What Would Marie Do? (open to readers!) | Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: What Would Marie Do? (open to readers!)

August 18, 2009

What Would Marie Do? (open to readers!)

Dear Marie,

Because I am a huge fan of 18th century life at the court of France, I decided Versailles could make a good theme for my birthday party.

I will try to make it out as a kind of role play, and so I chose a historical character for each of my friends and wrote each a description they should follow. Some of my friends promised they would perform music and poetry from the 18th century and I am working on the menu. The costumes are a problem, since most of us are not so good at making dresses by ourselves, but we will figure something out. But what else could I do to bring all the wonders of the court of Versailles to my birthday party? Any ideas?

Please help me to organize a good party!
Thank you in advance,

What a fun event you have planned! I am opening this question up to all readers because everyone here is very creative and I just know will have some wonderful ideas to infuse this party with an 18th century vibe. Here are some breif ideas:

One thing to consider is atmosphere! Elegant candles are always a scene setter, just be sure that they are safely placed where they wont be disturbed. I am a fan of rooms with low lighting if the party is in the evening.

What is more proper than playing a game of chance or card game at a table of friends? Some 18th century games would be sure to get the party going! Perhaps you can set up something like cavagnole or faro. If you want a more modern game that is quirky try Guillotine.

Cake and drink
See if you can find some sparkling grape juice and those cute faux champagne glasses! You can set them up in a tower and pour the bubbly drinks all night! The tower of glasses will look very luxe and your guest will feel glamours sipping their drinks! And of course, fancy pastries. mmm.

If you cant manage to find or put together some simple big skirts, you can always pull things off with accessories and great hair! Tease your hair up and have your girl's do the same, maybe buy some Aqua-net for the occasion. Stick some feather plumes in it and maybe some ribbon. Pick up some cheap glitzy costume jewelry to add a bit of opulence to your ensemble! And pick up some pretty fans, if they are not pretty decorate them yourself.

Alright, readers, please leave your ideas! And Chandrani, we will want to hear all about it when it happens!
Do you have a question fit for Marie or Georgiana?
Email Lauren or Heather!


  1. That sounds fabulous, I wish I were invited! I think Lauren covered everything but I think pink champagne would be a must and maybe a late night game of manhunt in the dark!

    Also party favors are super fun. Maybe you could put together some ostrich feather hair clips for the ladies!

  2. I'll echo Lauren's sentiments here with the candles. Combine candles and cheap champagne flutes, i.e. put little white or off-white votives in flutes purchased from the dollar store. For costume jewelry, hit up your local consignment shops for that antique-y feel at great prices. Don't forget garage sales for some old-fashioned dishware to decorate with (think plates and such that have the shabby chic feel).

    Hope your party turns out well!

  3. Ooo or fans as a party favor too! I just thought of those. I know you can buy simple white ones in bulk and decorate them. I just had that afterthought.

  4. The candles and pink champagne are a must :) I also like Heather's idea of using fans as party favors, you could even give a little party favor "satchel" (use a draw-string velvet pouch from a craft store to contain the decorative fans with some tissue paper sticking out the top). I also like the idea of ostrich feather hair clips, they sell them on the cheap at stores like H&M and Forever 21. Maybe also purchase some small ornate-looking mirrors from a party supply store to include with the fans and ostrich hair clips.

    Buy some damask printed fabric at a fabric store and fold it over itself to use as a DIY table runner! Line the table with some classic French food on tiered plate platters for hors d'oeuvres.

    Best of luck with your party!

  5. Here is the link to my 40th birthday party:


    I hope you eat cake!

  6. Little petite sandwhiches served with tea (think cucumber sandwhiches).

  7. Costumes? Find a thrift shop that sells those old 1970's, 1980's bridesmaids dresses that had huge skirts and flounces everywhere. You can probably get them for nothing. With a little altering here and there you could take them back from antebellum to the 18th century. I know I had at least three I wore in friends weddings in those days that would have worked for you. Sadly they are long gone now or i would have sent them to you.

  8. I love this stuff! I think that along with the fans and the big hair, you should also accessorize with beautiful eye masks and maybe even 'des mouches.'

  9. Buy some inexpensive, relly pale powder (as white as possiple), and powder your face (and hair, as long as you have the patience to get it out in the morning). And of course, don't forget the all-important rouge, for a complexion of "lilies and roses"!
    Good luck and have fun!

  10. Here is an e-mail suggestion from Ashley:

    Think decadent desserts!

    "Back in April, for my 16th birthday my mom had a surprise cake made for me... And the cake was a "Marie Antoinette" cake!

    I loved the cake, i cried when i finally saw it... and didn't want to cut into it!! it was the best cake EVER! :D [Also a] tower of pink cupcakes that match my cake!"

  11. What about learning some of the court dances, since they were performed in groups: the minuet, the quadrille, and the gavotte? And everyone could figure out how to do the "Versailles Glide" which was the way all the female nobility and courtiers walked at Versailles, without appearing to touch the floor. It could be a party game in itself!

  12. Two suggestions:

    Let Versailles meet Holly Golightly and give your friends a reasonable out. Simple little black dresses with Lauren's suggestion of big, frivolous hair, powdered of course, gaudy paper fans, ribbons, glitzy jewelry and great shoes [preferably colorful, shiny plastic slingbacks with ankle ribbons and rhinestone buckles]. The brighter the colors of the baubles, like flirty pink and fresh, French blue, the more they will look like a confident contrast with the LBD.
    Secondly: Party game: "Pin the Head on the Aristocrat". It's tasteless and fun and if your friends are drinkers, it will be all the funnier to watch them try and get the head back on the aristocrat after a few French Martinis [or Pink Champagnes]. Just take a colorful picture of Madame Du Berry or the like to an office store and have them print her blown up big on thick stock paper. Then snip her cute little head off at the neck ribbon and let the game commence.
    Have fun!

  13. "Party game: "Pin the Head on the Aristocrat". It's tasteless and fun"


    Everyone has had such great suggestions...I think Heather and I need to throw a huge 18th century party ourselves!

    @Chandrani- I think everyone is excited to see your pics from the festivities!

  14. Hello everyone!

    Thank you so much for all the great ideas. I didn't think I would get so many answers!

    @ Heather Carroll; I wish I could invite you and everyone here but that would bee too many guests. :( I will surely try to find pink chamnagne.

    @ Allie, Jill and Ashley; I haven't yet figured out what will be on the menu, but it will be something French and 18th century. And then for dessert all kind of cakes and sweets.

    @ Laura Ingalls Gunn; thank you for the link, it gave me ideas and we sure will eat cake!

    @ Diane and Paul; I will see if I can find a dress as Diane described. If no, I will just were a nice-colored but rather 'normal' dress and concentrate on the hair, makeup, shoes and jewellery as Paul suggested. And the play is going to be fun, thank you Paul!

    @ Ms Lucy; I had amost forgotten les mouches! Of course we need some. Thank you.

    @ Leslie Caroll; yes, I can dance the minuet and the gavotte (which I am SO proud of) and I plan on teaching it to my guests too (boys will hate it haha). Other dances will need a little research from my side though.

    @ Hélène: powder in my hair, hmm... I will have to try it out before I really do it for the party! The good thing is that I have long hair and I can do all kind of fancy things with it.

    So the party will be some time in October, me and my friends are very excited about it as you surely guessed. They are waiting for me to send them their roles. I will let you know how it all went, maybe do an own blog like Laura did.

    Thank you again everyone for your lovely advice! It makes me so happy to have help.

  15. Chandrani: Make sure you give someone the role of the Scarlett Pimpernel. Such a dashing figure.

  16. I hate to admit it, but I love the Guillotine Game you mentioned in your post. Shame on me...

  17. Great blog girls! But please, please stop calling the queen Marie! Nobody ever called her that! She was called Madame Antoine in Austria and Marie Antoinette or just Antoinette in France. Marie was a name given to all Habsburg princesses but it was not used by them. Alix