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June 2005

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Affairs to Remember - Art Deco Decadence
Written By: 
Sarah Moïse Young
Photographs By: 
Tara Lowry & Rick Mckee

Sophisticated 1920s sit-down dinner.


“Brides should remember that it’s the little things that matter,” says Tara Guerard, owner of Soirée, whose attention to the details of this “Roaring ’20s”-themed party made the event unforgettable in its reflection of the pure decadence and elegance of that era.

SETTING
With a little research—ranging from patterns in clothing to various musical styles—she found popular aspects of the period that she could replicate for a flamboyant bride. “There was a lot of money flying around in the ’20s,” says Guerard. “Think fur, champagne, diamonds, martinis, and cigars.” She advises that the location, whether a hall or a restaurant’s private room, should have clean lines.

Invitations
“I discovered this retro-looking black-and-white paper in New York. We made the envelopes by hand and lined them in the paper and matched the calligraphy on the invitations with ice-blue ink on black cards,” says Guerard.

DECOR
Guerard used four-by-four square tables and covered them in blue satin with faux-fur trim. “Large round tables don’t allow guests seated at opposite sides to talk because they’re five feet away, but the eight-person squares lend themselves to intimate conversation.” For an out-of-the-ordinary party favor, she had the décor serve double duty: Chair covers sewn with blue satin on one side and faux fur on the other became elegant wraps for skimpy flapper dresses. “The wraps were my favorite part of this event,” says Guerard. Male guests were presented with complementary rhinestone lapel pins for boutonnières.

Retro chandeliers create a glamorous effect over the dinner tables. “Brides can rent lighting from antiques stores and dealers for a fraction of the cost,” says Guerard. “And remember, there is no rule that says everything has to match—mismatched items, from candelabra to stemware, can be fun and eclectic.”
food

A served dinner may be more expensive, but it adds to the sophistication. Chef James Burns of J. Bistro chose a lavish menu of a cold-poached Maine lobster tail appetizer followed by roasted rack of lamb on a napoleon of goat-cheese whipped potatoes with lavender and honey glacé. For the post-dinner festivities, Guerard set up a speakeasy lounge with a black-and-white dance floor and a brassy jazz band and served signature blue martinis.

DETAILS
“Details make an event, no matter how much you spend. Whether you’re buying $10- or $1-cigars, hand-wrapping them in retro paper makes them chic and memorable,” says Guerard. For special accessories, keep in mind that some stores will rent furniture or decorative pieces at a percentage of the sale price, so if you see something you think is perfect, just ask.

RESOURCES
Chef James Burns of J. Bistro Catering
Individual cakes by Luke Wilson
Glassware from ESD
Furniture from dwelling




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