Hi everyone and welcome back! Can you believe it’s June?? I blinked and the month of May disappeared! Today I’m sharing with you the details from our recent 1960’s Mad Men inspired pool party. Once in your life I think you’ve just got to ask yourself “What would The Draper’s do?” and go for it!! We went a bit Mad, in the best possible way..come channel your favorite character from Sterling Cooper, grab a martini and join me!!!
Our dear friends were coming to stay with us from across the country and I wanted to do something special to celebrate!! I knew I wanted the celebration to be a pool party. I also knew I wanted the theme to be unique and easy! I started thinking about kids playing in the pool while adults sipped cocktails and I immediately thought of of the show Mad Men. My decision was to take inspiration from this time period and some of the details from the show-this would keep us from having to purchase specific Mad Men decorations and allow some creativity as the party came together.
Being a busy mom with kiddos wrapping up school for the year I honestly didn’t have a lot of time for planning this. So I focused on the overall picture of what I wanted to create, knowing that after months of not seeing these friends the fun would happen regardless. Let’s get into some more details of what I did to pull this event together without a ton of effort or time..this is important..it did not take much of either thing!!
When planning an event I always go onto Pinterest to get ideas, but there weren’t really any pool parties in this vein to get ideas from on the site. Perhaps I’m starting a new theme? That would kinda delight me!! Instead, I did find some photos of actual 60’s pool parties so I took inspiration from those. Think bright colors, Tiki decor, simple pool toys. I didn’t love the idea of tiki decor, mostly because I wanted decor I could use for a future events (Yes, I know there will be future events, we like to entertain), but I did love the colors (Bright yellow, red, blue and green) and simplicity of the other ideas.
Once the theme was set, I began to search for decor we already had that would fit into this theme. Buckets, trays, glasses, simple silver picture frames, etc. You should always try to shop your home first in my humble opinion!!
Up next, the age old question we women always ask ourselves -What am I going to wear?? Luckily my friend, Kelly Cochrane represents Bella Azzurra (a clothing line that comes from South Africa) and I had recently just purchased this halter dress from her. I love the fun pattern and it played into a casual party but was still festive. It is also very comfortable and the fabric feels amazing! I added the website below, you should absolutely check it out and talk to Kelly if you’re in the market (what gal isn’t?) for a new statement piece in striking colors. Reminder- I wasn’t looking to copy the fashion from the show, just take inspiration from it, and why not pull out a fabulous new dress for the occasion??
Next, I went onto AMC’s website and they had these fun, free printable Mad Men masks available to print off. The link is below. I just printed them, cut them out and used scotch tape to attach craft sticks to each one. We had WAY too much fun with these! (I’ve pretty firmly decided I’m a Joan).
I focused on finger food and appetizers, treats and of course the DRINKS! You can’t think about Mad Men without feeling incredibly thirsty! I decided to set up two areas for drinks-our wet bar area in the living room, which has a handy pass thru window to our lanai and an another drink area in the kitchen for anyone hanging out inside. Our signature drinks were the “Betty Draper”- a mimosa made with pineapple juice and the “Don Draper”-an Old Fashioned (which also happens to be a favorite of my husband’s).
We have a stocked mini fridge outside next to our pool but in addition I also wanted all the kids to have a special drink too! So, I bought a big ol’ box of Hugs fruit juice barrels in fun colors that I usually say no to when my kids ask me to buy them as a treat drink for them. For the the other food I kept it simple. A salad, cheese and crackers, a veggie tray, chips and dip, fruit, nuts, lots of olives and individual shrimp cocktails. This HUGE martini was actually just water and I added the olives on a barbecue skewer to make it look authentic. (It was also a fun prop to set the stage around the food).
I decided to limit the amount of desserts since the cocktail hour started between lunch and dinner. I chose ice pops (always a hit with kids) and pineapple upside down cake (made the day before). This kind of cake was very popular to serve at events in this period. I loved the idea to make the upside down cakes mini but alas, as I began to make them I realized my pineapple rings wouldn’t fit in the muffin pans as directed. I decided on the the spot to use a 9 inch round and a 5 inch round pan instead, I think they were still cute..and tasty! I used a recipe I found and everyone loved it! Here is the link:https://dolesunshine.com/Recipes/Pineapple-Upside-Down-Minis.
Just a bit of decorating to do, really easy decorating! The fireplace by the wet bar got a little makeover. I used frames we already had and framed Mad Men pictures, quotes and a few 60’s pool photos. I found all these just by googling Mad Men and printing them on my printer. I also add a few martini shakers and a Happy Hour banner left over from my birthday party. I placed 2 of our ottomans under it with a couple of pillows stolen from our couch, a table from our guest room and some simple candle holders with tea light candles..and voila-a 60’s conversation area positioned near where our guests could easily refill their glasses.
The wet bar was dressed up with a few more Mad Men photos as well. I also added some fun drink umbrellas and straws. Lastly, I added some yellow drink ware-the glasses on the bottom we’ve had for years and the fun plastic ones on top were actually purchased originally to be used as beakers at my son’s science party (who loves a theme..guilty!). No stocking of the bar necessary..we use it regularly to entertain and it was all set for alcohol.
Onto the kitchen. I went simple with these fun plastic plates, solid yellow disposable napkins and mixed colored plastic cutlery in fun colors. I used plastic disposable drinking cups for the scrimp cocktail and other serving bowls and cake plates we already had, including the fun huge martini glasses we used! A few more frames-I love the dessert quote next to the dessert! I did spring for a new clear plastic wine bucket because I loved it and it was all of $3 on clearance at Home Goods for the mimosa drink station. I also added a garnish area with chopped pineapple (for the pineapple mimosas), cherries, some lemons, oranges and of course olives for those martinis. I found this cute Mad Men drink menu and a Betty Draper quote (which HAD to be by the “Betty Draper”) I set up next to all the garnishes.
Lastly, we go poolside. I brought out brightly colored towels from inside (a lot of our usual beach towels have cartoon characters not yet invented in the 60’s) and put them in a vintage wagon we already had (it was my brother’s 25 years ago but Radio Flyers are timeless). We had loads of pillows on the outdoor furniture, I just added even more from inside to enhance the over the top vibe.
A couple of more framed photos, but since kids would be hanging out primarily in this area I chose to frame only some more 60’s pool party photos (again I just googled). I bought the traditional striped beach balls below at the dollar store ($6 for 6) to float in the pool-both for the kids to play with and for decoration. The kids snack station was set up casually on a big outdoor ottoman (in non breakable plastic bowls). The swimming pool chip & dip bowl was a huge hit and a bit of a talking point for kids and adults alike!
I hope you enjoyed our 60’s pool party! This took very little effort and not a ton of time..SO many incredible memories made! We had so much fun at this event, getting to spend time with friends we don’t see enough was amazing! If you’re trying to think of an easy get together this weekend…may I suggest getting MAD?? Janet