RECIPE: 50th Anniversary Cocktail Party - Ideas?

work_in_progress_08September 11, 2008

I am planning a 50th anniverary party for DM/DF to take place next August. Would like to do an early evening cocktail party as heat/weather never seem to cooperate at this time of year. I've gone down the tent, table, chair rental summer parties. Worked to some extent, but too hot for most guests (including me). Many guests will be in their 70's and I don't want any heat strokes, just a great celebration of an accomplishment not achieved by many these days! Also, want to host in my home (don't like halls, restaurants for these type of parties). Also, I wanted to keep this a bit more formal than an afternoon "swim party".

I think evening in the air conditioning would be much more comfortable for all. I haven't yet completed my guest list, but am expecting it will be approx 50-75 guests. I want to do butlered as well as a buffet of hor d' oeuvers.

One signature cocktail as well as offering wine and beer and a mixer set up.

Thinking of doing a theme of foods served back then (hor d'oeuvre, drinks, etc.), but not sure how popoular cocktail parties were in the 50's? From memory, seems like cocktail parties were usually small gatherings?

Any ideas/recipes/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. TIA.

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The party foods from the 50's were new and exciting then, but I don't know if we would think that now!

Pigs in blankets
California Onion Dip
Chex Mix
tapioca pudding
Rice Krispy Treats
Banana Pudding (with vanilla wafers)
Soda fountain banana splits
Mexican Wedding Cakes (cookies)
tamale pie

I think if you had some really interesting cocktails from that era and some of the foods (dip, canapes, foods on cocktail picks, mini pigs in blankets) plus some upscale more current appetizers you would have a good mix. You really should wear a poodle skirt and bobby sox. I'd ask some of the older women to dress like June Cleaver! And of course play some 50's music - rock and roll and the Big Band sound.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 12:28PM
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How thoughtful of you to do this for your parents! Especially your wanting to ensure that your guests will be cool & comfortable (I'm so done with attending outdoor summer weddings & sweating/melting in my good clothes) is impressive. Your plans sound great - especially having it butlered so you can enjoy this special party along with your guests.

I was just a kid in the 50's and barely remember attending those weddings & receptions (but I do remember they were lovely and low-key...either watercress sandwiches, champagne & wedding cake, or the sit-down dinners). I do remember my parents & their friends hosting cocktail parties (which were very popular) folks made daiquiries or whiskey sours. I don't remember the hor d'oeuvres as being all that great though - not like today's. Onion dip was popular (made from Lipton's dry onion soup) might want to make the Barefoot Contessa's onion dip which is much better and serve with home-made potato chips as a 50's hor d'oeuvres (along with current healthier appetizers!). Have some chilled champagne for a toast, do big posters with photos of your parents' school days, courtship, friends, early marriage, babies arriving, etc. (my sister & I did that for the 50th anniv. party we held for our parents--lots of fun to create & guests enjoyed seeing themselves "back in the day"). Maybe have a CD featuring hits from the 50's (what a major change in music over those 10 years, especially when rock and roll came along). And, if possible, someone who will do a bit of emceeing (for lack of a better word), welcoming everyone, saluting the guests of honor maybe with funny stories from their courting days or wedding day, introducing special guests (their wedding party), etc. Oh--and someone to take videos and photos.

Have a good time planning this party. It will be a lot of fun for your family and your parents will be so pleased.


    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 12:59PM
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Check out this web site it has menus and recipes everything for any occasion
Showes Weddings etc

Here is a link that might be useful: vernalisapartypage

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 2:18PM
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I am about your parent's age....and remember we aren't really "geezers"!!
I attended a huge outdoor and inside cocktail buffet dinner party last month....the weather co-operated beautifully! Not sure where you live but most August evenings are pleasant here.
But if you can have the main party be in the house and just have the patio open for over flow that would work well too.
Cocktail parties were 3 enormously popular 50 years ago. I remember one New Years Eve being invited to 5 before dinner!! each one about 50 people!
Popular drinks them were martinis ( not the fruit juice drinks some drink now) and Manhattans, and Scotch, Bourbon and Canadian with water or soda....and there were a few who drank 7-up or ginger ale with their booze.
People didn't drink much wine then, just with dinner.
Cocktail food could be any of a number of little sandwiches, either pinwheel of just little triangles of party rye or white sandwich bread.
A bowl of shrimp was always there as were all sorts of meatballs. Blue cheese dip, onion dip and clam dip were big, asw as a tray of veggies, but as I recall, dip for the veggies didn't become popular until about 1970.
Meatballs were almost always there and my college room mate's mother made tiny cabbage rolls on toothpicks for cocktail parties and I had an aunt who's specialty was crab, chicken and shrimp salad in tiny cream puffs.
I would make my signature drink something very retro, and perhaps think of serving 2 or3 of that type...I might suggest a whiskey sour, Sloe Gin fizz, Tom Collins or perhaps an Old Fashioned.
Sounds like a lovely party....and don't forget to allow room for all the big crinolins the women will be wearing and have lots of ash trays and matches around as almost everyone will be smoking!
Linda C

    Bookmark   September 11, 2008 at 2:45PM
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