• Epic Celebrity Parties to Inspire Your Own


From costume balls to champagne soirées, here’s how to mimic some of history’s greatest parties.

With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to start planning a party for your friends and family. Whether you envision a sit-down Thanksgiving feast with your loved ones or an all-out New Year’s Eve ball, the following historic celebrity parties are sure to give you some inspiration for your own.

Black and White Party

Just after Thanksgiving in 1966, novelist Truman Capote threw a party to celebrate The Washington Post editor Katharine Graham. Held at the Plaza’s Grand Ballroom in New York City, the soirée has since been called “the party of the century.” Just 540 lucky guests were on the invite list. If you want to make some similar magic of your own, consider taking a cue from the dress code (gentlemen in black tie, black mask; ladies in black or white dress, white mask, and holding a fan), keep the champagne flowing, and dance all night long. 

Circus-Themed Birthday Party at Hearst Castle


When newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst turned 75, he threw an epic circus-themed celebration for 2,000 of his nearest and dearest friends — including Bette Davis (who dressed as a bearded woman), Clark Gable, and Gloria Swanson — at Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. One of the night’s biggest hits was a merry-go-round. To find room for the full-size carnival attraction, Hearst tore down a wall and then had it rebuilt after the party. Though tearing down part of your home is not recommended, you can still throw a similar party by encouraging guests to dress the part, renting carnival games, and serving hot dogs, funnel cakes, and other circus-style fare.

The Bradley-Martin Ball

In 1897, Cornelia Bradley-Martin (the wife of American socialite Bradley Martin) threw a party at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City with the goal of hosting the greatest soirée the city had ever seen. The inside of the Waldorf was transformed to resemble the Palace of Versailles, and the itinerary mimicked the proceedings of a party in a French court. Mrs. Bradley-Martin spent around $400,000 on the lavish evening, which translates to more than $9 million today. If you want to throw a similarly themed party, it’s a good idea to work with a party planner and designer who can transform part of your home into a palace (and don’t forget to book a chef to serve up some fine French food). 

Image from Wikipedia

Dinner Party at the Villa America

The dinner party in author F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1936 novel Tender Is the Night was reportedly based on one that took place on the French Riviera. The party, hosted by expats Gerald and Sara Murphy, was thrown to celebrate the Les Noces ballet premiere. Around 40 guests sipped cocktails on the upper deck, enjoyed an hours-long champagne dinner, and listened to live piano music. If you want to throw your own variation of the party, we’d encourage you to require 1920s-themed attire, serve a mouthwatering holiday meal, and “regal” the attendees with Christmas carols and other live music.

Times Square Ball Drop

In 1907, a ball was first dropped in New York City’s Time Square on New Year’s Eve. The annual event draws thousands of raucous attendees eager to welcome in the New Year. You can host an equally grand New Year’s Eve celebration in your own home by using a sparkling ball and clocks as decoration, serving a sit-down dinner complete with champagne, and counting down to the New Year with your closest friends.

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