So you know how when you’re young people always ask, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” Most people answer, “be a doctor”, “have children”, “become a dolphin trainer”. For me it was, “I want to throw a Studio 54 party.” Admittedly I alsooo wanted to be a dolphin trainer but alas there isn’t much work for us dolphin-trainer wannabe’s living in Phoenix, AZ. So I had to stick with my other calling of party planning an over indulgent soiree of throwback glamour and high gloss heels.
You may ask, “Why Studio 54?” And to that I reply, “Why NOT Studio 54?!!” Hopefully most of you have had the privilege of viewing “American Hustle” (you know the one with Christian Bale looking rather portly in paisley, Jennifer Lawrence delivering us with her iconic cleaning-the-living-room-in-rubber-gloves-while-listening-to-Paul-McCartney’s-Live-and-Let-Die moment, and Amy Adams making all of my braless fashion dreams come true) in which case you should whole heartedly echo my sentiments regarding Studio 54 and this era in general. Has anyone EVER looked like they were having a better time with LESS inhibitions than someone dancing in the late 70’s? The answer is a firm, no.
Okay, now down to the brass tacks of executing this kind of event. For those of you who don’t share my everyday passion and enthusiasm for this genre you may feel you need an appropriate occasion to celebrate in such a fashion. In that case I’ve done you the favor of finding a reason to pull out your disco ball and mail out the invites (or evites, however you like to do business): 1)New Year’s Eve – What other night is better suited for glitter and extravagance? 2)Your birthday party – What other other night is better suited for glitter and extravagance? 😉 3)An anniversary party – Grab your significant other and give your friends a reason to actually want to come and celebrate your grand display of love and commitment. 4)A baby shower – Okay, okay probably not the best fit but I feel like it would really top your average baby and brunch theme in the entertainment department.
For décor I kept my color scheme simple: silver and gold. Basically ANYTHING silver and gold. Or shiny. Or sequined. You get my point. This included table cloths, wall hangings, and of course lots of disco balls. Nine disco balls to be exact. And let me tell ya, the big guy was reallyyy heavy…so as much as I wanted all of my hanging disco ball dreams to come true I had to settle for a display with it sitting next to the “party” light or otherwise see a huge hole and hook in the middle of my living room ceiling (I was actually on board for this idea even with the huge hole and hook dilemma – Rob’s the one who killed the dream). For the table cloth and wall hanging I just went to the nearest wholesale fabric store and picked a variety of fabrics measuring a couple yards each (for those who live in Phoenix, S.A.S. Fabric Store is a great option). To really evoke the atmosphere of Studio 54 I knew I needed some signature iconography such as the club’s logo and the moon. I crafted both by recruiting help from my sister and a friend (I mean if my guests are going to enjoy the party they better be prepared to put some blood, sweat, and tears in, too). For us the center of every party we host is the dining room table so I knew that I had to use this surface area to make my biggest impact. Sprinkle some mirrors, martini glasses, disco balls, and colorful alcoholic candies and you’ve got yourself a table setting that screams “Saturday Night Fever”.
Depending what time you’re throwing this bash you can bulk up or thin out your menu. We sent out invites with a start time of 8:30 pm which meant less work for me. Keeping in the 70’s theme I stuck with easy grab apps and ‘zerts (that’s a cool way of saying appetizers and desserts that I’ve heard makes you sound like a really seasoned hipster hostess). Fondue, fruit kabobs, and disco ball cupcakes rounded out our buffet. As for drinks I always try to make it as easy as possible on myself. I don’t know about you but I like to spend the majority of my parties buzzing around the room, dancing, and facilitating games. That being said, there has to be enough variety for your guests to mix a cocktail they truly enjoy. We have a permanent bar fixture in our hallway cove that features 16 types of whiskey (it is literally the only liquor that Rob is gifted so we’ve acquired quite the selection), 5 bottles of vodka, a unique Irish gin, 6 types of tequila, and select other mixing liquors (we strictly use these libations for parties and hosting, don’t worry we’re not complete lushes). Combine that with some flavored soda water, tonic water, and fruit for garnishing and the possibilities are endless.
Last but not least… the entertainment. Dancing is not only suggested at our parties, it’s required. Games as well. I love a fancy cocktail party just as much as the next person (any reason to acquire a new outfit that I would otherwise never have a reason to indulge in) but they can often feel stuffy and the conversation can teeter more toward small talk and mindless get-to-know-each-other chatter rather than fun or memorable banter. So how does one solve this quagmire as a respectable adult in the midst of a social event? Games, games, and more games. There is nothing that brings strangers together better than a drink or two and a team game that encourages lively jesting. Our personal favorites are “Drinking Game” Uno (it’s a game of my own creation that was born out of one too many margaritas and has henceforth become a staple at any nighttime gathering within our extended friend group), Cards Against Humanity, Rage Cage, and of course Flip Cup. A little competition and team sports never hurt anyone!
So there’s the recipe for throwing your very own Studio 54 party that all who attend will remember fondly well into their old age and refer to as their “Golden Years”… or more realistically just a really fun night spent with friends decked out in the best that 1977 had to offer. To be honest, some of our guests had such a great time they actually didn’t remember much at all… which they say is how you know you did Studio 54 right 😉 Grab your faux fur, pull out the platforms, and dance the night away.
xoxo Ariel & Rob
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