How to choose an Event Theme

This might seem obvious but you would be surprised how many hosts choose event themes that are simply out of touch with them, their event, their venue and their guests.  Let’s agree though, most events are in honor of someone or something, so we tend not to be too concerned about what our guests want unless it’s a customer focused occasion.

This post will give you the guides you need to make a sensible decision on what theme to choose for any of your functions, be it your toddler’s 5th birthday at the Zoo, your anniversary dinner for two at home, your staff awards evening at a banqueting venue or your mom’s 50th costume party.

(that last one was a test)

That said, different strokes for different folks, and as event planners/advisors, we have to respect everyone’s taste.

We don’t have to like it though.

I hope the following fundamental tips can help you in deciding your next theme!  This is how I have managed to pull off smart looking, well-rounded events.

1 I Make party planning personal

Planning a party for kids is by far the easiest in terms of theming, children from the ages of 3+ can more or less tell you what kind of party they’d like and these generally fall in to the categories of cartoon characters or other characters they fancy at that point.  And these decorations are all over the place.  You can find them almost everywhere.

Personally, I cringe each time I see a Paw Patrol or Disney Princess themed party.  I have always tried my utmost not get my toddler too fixated on any of these hyperactive obsessions but I was painfully reminded that I too, like so many other parents, will do anything to see my baby happy, so Moana featured at her 3rd birthday celebration.

You can however, put your own spin on these common themes by choosing not to overload with the themed décor.  Too much décor in the same theme can make your event look cluttered and a mess.  Yes the idea of every serviette and condiment being themed is nice but it can be a painful sight. 

Create a sequence by setting up tables that follow a different sub-theme of your main party theme. For example, if you’re hosting a Paw-Patrol party, have a table dedicated to each of your kiddos favorite pups and leave the main table relatively pup free, perhaps with small details, so that your kiddo feels like he is the hero of the day.  This makes the event look more organized and calm.

If you are lucky enough to have carte blanche on your child’s birthday theme, then try using a more personal or developmental approach.  Does he love a certain element of nature, like rainbows or horses or tennis.  What is his favorite book character that’s not on television.  Has he recently learnt his ABCs (ABC, 123, Shapes party) or does he love to sing and dance (kiddies music box and karaoke party).  Please be sure to match the look and feel for each event with appropriate colors and visuals.

For older kids there are an array of themes that could work and you can take the same approach in terms of what appeals to their personality.

2 I Make party planning professional

I find that adult events are a lot more about trends.  When the blockbuster ‘The Great Gatsby’ aired, all that was an adult party was themed Great Gatsby and similar for things like Grease, Mama Mia (Abba), etc.  If you decide to do a movie theme that requires people to dress up then please also guide guests on outfit ideas in an Aide Memoire that would follow your invitation. 

Before choosing a theme, do some research on whether the required décor would be readily available or if you would have to make or hire most of it.

No matter what you decide on, make sure that your theme is followed through professionally.  From the Save the Date all the way to the Thank You card, the theme should always follow through.  Your guests will appreciate your attention to detail and will feel valued.