According to polling, 29 percent of party attendees claim they are drawn to show up due to a unique event or theme. If you are planning a party, you likely already have an event in mind, though there might be a few avenues of inspiration you might not have considered. And with the pandemic on the decline, why not re-gather your friends and family in style?
Obviously, anyone who has ever planned a party wants it to be an event to remember, and we need only look to history to see how that has always rung true. After all, it is no small thing to throw a party that is literally historic. Here is a list of ten of the greatest parties throughout history to help give you some extra inspiration (don’t feel compelled to compete!)
1. King Henry VIII and Francis I’s Field of the Cloth of Gold
After King Henry VIII and King Francis I’s alliance, the resulting party was a seventeen-day display of one-upmanship. Tents and costumes were woven with gold, and there were fountains of wine, day-long feasts, jousting, archery, and even dancing monkeys, all in increasingly competitive numbers. In the end, the riches and showmanship did not “class up” the event too much, as it culminated in Henry and Francis literally wrestling one another (Spoiler alert: Henry lost and was afterward quite upset).
2. Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball
After his classic In Cold Blood release, author Truman Capote threw himself a party at New York’s Plaza hotel that took him an entire summer to plan. Though the guest list was highly exclusive, 540 A-list stars and elites, all in attendance, wore masks. Once inside, the likes of Frank Sinatra, Mia Farrow, Lauren Bacall, and Andy Warhol could all kick back and lounge comfortably.
3. Andrew Jackson’s Cheese Party
As far as parties with politicians go, president Andrew Jackson was a difficult act to top. Toward the end of his second term, he was gifted a 1,400-pound wheel of cheese, a delicacy he had to invite 10,000 guests to help him with! It took two hours to finish, though the smell lingered for months.
4. Victory Day
Sometimes, all you need for a great party is one great reason to celebrate. After Germany surrendered to the Allied Powers at the end of WWII, people worldwide took to the streets for the merriment of all sorts. New York’s Times Square was crowded with dancing, parades, and fireworks, while Moscow took to the streets at 1 am while still in their pajamas!
5. Manchu-Han Imperial Feast
In 1636, the Kangxi Emperor of China celebrated his 66th birthday with one of the biggest feasts in recorded history. The banquet lasted three days, and party food and drinks were exotic delicacies like bear claws, shark fin soup, monkey brains, and many fine wines. Needless to say, if this is your kind of party, you might want to make sure you lock down some catering supplies!
6. Freddie Mercury’s Halloween: One of Rock n’ Roll’s Greatest Parties
On Halloween 1978, Freddie Mercury threw one of rock n’ roll’s most infamous parties of all time in New Orleans’ Fairmont Hotel. Sporting a “witchcraft theme,” the party featured snake-charmers, fire-breathers, mud-wrestlers, and many dancers. Champagne was served to all the guests, and the night eventually landed Mercury a party rental budget of $200,000.
7. The Rothschild Surrealist Ball
To even refer to The Rothschild Surrealist Ball as a costume party wouldn’t quite say it. In December 1972, Marie-Hélène de Rothschild turned her chateau into a reality-bending dreamworld of visual oddities. Exorbitantly costumed guests had to navigate a maze of cobwebs, servants were dressed as cats, and food was served on mannequin corpses and plates covered in fur.
8. Admiral Edward Russell’s Punch Party
As an act of protest toward his inability to return home to England, Admiral Edward Russell threw a party of ridiculous proportions in 1694. The party’s centerpiece was a garden fountain filled with four thousand liters of brandy punch. Bartenders even paddled around atop the punch in a small canoe to serve it to guests.
9. Bradley-Martin Ball
In 1897, wealthy New York socialite Cornelia Bradley-Martin organized a legendary costume ball to boost the city’s economy after a long depression. The inside of the Waldorf Hotel was decorated to look like Versailles, and hundreds of the world’s wealthiest arrived dressed as kings and queens. Guests danced with swords, an extravagant feast was served, and the party ended up costing $9.7 million (in modern dollars).
10. Opening Night of Les Noces
To ring in the opening night of Igor Stravinsky’s ballet Les Noces, a no-expense-spared party was thrown on a dining barge along the Seine in Paris. The guest list was a who’s who of the early twentieth century’s greatest artists, from Picasso to composer Darius Milhaud. Though some did feel a bit seasick, it was a luxurious night on the river that no one in attendance forgot.
Throw a Historical Party of Your Own!
Whether you aspire to history’s greatest parties or crave a blast from the past, a reliable party rental company is essential. None of these party planners made history by themselves, after all!
At Party Bowl Rental & Event Solutions, we offer a wide range of party equipment and accessories for all ranges of scale and budget. From furniture and dishware to lighting and flooring, we can bring your vision to life. Contact us today, and let us help you build a party for the books!