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The Great Gatsby-inspired recipes and party ideas

Nick is a graduate writing student and editorial intern at SheKnows. With roots in California, he has an affinity for good food and wine. In addition to eating a lot and writing about his recipe adventures with dates, Nick cooks for his ...

Add a touch of class to your next Party

We're emerging from under piles of comforters and blankets. Winter weather is officially behind us. Summer is here, and it's the perfect time to plan warm weather festivities.
Friends at summer garden party

Throw a vintage-chic party

We've all had to read F. Scott Fitzgerald's great American novel The Great Gatsby at some point or another. The timeless look into the way the other half lives is enduring, observational and sometimes depressing. One thing the author did seem to extract so elegantly was the party and leisure life of our fateful hero Gatsby. Hollywood is giving the book another go as stylistic director Baz Lurhmann (Moulin Rouge) brings the story to the screen this December with Leonardo DiCaprio donning the pink suits along with Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan.

Read more about Leonardo DiCaprio's role in The Great Gatsby >>

The movie will be sure to dazzle our eyes and deliver a bevy of party ideas, but you don't have to order crates of flowers, call in every butcher or deli within 50 square miles or even make additional stops at the market. Simple ideas and tasteful ambience will only make mealtime even better.

Decor for garden party

Decor

No need to get party-store tacky and rent vintage cars or wear a plastic flask on your thigh. Treat this as an inspired party and play with the color white as much as you can. Gatsby is all about looking clean-cut and crisp. Dress up your tables, chairs and dishware in white and cream. Add a gentle, sweet tone to your party with tiny white candles in Mason jars and string some twinkle lights from your trees. Add a touch of uniqueness with name cards at each spot at the table. Your guests will appreciate the personal touch and the light, snappy atmosphere.

Record player

Music

You don't have to go overboard with a discography of jingly 1920s tunes. Your staples are "The Charleston” and anything Louis Armstrong. Definitely stick with slow Parisian accordions swooning in the background, some finger-dancing gypsy jazz from Django Reinhardt, and fancy-free compositions by Cole Porter. If you have a record player, even better!

Appetizers

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms

This light, chewy appetizer goes swimmingly with your outdoor party, prepping the guests for their main course.

Get the recipe >>

Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes

Stuffed cherry tomatoes

Time seems to slip away when preparing for any party. You can make these in advance and still have time to break out the tablecloths.

Get the recipe >>

Main course

Brie and smoked turkey panini

Sandwiches can be a staple for any get-together. They can be overly simple and overrated at a get-together, but this easy-to-do recipe gives your guests the opportunity to enjoy the creamy brie and the hot turkey, both filling them up and giving them the opportunity to mingle.

Get the recipe >>

Brie and Smoked Turkey Panini

Dessert

Every party needs something sweet to top off the day's festivities.

Fruit and Yogurt Almond Tart

Fruit and yogurt almond tart

Cookies are boring. Anyone can go pick up a roll of cookie dough and toss it in the oven. Get creative with this colorful, creamy dessert.

Get the recipe >>

English Trifle

English trifle

This tower of tasty goodness gives you the option to create your own dessert. Set out a small table with all the ingredients and choices your guests can use to get imaginative.

Get the recipe >>

The drink

Mint julep

Just like in the book, the mint julep is the quintessential thirst quencher for any warm weather party. The breezy fresh drink will add a sugary zing to your already sweet day.

Get the recipe >>

More entertaining ideas

How to prepare for summer entertaining
Top 10 Summer entertaining necessities
Giada dishes her best summer entertaining recipes & tips

Mint Julep

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