Did you or your fiance read a lot of Nancy Drew books when you were younger? Maybe you always wanted to play Clue during family game night. Perhaps you’ve watched “Murder on the Orient Express” and “Death on the Nile” (the originals and the remakes) more times than you can count. If so, you probably enjoy a good mystery and love the style and elegance of the 1920s.
Why not combine your two passions and host a 1920s Murder Mystery Wedding Reception? This era was famous for its speakeasies and jazz clubs, so your guests will have a blast dressing up in flapper dresses and zoot suits and partying the night away. It also pairs well with Hollywood or 1920s inspired wedding ceremonies.
Here is everything you need for an evening of fashion, intrigue, and love.
You have plenty of options when deciding the type of 1920s mystery you and your wedding guests will enjoy. Step into a prohibition speakeasy and solve the homicide of a flapper, or you can mingle with gangsters while trying to determine who killed a “Mob Moll,” or sip a martini and admire the glow from 36 inch sparklers at The Great Gatsby on the night that the North Side and South Side mob bosses sit down to meet.
You can determine the number of guests to invite, whether you want a mixed group or just a night with the girls, and you can have a PG reception or something a little racier. Game kits come with complete instructions for the host, character cards, and invitations.
Easily set up your space to give it that 1920s speakeasy vibe. Drape small round tables with white, gold, and black tablecloths. Set up seating for four to six people. Centerpieces could be ostrich feathers, a long strand of pearls, or playing cards and poker chips.
Keep your lights dim (red lamp shades make for a fascinating look). Print vintage pictures from the internet and put them in gold frames around the room. Pick up some velvet throw pillows to give your furniture a glam feel.
Serve light finger foods, such as mini quiches, shrimp cocktail, cheese and crackers, barbeque meatballs, and cream cheese pinwheels. Since you will want people to mingle, avoid a large sit-down meal. Appetizers allow them to move freely around the room while asking questions and trying to solve the mystery.
A cocktail shaker and vintage cocktail glasses add to the festivities. Have the ingredients for old fashioneds, sidecars, or martinis, but also have a theme drink, such as “bathtub gin” (without the wood alcohol) and be sure to have non-alcoholic options available.
Jazz music should be playing lightly in the background. The sounds of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll Morton, and Josephine Baker provide the perfect musical score to transport you back to the bootlegging days of prohibition.
Of course, you’ll need the perfect exit as your murder mystery reception comes to an end. Hand out sparklers for wedding send off to each of your guests to light as you and your spouse depart for your honeymoon.
The best part about a 1920s murder mystery reception is the clothes you can wear. You can wear a dress that shimmies around the knees while you do the Charleston with your beaded headband and a long strand of pearls.
Or, go with the elegance of the Long Island elite who danced in Jay Gatsby’s ballroom. Full-length gowns, beaded purses, and antique rings complete the Jazz Age look.
Men can wear a pinstripe suit or a vest with a bow tie. A man never leaves home without a hat, so your male guests will want to top off their look with a newsboy cap, a fedora, a bowler, or a Panama hat.
The Big Night
When your guests arrive, be sure to greet them by their character’s name. Allow everyone enough time to get comfortable in their roles and backstories before starting the mystery. Before long, your guests will be fully involved in trying to discover which of their fellow partygoers is a murderer.
Have you ever thrown or attended a murder mystery reception? If not, they are definitely worth checking out! They are a great way to get together with friends and family, have fun, and test your sleuthing skills. Who knows – maybe you’ll even solve the crime in the process!
So, if you’re looking for a unique reception idea that will entertain your guests from beginning to end, consider throwing a 1920s murder mystery event.
Have you ever hosted a murder mystery reception? How did it go?