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Impress your guests with these retro dinner party ideas

When hosting a dinner party, the table settings used, the food served and the drinks sipped are the three most important things for a host to consider. They can either make or break a theme, so each feature must work well with the others. This month, we’re taking a look at some of the best retro dinner party ideas to help you put on a killer night.

Retro table settings

For a dinner party to feel retro, it has to look the part! And when we say retro, most people will immediately think of bright colours (orange, yellow, brown and blue) and repetitive patterns.

We recommend that for 1960s or 1970s themed parties, you opt for art deco decanter sets and stonewashed napkins. Decanters, in particular, are an ideal choice as they were very popular in these time periods. Used mainly by wine drinkers, these decanters often had prints featuring the logos and motifs of popular brands at the time. Today, some decanters have even been commercialised for the holidays, making them the perfect addition to retro Christmas dinner parties.


For something a little different, why not use checkered fringe table cloths and vinyl records as placemats? Pop art was a huge craze in the ’60s and ’70s too, so rather than using place names, create pop art portraits of each guest to indicate where you want them to sit.

Retro party food

The most important part of any dinner party is, of course, the food. And popular ‘retro’ dishes include things like curried eggs, cob loaf, vol au vents, shrimp cocktail and rich beef wellington – most of the dishes of the era were informal and shareable.

If none of your guests were born in the ’60s or ’70s, you want to make sure they get a taste of what it was really like, and these dishes are the best way to do that.

The simpler the food is, the easier the conversation will be, too. Many of these dishes are items that you can’t buy off the shelf, so you want to be able to tell your guests exactly what they’re eating and the inspiration behind it.

Retro cocktails

The other important part of a dinner party is the drink being served. And let’s be honest, you can’t go wrong with cocktails! After you’ve served the food, it’s time to treat your guests to some classic drinks of the era too. Think Martinis, Manhattans, Tom Collins’ and Old Fashioneds.


Cocktails such as this often bring a light-hearted atmosphere to a dinner party, with guests oohing and ahhing over what’s to come next. Cocktails also allow for a touch of theatricality. With a retro cocktail shaker and cocktail cups, hosts can dazzle their guests by making the cocktails themselves!

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