Western party theme - thumbnail image

For Father's Day, my sister and I decided to throw a party for our Dad.
He is a big fan of westerns, so Jane and I decided a western theme would be perfect.

Jane has always been the creative one so she made invitations on parchment coloured paper and hand wrote the wording in beautiful calligraphic letters. They looked like they were right out of the Old West. The invitations were sent to members of our family and a few of Dad's friends. Inside was information about the location, date, time and theme of the party. We informed our Dad that we were having a party, but we didn't tell him the theme or that the entire family and some of his friends would be there. He and Mum went out for breakfast while we set everything up.

We decorated the lounge like an old west saloon. We rented everything we needed from a movie prop house. There was a wood bar, tables and chairs, big mirrors, various kinds of tack, tilley lamps, western signs, s wooden barrels, sacks and a cartwheel. We even had a replica of a 1897 'self playing piano' and a bunch of scrolls of Scott Joplin tunes. This really lent an air of authenticity. The caterers we hired even had the waiter dress as an Old West bartender and the waitress came as a saloon girl.

Most of the guests had arrived when Mum and Dad showed up. Dad couldn't stop smiling when he saw the way we had transformed the house. He told us he felt like he had walked into old-time saloon.

Dad and the guests picked out Old West outfits from the selection the costumer had brought and a make-up artist applied the finishing touches of makeup and fake moustaches. I chose to be a cowboy while Jane was a saloon girl. Dad looked great in a replica of Clint Eastwood's outfit from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". He slipped right into the role once the boots with the jingling spurs were on his feet. He was smiling from ear to ear, especially when I presented him with a cigar to chew on.

Once the guests were in costume they went into the lounge and began ordering food from the saloon menu. There was a selection of fried chicken, barbecued ribs, beans, corn bread and pan fried potatoes. For dessert there was apple or cherry pie and to drink there was real sarsaparilla, lemonade and of course beer and whiskey. The food was served on tin plates and the drinks in heavy glass mugs or shot glasses.

After lunch a hired card dealer started a poker game at one of the tables. I took some great video of dad and the other guests getting into their Old West roles. Dad has the best poker face on the planet. He won almost every hand by bluffing and tough talk.

A photographer came in and took posed shots next to the bar. The photographer brought props to enhance our costumes like, rifles, bandoliers, guns and gun belts, Civil War caps and wigs as well as fans and feather boas for the ladies. Everyone had a great time posing for pictures as their Old West persona. The photos were taken in black and white then a brownish tint was added to making them look like old tin types. Dad, Jane and I posed together for a portrait.

The guests played cards or danced all evening. Everyone had such a good time they didn't want the party to end, especially dad so everyone stayed until nearly 1am! It was definitely a Father's Day to remember.

A week later Dad got the picture of the three of us back from the photographer. It came out so good Mum framed it and it is hanging above the fireplace.