Betty Draper Gets Sober – A Mad Men Party

Mad Men Party

Disclaimer: For the most part, I write about my recovery from alcoholism. But, I also write about my life in general. Things I’m passionate about, DIY projects, book reviews – and even parties. When I first got sober, I never thought I’d be able to go to another drinking party again, let alone host one. And, at first I didn’t. I was very careful about where I went and the situations I put myself in. As I’ve gotten further along in my sobriety, I’ve come to know what I can do and what I can’t do. What I feel comfortable with and what I don’t. Wine was my thing, so I stay away from wineries, wine tasting, sip and shop events and parties where wine is the main event. Although my husband still drinks around me, he chooses not to drink wine at home – I think mostly out of respect for me. I don’t keep wine in our house and, honestly, I don’t sit too close to someone who’s drinking wine. The smell still gets to me. With that being said, I don’t have a problem being around people who are drinking – socially and responsibly. It’s different for each person in recovery. Some people can’t be around drinking at all, or choose not to have drinking in their home. The key is finding what works for you without fear or embarrassment of what others will think. It’s not their life.

Up until a few weeks ago, I hadn’t hosted a “real” party since getting sober. But, with my husband turning the big 4-0, I figured it was time! We absolutely love the show “Mad Men” and had been talking about having a “Mad Men” theme party for awhile and what better excuse than a 40th birthday?!

So, with the decision made I put on my party planning hat and got busy! We kept it small, wanting to capture that quintessential cocktail party atmosphere. I created simple invites with silver cardstock and a velum overlay tied together with a red ribbon (I forgot to take a pic). On the invite, I requested that everyone “dress the part.”

With a little help from Google, I found some great ideas for décor and favors. For those who aren’t familiar, “Mad Men” takes place in the early 60’s, so I thought it would be fun to create favors using 60’s candy. I found a great online store called Old Time Candy where I was able to order a “decade box” of 60’s-style candy – how cool is that?!


And, candy cigarettes because no “Mad Men” party would be complete without some smokes.


For the favors, I used some simple red bags, some tags, a thank you stamp and a little ribbon (all things I already had) and divided the candy into ten individual bags. I think they turned out pretty cute!


To set the stage for the party, I scoured our local Good Will for crystal ashtrays, serving platters and bowls. I wanted to find a classic rotary dial phone, but to my surprise they were out – they’re “retro” now which means they’re cool (which also means I’m getting old!). On the day of, I set the ashtrays around the house with a box of candy cigarettes nearby and a classic book of matches. Of course, my kids (5 and 7) were very confused by all the “smokers” in the house.

My husband was in charge of the bar area – which I was happy to delegate to him. Fortunately, we already had some pretty cool vintage cocktail shakers and barware. He stocked the bar with a number of items, so guests would have a variety to choose from. And, of course, we had some cocktail books on hand in case anyone wanted Don Draper’s favorite – the Old Fashioned.



And, it wouldn’t be a “Mad Men” party without classic Coke in the bottle and Heineken (the featured beer on the show).


And, for the martini drinkers, I brought out my grandparent’s olive green martini glasses. If those glasses could talk, oh the stories they would tell!


Now, for the food! When I think 60’s cocktail party, I think cheese balls and pigs-n-blankets. You know, the really good stuff. Luckily, our local grocery store and Costco had all the fixings for a true 60’s spread! I also included sweet-n-sour meatballs, a cracker, cheese and salami tray, veggies with classic ranch dressing, artichoke dip, mini egg rolls and a dessert tray with a variety of bite-size brownies and cookies. Ta Da!



Our guests came dressed to impress!



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Cheers to great friends and fun times!

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And, I’m happy to report this Betty Draper is still sober and loving it!

Oh, and just for kicks – because sometimes you’ve just got to laugh.


Thanks for stopping by!

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11 responses

  1. well done! What a great theme and you did it superbly. The men looked fantastic, of course the women too and I loved the candy cigarettes. You are strong and your husband must have been so proud to have his beautiful wife at his side for the whole night on good form.

  2. Like you at first I couldn’t be near drink and drinking much at all. My niece got married a few weeks after I came out of rehab – that was a real real struggle. But over time I’m ok with it mostly.

    We had a 25th wedding anniversary do at our house a few years back and even my own 50th birthday was held in a pub… oh the irony! Basically Mrs F didn’t want to bake and be the hostess and have to clear up – it was all fine. About half the guests were alcoholics – the bar tab probably wasn’t what the landlord had hoped it would be but whatever…

  3. Well look at you! All 60’s and flowy and chic! I love this – love all the pics. You went through a lot of trouble and effort, and it really shows – lovely! Looks like everyone had a grand time. (I don’t watch MM, but I have seen pictures from it – pretty accurate there).

    thanks for sharing this – I really loved seeing this other side of you. We get wrapped up in the sobriety thing (duh, we’re sober bloggers) but it is nice to break out and show off other parts of us, eh?


  4. Thanks for sharing this with me because I do find it difficult to socialise with my ‘friends’ because I am very fearful of what will happen once I am surrounded by drunks. I need to fight through that fear and rid myself of these judgments. Thanks for helping me with that.

    I also wanted to make reference to this sentence.

    “The key i finding what works for you without fear of embarrassment of what others will think. It’s no their life.”

    Once again thanks. I can get very dogmatic over ‘my way of quitting alcohol’ and once again get very judgmental. I am learning that everyone has their own way, and so once again thanks for keeping me on the straight and narrow, by including this sentence in your blog post, as it stood out for me.

    Lee Davy
    The Needy Helper

  5. Pingback: Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows | themiracleisaroundthecorner

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