Inspiration: The Over-the-Top Roaring 20’s Soiree

Every once in awhile the dream planning job comes up and allows me to use all my creative energy for one amazing event. This scenario happened recently when I was hired to plan an end-of-the-year party for a corporation. They gave me the theme (Roaring 20’s & Gatsby-inspired), the date, and a budget, and let me run with it. And boy, did I. Below are the images from the event by the ever so talented, Brooke Merrill Photography. Here is my recount of the fabulous soiree, act by act.


The evening opened on the terrace of the gorgeous Bacara Resort & Spa. Everyone was asked to come in costume, and they did not disappoint. Virtually all men & women showed up in their 20’s finest. Upon arrival, guests were greeted by vintage paparazzi, newsboys, and a lovely jazz trio. A massive and delicious cheese display was accompanied by 20’s inspired cocktails and bite-sized appetizers. Scantilly clad cigarette girls held guests’ “money bags,” chocolate cigars and long strands of pearls.






Doors opened and party-goers entered a crystal chandelier and candle-lit ballroom which was dressed in black. The tables were adorned with huge ostrich feather centerpieces and mercury glass votives. Massive, snowy white balloons flanked the stage with gold ribbons streaming to the floor. Music from the 11-piece band radiated through the room bringing everyone back to the time of prohibition. After a short welcome toast, guests were served a delicious dinner.





Bling Divas Entertainment provided the room with a fabulous dance number which captivated everyone (see my short video at the end). After a fun costume contest, the room suddenly went dark and we heard, “NOBODY MOVE, THIS IS A RAID!” through a bullhorn. The police had a arrived and proceed to extort the the company’s VIPs out of cash and patents. The professional actors I hired to be prohibition-era cops completely got into their characters and the audience loved every minute of the act.




As the corrupt cops accepted the bribe, the long black drapes in the rear of the room opened to reveal a secret entry to “Klub Karl.” The dark club was filled with vintage trunks of prohibition “hooch,” stylish black & white lounge furniture, amber-colored mood lighting, and a crazy-cool, lit-up, marquee sign on a black brick wall. The DJ spun re-mixed 20’s music with modern beats while the Bling Divas gave us, yet another fabulous show. Guests danced, gambled at the craps & roulette tables, and took “Juice Joint” mug shots in the photo booth. The night would not have been complete without a sweet treat, so we erected an old fashioned soda fountain which served up Black Cow and Orange Cream period-style ice cream floats. Oh, and if ice cream wasn’t your thing? The terrace was converted to an outdoor lounge complete with Charlie Chaplin silent movies on a big screen, cozy fire pits, and s’mores makings.






Hearing guests tell me that this was the best party they’d ever been to was music to my ears and part of what makes my job so satisfying. After months of planning, a 2-day installation, and a very long event day, I went to bed exhausted, but thrilled with the triumph of the evening. Special thanks to Michelle, Tami and Tanya for hiring me, and to all the vendors and crew members who made the evening a smashing success.

Here is a fun (albeit a bit blurry and shaky!) iPhone video of the Bling Divas performing during dinner.


Here are a few pics that I took on my iPhone during the installation and the event. It’s exciting to see a huge empty ballroom be totally transformed into my vision. Ahhh….felt so good to take off my shoes at the end of the night.


Clockwise from top left: (1) installation day! (2) scissor lift is in action for draping & lighting (3) “before” pic (4) hair is done and now ready for makeup (5) yours truly in the ballroom before guests arrive  (6) the Bling Divas along with my assistant, Danette on the floor (7) those 3-foot balloons were so cool! (8) me and Lindsey, Event Manager for the Bacara doing a final check of the tables (9) Photo booth strip with me and Danette (10) DJ Nahchey doing his thing (11) end of the night (12) my cute gold shoes from Victoria Vogue (Center) “Klub Karl” in action.


Here is a list of the fabulous vendors who helped to make this possible:

Venue & Catering: Bacara Resort & Spa

Rentals: Town & Country

Florist: Ella & Louie

Photography: Brooke Merrill Photography

Lighting: Ambient Event Design

Jazz Trio & Band: Ojai Music Service & The Hot Palace Society

DJ: Dash Entertainment

Performers, Dancers & Actors: Bling Divas Entertainment

Draping: BAM

Photo Booth & Props: Capital Photo Booth

Linen & Pillows: La Tavola

Balloons: Balloons by Chris

Casino Tables: Aces & Eights

Place Cards: Paper Ink

Straws & Drink Tickets: Paper Source

Invitations: Zazzle

Money Bags: Etsy

>Dina’s Attire: Victorian Vogue

Dina’s Hair & Makeup: Lacey Maxwell

Dina’s Assistant: Danette Estrella