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How to Choose an Event Theme

Though it may not feel like it at first, event themes make the event planning process simpler because they help you focus on all the ideas surrounding your event. Once you have your event theme in place, it will run on its own and motivate you to come up with other areas like the décor, lighting, and entertainment around this creative idea.

The precise details of a theme help guests to jump out of their comfort zone and can encourage them to wear costumes or fancy attire which will generate a pre-event buzz as they talk about what they’re going to wear.

The flipside is, before any of this, you’ll need to truly decide on a theme and this can be pretty tricky and taxing if you don’t know where to begin. Luckily, we’ve got you covered and have listed the chief items to consider when choosing.

The five items to consider when choosing an event theme are:

  1. Purpose
  2. Demographic
  3. Venue
  4. Budget
  5. Season


Why are your guests there? You must be able to answer this question even before considering the event theme because it will partially govern the type of event you are planning as well as what you want to accomplish. For example, a fundraiser might need diverse theme elements than say a celebration. So knowing the purpose of the event will help to discount some irrelevant themes for you and make choosing the right theme much easier.


Who is the target audience and what is expected of them? Are they likely to get dressed up? If your theme is dependent on costumes, will you be inviting your demographic or turning them off? Knowing who you are directing your event theme to as well as other parameters (like age range) will help sidestep awkwardness. There’s no point in hosting an intricate historic theme for a child’s 5th birthday!


What venue size you are working with? Will the space be outdoors or indoors, or does it have any restrictions for use? Does the venue have structures that might complement a particular theme? For example, an old traditional house might be perfect for a theme of a specific historic period or era. Whereas a museum might have an event space for a prehistoric or ‘night at the museum’ theme. Having a certain venue in mind before the theme is indispensable because it can help you outline possibilities and encourage you.


This is a big one because with all the DIY event inspiration out there, some themes may not be possible without some sort of budget or else it’ll look tacky and cheap. Of course, if you’re working with a large budget, there are more theme possibilities and you have the ability to consider a large venue and/or large event spaces.


Although your event theme doesn’t necessarily have to match the season, (actually, it can be a quirky alternative to do a reverse-season event, like a winter wonderland theme during the summer or a luau during the winter) it is imperative to take note of the current weather as well as any noteworthy events that could be happening at the same time as your event. Knowing these things, will help you either avoid or incorporate certain event themes. It can also help you add a twist to a previous idea like a camping event theme in December that would have to be brought inside and would change the energy of the theme and event.


A theme doesn’t always have to be “in your face,” it can be subtle yet still tie your event together. However, it does need to be thought out during the early planning stages and you must start with considering the five items we mentioned in this article before finalizing your event theme.