieces or as décor on the bar, food table, or on a table by the entrance.
Silhouettes make for lovely décor. Cut black-tie-appropriate images, such as martini glasses, bow ties, cocktail dresses, and tuxedos from black paper. Add any details you wish with metallic pens*. Tape the silhouettes to the walls of your party area. Make sure to cut these images well, without jagged lines!
Black Tie Theme Party Favors
7. Photo Keychain
A photo keychain* is a lovely favor that can be easily made sophisticated. Simply choose a keychain design that looks classy, such as one with a simple silver design. Guests are able to put a picture from the event in the keychain or just a picture they enjoy. This is a great present for your guests because they will always remember what fun they had at the event!
8. Bottles of Water
Give your guests bottles of gourmet water*. It is important for your guests to stay hydrated at your event. It is likely that your guests will be drinking alcohol, so avoiding your guests getting sick is of utmost importance. Not only do these water bottles keep your guests hydrated throughout the night, but they also make lovely giveaways.
9. Top Hats
Top hats are an icon of classic black-tie affairs. Give your guests plastic top hats* to wear throughout the event. If your event has a photo booth, these hats can serve as a fun accessory when taking photos. Otherwise, the guests have a top hat to wear around town!
Who hasn’t dreamt of being a princess at least once in their life? Giving out tiaras* allows your guests to live out their long-lived dreams of being a princess! Tiaras are another fun accessory that could be used if your party has a photo booth. For extra fun, stack the tiara on top of the top hat because why not?!
11. Personalized Glasses
You worked so hard for this event to happen, right? Why not have a keepsake that allows you and your guests to remember the day it happened? Go and have champagne or wine glasses etched with the event name and date for a beautifully elegant favor. Each time you use these glasses, you’re sure to have a smile brought to your face remembering the events of that night!
12. Tie Clips
Tie clips are perfect for giving suits a bit of sophistication. Treat your male guests to a tie clip favor. If you have a bit of extra money lying around, make it into a game, but in the end, everyone essentially wins. Buy silver and gold tie clips. Play a game of freeze dance with a song of your choosing. The winners get the gold tie clips, and the losers get the silver clips.
13. Polaroid Pictures
Polaroid cameras* are incredibly popular because of their ability to instantly print the picture just taken. Consider putting out a few polaroid cameras at the party, allowing your guests to take pictures throughout the night. At the end of the night, they have captured memories of the night, and you may have some leftover pictures as well!
Black Tie Theme Party Menu Ideas
15. Hors D’oeuvres
Serve beautiful, small appetizers on elegant serving trays*. Some options include caviar, oysters, bite-size sushi rolls, and cucumber slices topped with shrimp and scallions. Make sure your appetizers look as good as they taste. Appearances are key!
Who doesn’t love cheese? Charcuterie boards are all the rage this season, so impress your guests with your knowledge (or feigned knowledge) of cheeses! Serve a wide variety of cheeses, from creamy and mild to crumbly and strong on a wood cutting board* for a rustic feel. Serve plain-flavored crackers* and wine to accent the cheeses.
17. First Course
Make sure your first course is elegant without being filling. For a seafood dish, try salmon mousse or crab salad. For a veggie first course, try puff pastries stuffed with mushrooms in a garlic sauce. For a light pasta* dish, try goat cheese ravioli or pasta with shrimp. Something light and delicious will make your first-course one to remember.
18. Main Course
Sophisticated options for the main course include Cornish game hens with a delicious sauce, lobster tails, beef tenderloin, or scallops in a creamy sauce. The main course will leave a strong impression on the guests, so don’t hesitate to go all out on this one. If you need help picking the dish out or finding a place to get the meal ready for you, contact a local vendor or business so they prepare the best main course imaginable! Remember to support your local businesses!
Finish your elegant menu with an equally elegant dessert. Chocolate mousse, strawberry soup, and tiramisu make for lovely desserts, especially when served in martini glasses*. Similarly, a delicious torte makes for an excellent choice. Serve specialty coffees topped with whipped cream* with your dessert. You can also serve dessert wines or brandy and cognac.
Offer a full bar stocked with plenty of beverages for your guests to enjoy – just as Jay Gatsby would at one of his legendary bashes. Or, you can even create a few signature cocktails to serve your guests before the meal along with plenty of wine to serve with dinner. For non-alcoholic beverages, serve sparkling apple cider* or create a few non-alcoholic cocktails.
Black Tie Theme Party Entertainment
21. Live Music
Live music makes any event better, especially a black tie theme party. If you’re going for a more sophisticated vibe, consider hiring a string quartet. If you’re not as prestigious, then hire your typical band that you and your friends can get down and dirty on the dance floor to. Also, make sure you have a large enough dance floor for your guests because if there’s live music, they’ll need space to rock out or to peacefully watch (if it’s a string quartet).
Black tie parties can sometimes be a drag, so lift the mood by hiring a comedian. If you want, ask your guests who their favorite comedian is before the event so that you’re sure to get a comedian that your guests will enjoy.
23. Catering Service
Catering for a black tie event is a must. If you can, have the caterers stay and serve the food. The easiest way for this to happen should be for the caterers to stand behind the food table and the guests line up to be served their food. If the catering service does not allow this service, then simply tell your guests to serve their own food!
Hire a magician to put on a real show for your guests! The magician will be able to show fun tricks to the guests throughout the party, along with a reserved time slot for his or her “magic show.” With a magician present at your black tie event, you’ll have even more fun than before because you’ll see magic tricks all night! Who hasn’t dreamt of that?! Plus, if you ask nicely, the magician might teach you a trick or two!
Black Tie Theme Party Supplies
25. Custom Banner
Create a custom banner* for your black tie theme party! If it’s for your birthday, then have it say “Happy Birthday,” but if it’s for your anniversary, then have it say “Happy Anniversary.” Having a custom banner for your event makes the event 10x more special!
Purchase elegant tablecloths* for the tables at your event. The tables don’t have to be expensive, but they should look elegant, as it is a black tie party! Tablecloths also keep the actual table clean – so they do more than just make things look pretty!
27. Curtain String Lights
Purchase some curtain string lights for the photo booth. You can also place them in other places in the venue to liven up the area. Placing the string lights in the photo booth, though, is a great move because they truly paint the picture of a black tie theme party.
28. Bow Tie Cupcake Toppers
Get some bow tie cupcake toppers to spice up the cupcakes at your event! Any party can have cupcakes, but your party can stand out with bow tie cupcake toppers! Your guests will be impressed with the extent of preparation that went into the party!
29. Tuxedo Popcorn Treat Box
Just like all the guests will be dressed up, the popcorn boxes will be dressed up as well! How fitting! The guests will think this idea is to die for and won’t be able to get enough of the popcorn because of how cute the little “outfits” are!
Black Tie Theme Party Invitations
Cut your invitations into simple, black-tie-appropriate shapes such as a bowtie, a champagne glass, or an evening gown. You can also cut your invitations into the shape of the guest of honor’s initials or a season-appropriate shape like an Autumn leaf for a Fall event. No matter what you do, make sure it will catch the eye of your guests.
Use a formal-looking font for your invitations, but make sure it is easy to read. A cursive or other curling font is a good choice. If your cursive does not look so good, invite a few friends over to help with the invitations. They are sure to help when you offer them a glass of wine, but be sure to get the invitations done before indulging in too many drinks!
32. Color Scheme
Stick to neutral colors on your invites, such as black and ivory, to emphasize the sophistication of the event. However, you can dress up your invitations with a bright color accent as a border or as a font color, such as a bright red. It should be a pop of color, just as a red lipstick is a pop of color, and it makes the whole makeup look 10 times better!
33. Bow Tie
The bow tie is the most significant way to distinguish a black tie party. How could you not make that a part of your party invitations? Make the bow tie the centerpiece of the invitation so that your guests have a good idea of what to wear (as if they didn’t already know!).
A masquerade theme invitation is a unique and fun way to tell your guests that you’re hosting a black tie theme party! Even if the party is not masquerade-themed, the invitation is a fun way to spice things up.
We hope you enjoyed these black-tie theme party ideas. It is a perfect party to class things up a bit, and there are many ideas that can be used for just a formal party to dress up and enjoy yourself. Bring out your inner Jay Gatsy, and party like it’s the 1920s! I promise you’ll have the time of your life.
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Written by Sydney Pattison