Oh, the romance of “Casablanca”! One of the most-loved Hollywood films of all time, it offers the perfect inspiration for a 50th golden anniversary party with a nostalgic feel. Who can forget the iconic characters Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund, played by Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, and the movie’s immortal line “Here’s looking at you, kid” among other famous quotes? But few remember that Casablanca is a city in exotic Morocco, with a blend of Middle Eastern romanticism and Hispanic flair (its name means “white house” in Spanish).
Capture the fascinating ambiance of the city for a truly memorable anniversary celebration. We offer very doable ideas for recreating that unmistakable look and feel—from table decorations and place settings, to food and drinks suggestions and guest favors. Get ready to celebrate, Casablanca style!
Extend a Warm “Casablanca” Welcome
Welcome guests to your anniversary event with a Casablanca-inspired welcome display. Too challenging, you say? You need not worry. This isn’t as complicated as it seems. With even just two or three distinct accent pieces, you’d be surprised at how easily you can set the mood!
Decorative pieces you can try:
- an exotically shaped glass lamp, or any shapely vase or bowl that can hold a candle
- a brass vessel such as an urn, decanter, decorative box, or tray
- a table cover, runner, set of placemats, or even a shawl, scarf, or bandana adorned with beadwork, gold-thread embroidery, or tassels
- a framed signage featuring a Moroccan-style design and graceful calligraphy
Assemble these artfully on a small table at the entryway to the party venue, light up the candles—and expect gasps of admiration!
Fun references to the movie:
You can have your welcome sign say, “This way to Rick’s Café Américain” (the nightclub owned by Bogart’s character, where he and Ilsa crossed paths again). Or you can download any of the famous Casablanca posters or images of Rick and Ilsa together, and super-impose your names—the anniversary celebrants—as the romantic film couple. Have this printed out at a large-format digital printing service, and mount it in your frame.
Set Out a Striking Table Display
Exceed guests’ expectations even further as they proceed to your stunning table display. Craft it as a vision in gold-tinged accessories, glowing candlelight, and innovative place settings. Doable, you ask? Again, definitely so with well-selected decor pieces.
Table accessories you can try:
- dinnerware with gold trim or a metallic border
- Morrocan tea glasses (if you don’t make a lucky find at a flea market, you can buy these online)
- votive candle holders or similar containers with a gold or metallic finish
- clear glass candy dishes to hold floating candles and flower buds
- glass, ceramic, or metal vases or urns to serve as pedestals for some of the candle dishes
- a beaded, embroidered, and/or tasseled table cloth
- artistic thank-you cards or scrolled notes for guests (ours feature burnt edges and a stylish hand-written font in sepia ink)
Fun references to the movie:
In place of notes to the guests, you can write favorite quotes from “Casablanca” on parchment paper. Roll these once for a scrolled look, then display them together with a different photo of you and your spouse on each table. A great conversation starter, don’t you think?
Some quotes you can use:
“Here’s looking at you, kid.”
“Play it again, Sam.”*
“We’ll always have Paris.”
“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”
“As Time Goes By” (the movie’s unforgettable song)
*A bit of trivia: This is actually a misquote from the real line in the film, spoken by Ilsa to the piano player at Rick’s club, “Play it once, Sam, for old times’ sake.” But the shorter version made its way into movie lore, and stayed there!
Offer Up Party Fare with a Moroccan Flavor
Anniversaries are truly meaningful milestones. So in honor of the occasion, serve up an extra-special themed party menu. Prepare main entrees that cover the range from seafood, to lamb, to chicken, accompanied by that Moroccan staple couscous. Offer the famed mint tea and a spice-infused version of Moroccan coffee; and bring the meal to a sweet close with delicious Mediterranean-style desserts!
Great main dish recipes you can try:
Moroccan Grilled Salmon – courtesy of Food Network Magazine
Grilled Lamb Kofta Kebabs with Pistachios and Spicy Salad Wrap – courtesy of Jamie Oliver
Quick Tagine-style Chicken – courtesy of Rachael Ray
Couscous with Currants, Almonds, and Parsley – courtesy of Bobby Flay
Yummy desserts to serve:
Chocolate mousse served in Moroccan glasses – courtesy of Tyler Florence
Moroccan coffee and date dessert – courtesy of Cecily Layzell, suite101.com
Moroccan coconut fudge candy – courtesy of rodeogirl73 blog
Candied clementines – courtesy of Cooking With Caitlin, ifood.tv
Fun reference to the movie:
Since you’re likely to have a mature guest list for this anniversary celebration, you can offer bourbon whiskey “straight up”—the drink Rick Blaine was drinking as he waited for his lady love to reappear. Then, of course, pass around flutes of bubbly champagne at the party’s end for everyone to toast the anniversary couple!
Give Exotically Packaged Guest Favors
Give party favors as memorable as the occasion and as exotically presented as the party theme you’ve chosen! Our example is a white pillar candle embossed with roses for each guest, encased in shimmery organza wraps the color of burnished gold.
Other favor ideas to suit the “Casablanca” motif would be:
- petite round frames with a gemstone border
- Moroccan tea glasses in multi-colored organza wraps
- Moroccan candies or special spices presented in ivory favor sachets
- gold frames with the line “Moonlight and love songs, never out of date” signed by the two of you
- DVDs of the movie classic
- CDs containing songs from the movie (“As Time Goes By,” “It Had to Be You,” “Shine”) plus other 1940s favorites
Featured Parties with a Casablanca Theme
As a bonus, we’re sharing 3 actual party posts with a Casablanca-inspired theme as well!
1 – A 40th anniversary cocktail party styled by Elegance and Simplicity features a replica of Rick’s Café Américain complete with Moroccan-themed interiors and a live band!
2 – A Sparkler Parties fundraiser event with a party tent set up with Casablanca touches, like draped fabrics and exotic colored-glass lanterns.
3 – Elegant ivory sets a classic base at this Casablanca-themed wedding from Beth Ann Greenberg Photography, featured on The Southern California Bride. Ornate gold mirrored trays and towering orchid centerpieces add an air of faraway Morocco.