How To….Choose an Event Theme

29 Mar

Choosing a theme is a big part of any event –  get it right and your event will be the talk of the town……..…get it wrong and people might remember it for all the wrong reasons! (No one wants to be the person who organised that event – you know, the one that’s used as an example of how NOT to do it!). That feels like a lot of pressure……………

But fear not – help is at hand!

There are hundreds of articles out there suggesting ideas, from a full blown circus theme to a classic English tea party, but with a world of themes out there to choose from, how can you be sure that you’re choosing the right one for your event? Well, here are a few handy tips to get you started:

1. Know your audience

Ok, this seems like an obvious one – if you’re throwing a birthday party for a 10 year old, you’re probably not going to want a Vegas casino theme!

But there might be a bit more to it than the obvious – if you can, do a bit of research into the kind of events your audience is used to attending, are they used to high end black tie? Or are they a trendier, laid back crowd who might not appreciate the formality of a top hat and tails?

2. Consider your budget

Yes, we know it would be fun to just let our imaginations run wild but, like it or not, a budget is most often an important consideration when planning an event. The budget tends to be remembered when looking for a venue, D.J, caterers, etc. but it’s a good thing to bear it in mind when deciding on your theme too.

One thing you don’t want is a half-hearted attempt at a theme that would have been great on a higher budget but that just looks a little bit sorry when you don’t have the funds to spend on it. Take the circus theme for example; to really make that theme fly you’d want performers, overblown decoration, suitably costumed waiters, maybe even a ringmaster MC………..the works! And unfortunately (unless you know some circus acts who are willing to help you out) all of that doesn’t come cheap!

All that being said – never underestimate your imagination and ingenuity – or that of your event planner! A lot of great ideas are born from constriction and there may be ways to pull off something brilliant without breaking the bank. There’s nothing wrong with discussing any theme but just don’t set your heart on one before you’ve investigated whether it’s achievable in budget!

3. Think about your Venue

This comes under budget in a way – obviously, if your theme is going to require a lot of detailed decoration then it goes without saying that the larger the venue, the higher the cost.

However, that’s not to say that the venue is always something you have to think of as a potential restriction – it could be something that you take inspiration from. Say for example your venue is an old cinema, you could take it back to its heyday for a night with a vintage movie theme, or an art gallery could play host to a Mondrian theme – all geometric shapes and bold colours. Why not make use of the décor that’s already there?!

4. Bear in mind the aims of your event

What is the purpose of the event – Is it team building where you want everyone to leave having bonded and feeling energised? Or are you fundraising and want people to feel connected to your cause? Whilst a glittering Great Gatsby theme might be the perfect way to launch a new perfume, it might not work so well in persuading people to donate to a wildlife sanctuary for example!

Think about the tone of your event and the atmosphere you’d like to create, are you partying or working? Rewarding people or asking them to give? Teaching or celebrating? Each motivation will have themes that will suit it more than others, so think about what you need to achieve with your event and the best atmosphere to create to get there.

5. Be realistic about time restrictions

Do you have enough time to plan an elaborate theme? If your event is fast approaching it might be best to go with something simpler to make sure you can execute it well and it doesn’t end up looking like a rush job. Of course, this depends on the team you have helping you – if you have enough hands on deck or are using an events planning company then there’s more chance of a theme being pulled together in a shorter time! If in doubt, a simple theme can still be very striking, a colour theme is always effective (think of all those black and white balls) and works especially well for charity and company events where there is already a colour association (Purple Grape for example, or yellow for Marie Curie).

Once you’ve answered these questions it’s time for the fun part – actually deciding on your theme!

There are far too many possible themes for us to list them all here, and you’ve probably already come up with loads yourself, but if you are still struggling (or just haven’t hit on the one yet) check out these blogs for some inspiration: – Bizbash has tons of theme ideas and also includes ideas for things to include to pull your theme together. – At Cvent you’ll find ideas suited to corporate events along with links to even more theme suggestions! – Confetti has some lovely ideas for personal parties and celebrations and they even include styling and food suggestions.

And finally (but extremely importantly)………..give us a call! We love a theme at Purple Grape, from Halloween horrorzombie staff to an exuberant edible garden, we’re bursting with ideas for themed canapes, presentation and decoration to help really bring your event together.

And, as you can see,
our staff are always eager to join in and make sure your event is one to remember, for all the right reasons!