Plan a Retro Corporate Party

Edited by Nerissa Avisado, Lynn, Eng

Retro. That oft-repeated word is thrown around in today's scene without everyone really understanding what it means. It's time to let your office mates know what the word is all about when you plan a retro corporate party. Harken back to the bygone eras, rich in traditions and memories, while everyone is in polka dots and polyester. Let everyone experience a party reminiscent of the past that seems to have more entertaining elements than what we have in the present. Dress up the way your grandparents did, and have fun reliving ancient history, as everyone enjoys good old-fashioned food and drinks. It's the perfect party to rock!

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The first thing to do, after deciding to use retro as a theme for your corporate party, is to have a working knowledge of what the word means. Retro is a Latin prefix, which means "backwards or in the past," as implied in its usage in the words retrograde and retrospective. Both words refer to the past. Retro became more notable in the postwar period, and soon it was being applied to nostalgic French fashions that became popular in the past. Shortly afterwards, retro became a statement in English society when a rather cynical revival of older, but considerably more recent fashions were introduced.

Today, retro is a term that is used in modern culture as a reference to anything that is consciously derived or imitates anything ranging from fashions to trends and attitudes that permeated between the 1940s and the 1980s. It became more successful as items were recreated through fashion, by reviving clothing styles worn in those eras, and pairing them with current clothing to exaggerate the big comeback. Retro articles are generally vintage items that are at least 15-20 years old, and are still in well-preserved condition. However, older articles of clothing can also be worn at a retro party.

So take off that corporate outfit to wear your archaic ensemble and try to relive the golden memories of the past in your retro corporate party.

Guide on How to Plan a Retro Corporate Party

  1. 1
    Choose an era
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    It may sound basic, but many party planners are inclined to ignore the importance of picking a particular era. Do some research to impress people that you know what was prevalent during the time you picked. If you want the party to be glamorous, consider the '20s and the '30s. If you want to go hip, resurrect everything from the '60s and the '70s. Don't confuse guests by throwing a rock n' roll '50s party filled with disco features of the '80s.
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  2. 2
    Serve the right food
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    Lining up the table with the right menu is a challenge that many planners fall short in implementing because they think that retro parties are more about wearing the appropriate costumes. It is important to match the theme with the right food. Each era boasts its own food trend that is not common in other generations. The '50s had barbecues, the '60s dished out French food, and the '70s loved fondue. While you can serve other interesting recipes, don't miss out on food items that were popular during the specific era.
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  3. 3
    Toast with retro cocktails
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    Like food, the drinks must also be appropriate to the era you're celebrating. Amaze the crowd with a selection of thirst-quenchers that your ancestors used to gulp down in their prime. You may also offer a free shot of rare booze. After all it's on the company's budget.
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  4. 4
    Relive the era
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    It's easy to reprint headlines or articles that made it big during the era deal and post them on the walls of the party venue. Still, you can do even better than that. Instead, complete the theme package by focusing on the dominant mood of the time, including the appropriate music and matching party decor. People in those times also loved to party, so find out what made their gigs groovy. Instead of just planning for an 80's disco extravaganza, think of taking the party to another level by installing flashing mirrored balls to illuminate the dance floor with funky lights. Don't just create a '40s party - celebrate the end of the war by having a blitz of swing music and British ale.
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  5. 5
    Dress up to the occasion
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    Apart from Halloween, a retro party is another opportunity to doll up in fashion trends of the past. There's no excuse for coming to the party without a costume. It will be pointless to have retro for a theme if people will not be dressed for it. In fact, it can be fairly easy to find vintage wear, especially if you have fashionable grandparents. You may also try rummaging through racks of second hand stores where you can get rare finds to qualify you for the Best Costume award.
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Party Ideas from Over the Ages

  1. 1
    Roaring Twenties (1920s)
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    It was a decade of great social upheaval, but mostly a time of celebration. To recreate the high end style of this era, you need to set up the following:
    1. Decorations: The venue can be dressed up as an elegant New York club, or be in the atmosphere of a speakeasy, where guests need to speak in a low voice through a small hole to gain entrance.
    2. Costume: Women can wear loose dresses with receding hemlines and short hair, while men can come in comfortable ensembles of sweaters and shorts. Don't forget the fedoras and top hats to complete the outfit.
    3. Music: It's a choice between a big band playing Louie Armstrong hits, or compilation of iTunes of songs popularized by Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey.
    4. Food and Drinks: Tea sandwiches, pineapple upside down cake, deviled eggs, lemonade, orange pekoe tea, and Chinese food.
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  2. 2
    Swingtime 1930s and 1940s
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    The two decades are years of the Great Depression and the Second World War. OF course, people still knew how to party, and what a party they had! After all the hardships they've been through, they had all the excuses they needed to party wild. Bring back those scenes in your own '30s and '40s themed party.  
    1. Decorations: Set up an awesome, vintage Hawaiian luau party in the middle of a tropical village with tiki poles and huts. Surround the area with lanterns, garlands, and leis. If there are more singles than couples, you can fashion the place as a military barracks or camp in tribute to the brave men during the war.
    2. Costume: Come in Hawaiian get-ups, or in military uniform. Ladies can don sexy vintage lingerie and curly hairstyles.
    3. Music: Play old favorites from the chosen decades and start dancing the boogie woogie, jazz, and be-bop.
    4. Food and Drinks: Lay out in the table the following choices of appetizers: Endive salad, clam chowder, canapés, stuffed olives, deep dish apple pie, oatmeal cookies, gin martinis, and sloe gin fizz.
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  3. 3
    Rock 'n Roll 1950s
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    The era was described as a postwar boom in both economy and population. A record number of babies were born during this golden decade of pop culture. Your 1950s themed party will come to life if you can assemble these elements.  
    1. Decorations: A soda fountain makes the perfect backdrop for your 1950s themed party. Lay black and white checkered covering for the floor, and rent chrome seats with pastel green or pink upholstery. A vintage jukebox will be a great addition to a room full of '50s memorabilia, such as fuzzy dice and lawn flamingos.
    2. Costume: Women can wear tailored dresses with pencil skirts and halter-necked tops, or fashionable maternity wear that became "in" due to the baby boom factor. Men can emulate the iconic get-ups of the king of Rock n' Roll himself, Elvis Presley, by wearing tight trousers, leather jackets, and making their hair slick with tubs of gel.
    3. Music: Fill the air with songs popularized by Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, The Platters, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald.
    4. Food and Drinks: Satisfy the palate with French fries, pretzels, chicken barbecue, hamburgers, grilled cheese, apple pie, root beer floats, ice cream sundaes, soda pop, lemonade, and malted milk.
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  4. 4
    The Sixties
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    This was the cultural and romantic decade of great music, radicalism, and flower power. The era also refers to counterculture and defiance to social norms and institutions, a decade of excess and flamboyance. Your 1960s themed party may be planned to include the following:
    1. Decorations: Match the decors with the tie dye outfit of the guests. Fill the space with big sunflowers, neon smileys, peace banners, and flower power signs.
    2. Costume: The trends were generally unisex, so both men and women can come wearing the same tie-dyed shirt over bell bottomed trousers. Accessorize with John Lennon style eyeglasses, and a peace sign necklace.
    3. Music: It's not difficult to find vintage '60s music because they still live on today. The biggest names are the Beatles, David Bowie, and Motown artists such as The Temptations and The Kingsmen.
    4. Food and Drinks: Feed your hippie guests with Michigan macaroni and cheese, pot roast, chicken vermouth with broccoli, wilted spinach salad, sherry cherry jello, hot fudge cream puff sundae, Boston cooler, and party punch.
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  5. 5
    Stellar 1970s
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    A decade of tumult, 1970 is described as a pivot for change. It was the time of technological innovations from floppy disks to VCR, Sony Walkman, Microsoft, and the first test-tube baby. The first sci-fi fantasy movie Star Wars became a blockbuster. These are only few to inspire your 1970s themed retro party.  
    1. Decorations: Hang beaded curtains and that glimmering disco ball in the center of the dance floor.
    2. Costume: Men will look dashing in disco ensemble of three piece suits popularized by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, while women can wear flared trousers and tube tops. Get the most outrageous pair of platform heeled shoes to become the party rage.
    3. Music: Own the dance floor as you groove to the tunes of The Jackson Five, Bee Gees, Abba, Queen, LED Zeppelin, and The Rolling Stones.
    4. Food and Drinks: Food ideas include meatballs, stuffed celery, salad bar, fettucine Alfredo, salmon loaf, quiche Lorraine, carrot cake, mixed fruit fondue, fruit punch, bloody Mary, and champagne punch.
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  6. 6
    Punky 1980s
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    The decade is best remembered for Pacman, Rubik's cube, MTV, and MASH. If you decide to have a 1980s-themed retro party, consider the following set up:
    1. Decorations: Fill the venue with bursts of colors and patterns that are typically '80s - metallic black, polka dots, bright neon colors, and animal prints.
    2. Costume: A lot of clothing articles are inspired by MTV artists like Madonna and Michael Jackson. Women can come in miniskirts, tops with shoulder pads, and big hair. Men can be comfortably dressed in Hawaiian motif shirts.
    3. Music: Aside from Madonna and Michael Jackson, you can also include in your playlist songs by Cyndi Lauper, Debbi Gibson, Whitney Houston, Duran Duran, Chicago, and Tears for Fears.
    4. Food and Drinks: Refill the plates with servings of spinach and bread dip, tri-color pasta, steak sandwiches, rice krispies, and orange Julius.
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Tips, Tricks and Warnings

  • Set up a photo booth in one corner of the venue to allow guests to have their photos taken, showing them in their own choreographed poses.
  • Plan an awards ceremony to give out prizes in several categories, such as Best in Costume, Most Vintage Look, and Most Creative titles.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


Article Info

Categories : Entertainment

Recent edits by: Lynn, Nerissa Avisado

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