Great Gatsby Wedding Inspiration

SWANK’S Great Gatsby-inspired wedding was an opulent and chic affair, pulling from the richest of source material, and seeking to bring to life the enchantment and wonder of a marvelous bygone era.

The Great Gatsby novel is sprawling and full of ornament and so too was the venue we chose!  Beautiful Hempstead House on Long Island  is a classic gold coast estate restored to its turn of the century glory.  It was the ideal blank canvas for SWANKs creativity to flow! (and we were fortunateas always  to have clients who trusted our design visions implicitly).  Our mission was to beautify and personlize the venue with chic period details and décor evoking the splendor of the roaring twenties but still keeping it modern and not theme(ie)

Invites went out with period art – Gibson girls in the ironic throes of the roaring twenties. On the big day, between ceremony and reception,  guests were greeted with julep-cupped period cocktails.  Lladies with ivory fans and cream-hued parasols strolled the grounds with gentlemen in top hats –all  functional props we provided to shade eyes from the low-angle sun, and  anchoring the period aesthetic.  With top hats tilted and fans a flutter, the guests were treated not only to an amazing array of food and beverage but also to lawn games – bacci ball, croquet, horseshoes and oversized lawn chess were enjoyed by all.

At the escort station, in keeping with the literary design, guests found their names in an antique librarian’s card- catalogue bureau, ensconced in blooms, and draped in flapper pearls. The dinner tables were each named for a character or chapter in the book, and the place settings and floral arrangements were all in lush striking colors of dark browns, deep purples, whites and reds.

I loved seeing the stone walls of one of my favorite venues so magically turn back into a Vanderbilt-esq time- if only for the day – it was a modern take on a twenties grand ballroom, lush with flowers, gleaming with crystal, and alive with the hum of revelers.

As always with all SWANK events…..the details made the day.

Are you planning a Gatsby style event?  We’d love to hear about it!

And if you want to see more of our creative process or the photos of this love story clink these links!


Maya Kalman, Event Design Expert & CEO of Swank Productions Maya Kalman is the Founder & CEO of SWANK Productions, a luxury wedding planning, event design and event production company in New York City. Known for her beyond-the-box designs and undying passion for creating extraordinary event experiences, Maya risen to become one of the most well known wedding and event planners in New York City. She has been a featured expert on TNT, NBC Today Show, MTV, Martha Stewart, Food Network, Geraldo Live and many more, and has planned and designed weddings, corporate events and parties for some of the top companies, brands and personalities around the world.
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10 Ways to WOW your Wedding Guests!

Yes, the cake, the gown, and the centerpieces are all important, but these 10 ideas are not only super-simple — they’re also guaranteed to make your wedding rave-worthy.

1. Create a Welcome Video

Most likely you won’t be able to greet all of your out-of-town guests when they arrive, so consider arranging a virtual welcome. Talk to your videographer about creating a brief video of the two of you welcoming them to your wedding location, and provide tips for things to do in the area along with what they can expect for the rest of the weekend (or simply create your own with a digital video camera!).2. Don’t Underestimate the Welcome Bag

Another easy way to impress? Give each guest a welcome bag. Fill an inexpensive basket or canvas tote with bottles of water, a bottle of wine or locally brewed beer, something salty, something sweet, and a piece of fruit. Don’t forget to include a welcome letter (or video) as well as a detailed itinerary for where the guest needs to be and when. Leave the whole thing with the hotel concierge for the guests to pick up when they check in. And be sure to provide them with maps and lists of local restaurants, museums, and other attractions in case they want to explore on their own.

3. Keep Them Entertained — Not Overwhelmed

You don’t want to stress your guests out with too many activities, but a few entertainment options before the wedding will really show them how much thought you put into their visit. Suggest group activities like area hikes or tours for your guests to mingle and get to know each other before the main event. Lay out planned weekend activities for guests in a timeline so that everyone is in-the-know.

4. Ditch the Boring Ceremony Aisle

It’s probably the one detail of wedding planning you forgot about, but it’s also one of the simplest to take to the next level. A creative DIY runner, rustic pew arrangements in Mason jars, or even a quirky patterned rug can all dress up a plain aisle — and make a major impact on your guests.

5. Make Inventive Escort Cards

The escort card display is the first thing your guests see when they walk into your reception — so make it good. Have your calligrapher write guests’ names on pretty vintage mirrors, print names on horse show ribbons, stick the cards in cupcakes, or attach each card to a tiny can of champagne with a note that reads, “Do not open until the wedding toast.”

6. Add Music to the Transitions

Hire a bagpiper, a drum line, a gong player, or even a strolling guitar player to lead guests from one space to the next. If you’re not set on an instrument, localize it: For a tropical setting, hire someone to blow a conch shell, or in the mountains, hire an alpine horn player to announce when it’s time to move.

7. Rethink Wedding Transportation

Okay, you’re probably not going to have a parade float, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be creative with your transportation. Your guests will gape when they walk out of your ceremony and see an awesome antique car or retro school bus waiting to pick you up! Or choose transportation that pays homage to your wedding venue, like a hayride for a country ranch wedding or even a Snowcat for a winter mountain reception.

8. Give Them A Say!

Use your RSVP cards or wedding website to let your guests have an opinion on something other than chicken or fish. Let them request a song, create Mad Lib-style return cards you can then display at the reception, or have them vote on the top-tier flavor of your wedding cake! Guests will love seeing the details that they helped choose come to life on the wedding day.

9. Serve Food You’d Want to Eat

Think about what foods make you happy — whether it be ice cream sandwiches, mac and cheese, watermelon, donuts, or tacos — and add them to the menu. One of our favorite new ideas: a potato chip bar complete with all the dips. Talk to your caterer about putting together a truly personalized (and delicious!) menu. Then watch your guests chow down.
10. Send Them Off with Breakfast 

Even if it’s not an all-out postwedding brunch, plan to give your guests a little goodbye breakfast the day after. Rent out the hotel conference room and talk to the staff about creating a breakfast buffet. Or simply arrange for bagels and coffee to be delivered to your guests’ hotel rooms before they depart.
– Justine Lorelle Blanchard – The Knot & News Channel5Special thanks to: Maya Kalman of Swank Productions in New York Cityand Kelly Karli of Frosted Pink Weddings in Colorado.