Themes for a Debut Party

by Christine Bartsch

Flapper fun at a Roaring Twenties-themed debut party.

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Across centuries and throughout cultures, debut parties have celebrated a young lady’s entry into society or heralded her maturing from a girl into a woman. Whether marked with a Quinceanera, a Bat Mitzvah or a debutante ball, a cleverly-themed debut party expresses the guest of honor’s individual style and personality.

Classic High Society

Traditional girls can follow in the footsteps of Manhattan’s Social Register debutantes or the social season of Victorian London with a celebration steeped in formality. Long, full ball gowns in white with elbow-length gloves are a must for the debutante, however she can request that guests select dresses in any color but white or cream in order to stand out. Serve a multi-course formal dinner, complete with a toast to the guest of honor. Splurge on fancy place settings, expensive table linens and embellished candelabras for centerpieces. Stick with classic floral arrangements, such as elaborate rose bouquets on pedestals scattered around the event location. For entertainment, hire a small string or wind ensemble to play classical music for guests to waltz to.

Decadent Roaring Twenties

Recreate the decade when women first flaunted their social freedoms with a flapper-inspired, Roaring Twenties debut party. Send out invitations with the request that guests come in costume, such as fringed chemise dresses and zoot suits. Be sure to include a vintage secret password, such as “Tell ‘em Joe sent me,” for guests to give the bouncer at the entrance, just like they did at speakeasies during prohibition. Pass out hip flasks engraved with the event details and filled with fancy liqueurs as party favors for revelers over the legal drinking age. For the younger set, stash hidden treats, such as a chocolate fountain or a bar mixing non-alcoholic concoctions, in obscured corners for them to discover.

Velvet Fluorescence Dance Party

Add retro black-light paintings to an event with a wild rave style for a fluorescent velvet dance party. Hit up flea markets for tacky classic black velvet paintings that glow under black-lights to suspend around the dance floor, or create your own on velveteen painted with glow-in-the dark paints. Hire a DJ with lighting experience to play a dance mix that incorporates a light show which alternates the black-lights with strobe lights throughout the night. For centerpieces, surround lava lamps with disco balls that reflect the strobes and white marbles that will shine brilliantly against dark, velvet tablecloths under the black-lights. For further entertainment, hang around chalkboards for guests to doodle on with chalk that changes color under black-lights.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

About the Author

A former art instructor, high school counselor and party planner, Christine Bartsch writes fashion, travel, interior design, education and entertainment content. Bartsch earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in communications/psychology/fine arts from Wisconsin Lutheran College and a creative writing Master of Fine Arts from Spalding University. She's written scripts for film/television productions and worked as the senior writer at a video game company.