Old Hollywood – Glam at its Finest

Do you want your debut to be glamorous? There are lots of themes you can choose to fulfill that aim. But if you want to add drama to that glam, then 50’s “Old” Hollywood could be the perfect theme for you.

Old Hollywood is all about elegance and drama. You can be dramatic with your hair, make-up and dress without being accused of being “too much”. This theme is very similar to the Awards Night theme, but with this one you are trying to bring yourself and your guests to another period where star quality is the norm.


Veronica Lake StyleYou can give out invites in the shape of a movie ticket or a movie clapboard or you can have an invitation design that depicts the style of the 50’s. This way, you are encouraging your friends to glam up for your party. Of course, don’t forget to ask your guests to dress up like their favorite Old Hollywood star like Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe. Be sure to give out the invitations early so that your guests will have enough time to prepare themselves for your big night, like buying a costume for your party if they have to or conceptualizing that Old Hollywood look they will feel most comfortable in.

Souvenirs and Props

Having a photobooth in your venue is a great way to entice your guests to dress up really well and according to the theme. Set up a background and bring out props that can capture your theme like a director’s chair, megaphone and a clapper. Perhaps you can also provide some accessories like a furry boa in your photo booth to make your guests look great in their photos. You can also have some standees of actresses and actors, with which you guests can pose for their photo souvenirs.

You can also display a big screen on which you can show some audio visual presentations about you. During idle time, you can use this screen to display some Old Hollywood photos or moving pictures.


For your appetizer, serve some popcorn, just like what you would eat while watching a movie. Put the popcorn on traditional popcorn containers (the cardboard ones). This would give your friends and family something to munch on while waiting for the mouthwatering main course!

What’s fun about this Hollywood theme is that you can use a movie house scenario to create an environment. Aside from displaying a big screen for instance, you can also be creative with the presentation of your food. You can set up a mock “concession stand” of food chains for soda, pretzels, nachos, popcorn, candies, ice cream, etc. Aside from that, you may still want to serve drinks that capture that Old Hollywood style.

Serve champagne or sparkling juices, which your guests can use to make a toast for you. You can also offer other kinds of cocktails like cosmopolitans and martinis. You can offer a wide variety of choices to make an impression of that opulent lifestyle that the Glamorous life Old Hollywood offered. Just make sure you are well-stocked with drinks!

Party Favors

Hollywood Walk of Fame StarOne of the most important things to consider is your 18th birthday party giveaway. The party favor options for this kind of theme can include a small mock Oscars trophy, a Clapper picture frame with a photo of your guest taken by a Paparazzi, a mock Hollywood Star with your name on it or a Hollywood Keychain. Watch some classic films and get elements from there on which you can base your ideas for your debut party give away.


What music you will play during your debut party will do much with the atmosphere you want to create. Let the voices of old Hollywood crooners like Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra fill the venue to set the right mood. Throw some Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday songs as well and put in some Jazz and Ragtime music to get everyone dancing. These are some Golden Age Hollywood songs you can play during your party to create an Old Hollywood theme:

– Singing in the Rain (Gene Kelly)
– Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend (Marilyn Monroe)
– The Way You Look Tonight (Fred Astaire)
– Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Judy Garland)
– Unforgettable (Nat King Cole)
– Anything You Can Do (Howard Keel)


Conceptualizing what you want your venue to look like is fun! Have a red carpet rolled out, on which you and your guests can walk on. Hang pictures of Old Hollywood icons like Bette Davis, Jean Harlow, and Clark Gable. Get some props from second hand stores and ukay-ukay shops and scout for feather boas, beautiful glassware and plates, accessories and vintage dolls. You can use low lighting and light up candles for an added ambiance.

You can also have some films from the Golden Era of Hollywood such as like Cassablanca and Breakfast at Tiffany’s play throughout the evening (without the sound) so that your party guests will know how to behave, act or move about.

For your guests’ tables, you can display a stack of still pictures from Old Hollywood films with details such as your name, your debut party venue and date on them. These photographs can also serve as giveaways. To tell your guest where to sit, put his or her name on a Hollywood Star placed on the corresponding chair and table.

In the middle of the dance floor, put some Hollywood walk of fame stars. Also display some Hollywood street signs, movie cutouts, etc.
There are endless options when it comes to Old Hollywood decorations. Try to watch some movies first so you would have a big idea about the atmosphere you need to create. The color scheme for this theme is usually red, gold and black. But you can still have some other colors as long as they are sophisticated for the 50’s Hollywood style. But since you’re still a young lady, you can add some cool bright colors for a more youthful party.

Hang the famous Hollywood letters somewhere in your venue. Don’t forget to add some balloons, streamers and other objects. Place clapboards and megaphones around the room. Create an ultimate sparkling Hollywood atmosphere with Christmas lights as well.

You can display a lighted wire lamp arch for your entrance like this —

The Old Hollywood Glam Theme of the 50’s is indeed a beautiful theme for your 18th birthday celebration. You can feel like a real celebrity with this timeless theme, which is really what you are on your Debut. It will be a very unique party in a timeless theme that you and your friends can reminisce about when you grow older.

(Click photo for credits)

Index Photo Courtesy of: Conde Nast Magazines


  1. Hello…I will celebrate my 18th birthday this July and I’m planning to have a simple party with a 60’s theme…What can you suggest?…Thank you!

    • Hi Julie Ann!

      We’re thinking of a Pleasantville kind of tone for your debut party. Simple yet elegant and with a nice oldies feel to it. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120789/ (Check out this link for more info on this film, which stars Reese Witherspoon and Tobey Maguire!) We suggest you watch this first (or AGAIN if you’ve already watched it) to condition your mind for this particular era.

      Make sure that your guests participate in your little costume party. This is a good reference on how women in the 50’s / 60’s dress up — http://www.fiftiesweb.com/fashion/sixties-fashion-w.htm
      It would be nice to give your friends and family an idea on what they should wear for your 18th birthday celebration. Don’t forget to put this reminder on your invitation. To encourage everyone to dress their best, tell them that a special prize awaits the person with the best outfit!

      Hope this helps. Happy planning!

  2. Hi! I found your site very informative especially for me who’s also an incoming débutante. I am planning to have a Hollywood-awards night theme but my mother also suggested a GALA NIGHT. It is kinda new to me so I don’t have any idea about it. When I Googled it, it appeared to be some formal gathering of i dont know. Can you tell me what’s the difference of such to a Hollywood-awards night theme? Hope you can help me 🙂 Also, can you suggest a theme that is also best for the month of December? :)) Thank you! and more powers to your beautiful site 🙂

    • Hi Ayie,

      A gala is a celebration or party in honor of something. For instance a premiere of a movie, an awards presentation a charity event. Gala night or gala event has been loosely used to mean party or celebration. So in essence I think the Hollywood awards night theme would be like a gala night, but Hollywood theme would have the advantage of a specific theme in mind so you would not have a hard time with thinking of decors, souvenirs, etc. For December, any theme is great, you can always take advantage of the festive atmosphere that this month brings click here, but some debutantes would like to deviate from Christmasy colors because they want their birthday to be remembered as their birthday and not as a Christmas party. You can also go for a winter wonderland theme with white and silver as your color motif. That would be awesome too. Hope this helps.

    • Hi Nikki,

      If you want a barbie theme, your make up has to be flawless as well as your hair. you can also add glitters on your face, arms and shoulders. your color motif should be in the range of pink and violet or sky blue. instead of a red carpet, have a hot pink carpet instead. your venue has to be sparkly so add lots of glitters on your decorations. a barbie theme is still something general, you can have a barbie tea party, barbie swan lake, barbie beach party, barbie dance party, etc. as long as it fits your personality. then from there, you can build a more specific theme so that you can design your decorations, invites, set-up, your make up and hair, etc.

      hope this helps!

  3. hi. i want to have a fairytale themed party. my debut will be in a garden venue. i want my guests to wear black and white. white for those part of the 18 ‘anything’ and black for the rest. any suggestion what kind of clothes should i require them to wear?

  4. hi!
    i’m using this theme.
    but i don’t know what flowers to use for my 18 leading men and for my corsage, and my escort’s buttoneire. can you suggest flowers i can use that can still relate to this except for roses?
    because roses are so common at debut parties.
    thank you.

    • Hi Tricia,

      hydrangeas, magnolias, and peonies can replace the usual rose! these flowers look very lovely and simple but they scream elegance like being in an old Hollywood movie.

      From: Blog.afloral.com

      When in doubt, you can always ask your friendly florist for more suggestions. Just raise your concern about your theme. These florists are professionals and they know their flowers. I’m sure they can meet your needs well!

      Hope this helps! 🙂

  5. Hi! I’m celebrating my birthday this coming October and I’m planning to have, mix theme of Marilyn Monroe and Hollywood/ Grammy/ Oscars Award in a simple but yet elegant theme on my big day 🙂 but on more CHEAPER PRICE? Thankyou

    • Hi Faye,

      That is a good idea. The Old Hollywood theme is really a nice theme to have and to top it with an Awards Night theme is brilliant. Canvass your props in Divisoria for a cheaper price. There are cheap styros there that you can use for your backdrop. If you are doing the Grammy’s, print award certificates and paste them in a CD (burn your favorite songs in these CDs). This will serve like an award and a party favor at the same time. Hope this helps.

  6. Hi! I really love this idea. So I’m in the process of planning my debut and this site really helped. Also, if you don’t mind me asking, I saw the venues section of your site and my mom kasi wants sana City Garden Suites Makati.. what can you say about this? Is it a good place ba?

  7. Hi, i so love your ideas!!! My 18th will be on the 3rd week of August and my theme is Hollywood glam. Well, we’re planning it to be modern and simple. Not the traditional one. What other ideas can you add to make my party fun esp when it comes to the designs and other stuff. For them to have a good impression about my birthday. I really need your help 🙂 I’m still not sure about the motif(color), design of the invitation, and decorations and stuff! Also, can you suggest other sites where in I could get ideas? 🙂 THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    • Hi Julia,

      Well, first choose a color motif. Red, gold and black are usually the colors for Hollywood glam. You can also use silver and white. I think a lot has been described in our article Old Hollywood with regard to decor. You can put feathers instead of flowers for your table centerpieces like in this photo. If you favor silver and white combination, put sequined silver drapes on your stage for pizzaz. Any color will actually do. The key thing to remember in doing a Hollywood glam theme is to have everything grandiose, elegant and sophisticated. Hope this helps.

  8. Hi, I’m celebrating my debut this October. I am planning to have a princess theme with a sudden masquerade to it.Well, not only is it my debut,its a THREE-SOME debut.I am not the only debutant, my two other cousins are as well. We plan on having the color black,blue, and purple as each of our dresses.But it doesnt seem to match our color theme which is blue and white.Any suggestion of colors that compliment each other? And what other suggestions could you make for this theme?

    • Hi Bea,

      A Masquerade theme would be great for your chosen colors. Midnight blue would be great with purple which are both stunning colors. Your third color needs to be lighter so the event will not be so dark. Try champagne or silver for the third debutante. These three colors go well with each other, they blend well but they can standout as well. For a masquerade theme, you should be able to create an ambiance of excitement and mystery. All of your guests should wear masks. On your grand entrances, the host will say some trivial thing about one debutante, calls the first debutante, the debutante will then have her grand entrance (with mask on) and steps into one side, let’s say the left. Another debutante is introduced (without stating the name), makes her grand entrance the same way the first one did and then goes to the right. Then the final debutante will be introduced and makes her grand entrance and goes to the center. You can have different grand entrance songs if you wish. At this point, the host will ask one of the guests to guess who the debutantes are and if he is correct he wins a prize. At the final reveal, the debutantes walks the stage one more time posing at the center and then the host then introduces the lovely debutantes by name each taking off their masks as they are called. Hope this helps and happy birthday to you three.

  9. hello,

    i’ll be celebrating my debut this coming september 5.. i want this theme in my debut.. then the hotel asking me what to put on as a design, they are having a hard time to look for a design.. what is better to wear with my guest? a cocktails or gowns? then what motif will do if my gown is colored pink (not totally pink but fuchsia i guess)

    thanks a lot!


    • Hi Stephanie Epe,

      Usually the best thing to do is to have a theme so that you would have a cohesive party and you would know what decorations to put in the stage and all around the venue. Since your party is just a month away, probably having a color motif would help you. Since you said that you have pink/ fuchsia as the color of your gown, then probably you can go with a pink motif. Go for lighter shade of pink for your decorations or combine pink with white by putting pink and white roses as centerpieces and pink and white drapings on your stage. Hope this helps.

  10. Hey 🙂
    My 18th is still a 14 months away, but i want to start planning now. I’d looove to have an old hollywood themed party (theme colors red, black and white). I live in Canada so its pretty hard to find exactly what i’d need for my party. I have relatives back home who can probably take care of my dresses, invites, photobooth backdrops and stuff. I need help with the program though.. how can i make it more north-american with the 18 dances and candles? also, i’m not sure to make my party cocktail or grand? advice please? thankkkss!

  11. hey debut ideas,

    I want to have a barbie theme, but I really don’t know what my guests will wear, sometimes I think twice whether I’ll celebrate it this way or blah blah, I’m having trouble about it. It’s whether by a barbie theme, greek theme or fairytale theme. I also wanted my concept to be “Glam your own style” but how will it be? whatwould my motifs be? and the venue that’ll fit? please help ! 🙂

  12. hey debut ideas,

    I want to have a barbie theme, but I really don’t know what my guests will wear, sometimes I think twice whether I’ll celebrate it this way or blah blah, I’m having trouble about it. It’s whether by a barbie theme, greek theme or fairytale theme. I also wanted my concept to be “Glam your own style” but how will it be? whatwould my motifs be? and the venue that’ll fit? please help !

  13. hello,

    im planning to have black and white as my motif, is it okay? Thanks a lot! my theme is slightly Hollywood and Vintage.. (:

    Thanks a lot!
    God Bless!


    • Hi stephanie epe,

      Yes black and white is okay especially for a vintage theme. Make sure you look vintage enough. Have your makeup artist transform your beauty into an ageless 50s star. Be inspired by this article on old hollywood glam. Hope this helps.

  14. Hello there! I’d like to thank you for this website, I’ve been getting a lot of information from it!

    My mom insists that I should just have a “semi-formal” party, no theme so that the guests will not have difficulty with what they are going to wear but I REALLY REALLY wanna have a themed debut party. Can you please help me? I’d like something elegant or magical but I don’t want my guests to suffer too! Thank you and I’d really appreciate it if you answee this question. 😀

    • Hi Alexandra,

      Having a themed debut does not always mean that your guests have to dress accordingly. For instance, you can have a Hello Kitty – inspired debut but of course we cannot expect the guests to dress in pink or something. You can have a forest fairy theme for instance, and have drawings of trees all around the venue. You don’t have to tell your guests to wear a certain type of clothing because you want to stand out. Let them come how they want. What’s important is how you carry your theme with your own outfit and the other elements in your party. Happy planning! 🙂

  15. Hello there! I’d like to thank you for this website, I’ve been getting a lot of information from it!

    My mom insists that I should just have a “semi-formal” party, no theme so that the guests will not have difficulty with what they are going to wear but I REALLY REALLY wanna have a themed debut party. Can you please help me? I’d like something elegant or magical but I don’t want my guests to suffer too! Thank you and I’d really appreciate it if you answee this question.

    • Hi Alexandra,

      Having a theme in your debut celebration does not mean that your guests should dress up in that theme! For instance, you can have an Awards night debut wherein your venue showcases appropriate decorations like a red carpet, a podium, mini trophies for your giveaways, etc. but your guests don’t have to be worrying about their outfits because really, anything goes.

      You can have a fairy-themed debut party in which only you get to be in a fairy outfit, and all of your guests get to be normal people who are like under your spell. You can also have an enchanted garden party where all of the stuff sparkle — from utensils to giveaways to your own make up! your guests should not wear costumes for these types of parties because that will defeat the purpose of you being different from all of them.

      Hope this helps! 🙂

  16. hi,website

    I’m having my debut on Jan. nxt year. My family wants to have it in the phil. in my mom’s hometown in Gapan, Nueva Ecija. Their chosen venue is in a Resort. I’m caught in between the three themes i’d like to have; first, the fairy tale theme, then Old hollywood theme, last is the beach party but I want an elegant party. I need help on the venue because we’re not sure if the place is good. I haven’t been in that place so would you help me find a venue in Nueva Ecija. I don’t know which of the themes is for me. PLEASE, advise! Thanks Thanks a lot!


    I just like it to be fun for all the guest since I wouldn’t know them all. TY again.

  17. hi. i’ll be having my debut next year in the month of february. i was thinking about my color motif, i’d guess it’ll be red. but i don’t know what kind of theme would i have for my debut. i’m a fan of models and want to be one. how can i make my love for modeling and models my theme in my debut? cause i don’t want traditional debut. i don’t want 18roses. i would prefer 18catwalks and 18poses. is it alright for my debut? can you suggest me any ideas about the themes for my debut. thanks 🙂

    • Hi Isabel,

      You can have a runway inspired debut party. Have a mini fashion show with your friends. Provide a runway at the center from where you and your friends will walk on. You can showcase your talent in modelling and have fun at the same time. Have a backdrop like that of Project Runway with lights on its back so your silhouette can be seen in front and then pose till you drop! This is all for now. Happy planning.

  18. hi debutideas,

    could you please please make an article about modage ( modern – vintage ) theme party. please. thank you in advance.

    • Hi Roxanne,

      Thanks for the suggestion. We will try our best to come up with an article for that theme. =)

      Thanks for visiting our website!

  19. hello debut ideas! maybe you can help me 🙂 coz initially, i want hollywood glam as my theme. it involves red, black, gold, etc. right? but i’m not that fond of red so i was thinking of changing red into a warm, barbie pink instead. so it’ll be pink, black, gold now. and then i saw magkaribal, i really like the concept of the show everytime it starts. it has such a big impact. so now i was thinking to blend in the two together.. but because of my love for PINK, i was now thinking of making barbie as the theme. i will still use pink, black and gold then. i want a girly pink debut with the touch of black and maybe yeah gold so it’ll look a little more fitting for a 18th birthday celeb. i was thinking of barbie as also entering the womanhood somehow, barbie going to a formal event. wearing a pink and black outfit. something like that 🙂 maybe you can help me decide 🙂 and if i choose barbie, what can be the wordings on my invi? 🙂 and how can the program run with that theme? 🙂 i’m sorry if i have too many questions, i hope it’s okay. coz i’m quite in a dilemma right now. thank you so much! your reply would be of great help! thanks! 🙂

    -Monique <3

    • Hi Camille,

      Well, Vogue Magazine isn’t really a theme. In fact, it is something you can use to spice up your Old Hollywood glam party. You can have paparazzi all over the place and Vogue magazine covers posted around the walls showing your pictures — like you’re launching your career. You can also have a photobooth with vintage accessories and props! =)

  20. hello, this theme is excatly what i am looking for, :> can you help me with the title for my debut which is related to this theme, like kim at 18 “title” thank you so much! 😀

    • Hi Kim,

      Maybe you can use “The Kim Awards Night” — if you want to be generous enough to give awards and rewards your friends. You can also use “Kim on the Red Carpet at 18” or just simply “We ? Kim!”

      Hope this helps!

  21. hi.. i see you have a really good suggestion on parites.. I want my 18th party to be in a Hollywood Style but pink.. i dont have yet any ideas of the grand entrance ,stage set up.. and dining.. that matches the theme i want.. do you have any suggestion or great ideas? it will surely help me alot.. thanks ^__^

    • Hi Kristin,

      It’s really up to you to choose a theme. It’s not for us to determine what is “maganda” as a theme. Just follow your heart. 😀

  22. Hi, I was wondering how much peonies cost here in the Philippines? If they cost too much, would you have a cheaper suggestion?

    • Hi Pau,

      I’m just not sure how much peonies cost because sometimes it differ if it is in season or something. Dangwa florists usually have cheaper flowers and they may be able to give you a quote if you go there (there are lots of vendors there that you can choose from) or call them. Here is just one shop there Go4flowers. I think carnations look a lot like peonies so you may want to consider asking for a quotation on carnations as well. Hope this helps.

  23. Hi! How can I combine old Hollywood (ala Audrey Hepburn) and Katy Perry for my party? Thank you so much. I hope you’ll reply.:)

  24. hi debut ideas! wow this site is such a big help. i love your ideas. 🙂 BTW i am planning to have my debut in a bar/club just like MTV’s Sweet16. But the prob is, my parents won’t allow me. They want my debut to be formal and traditional. So now I’m really worried that I won’t have my desired party. Can you give me tips on how can I apply my “Party Animal” theme to my parents’ “Classic and Boring” theme. I really really need help. I’ve been planning my debut since I was in HS but now that it’s near,I think my parents will ruin all of my plans. Please help me, TIA 😉 and more power!

    • Hi Jean,

      If you still want to have a Party Animal theme yet still please your parents, I suggest you combine the two. Have your decorations, invitations and souvenirs be base on the theme you want but incorporate the traditional 18s in it. Instead of having the entire night set-up for dancing and fun, have your 18 roses and treasures also. In this way, you can have what you want, which is a Party Animal theme, and what your parents want.

  25. Oh dear! I love this theme! Kaya lang, I’m wondering if my guests will enjoy it. Anyway, I will add this theme to my list 🙂 It’s a possibility.

    • Hi Pearl

      Thank you! You can check out our other articles on different debut themes too so you have more choices. Some debutantes mix and match debut themes but it’s up to you 🙂

      Happy planning!

  26. Hi! This site is indeed very helpful and informative! I hope I could make up my mind with a unique glam theme soon for my 18th. More power to you! 🙂

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