Including a theme in your event is not as easy as it sounds. In the early days when I started my career in the 1990s, including an event theme meant renting palm trees, beach backdrops, and fake pineapples. Back in those days, we were more like set designers.

Today, including a theme in your event is more about the guest experience than it is the actual décor pieces. My themed events have always been about the guest’s sensory journey. As I plan my events, I put myself in the shoes of my guests at our events.

How do I decide on the right event theme?

This is one of the most common questions I get asked by clients. Selecting a theme is not just picking out pretty colors and fancy furniture. The choice of your event theme starts long before you pick out colors and should be connected to your brand and marketing initiatives.

When choosing a theme, you must ask yourself  “what are my event goals?”.

As cliché as this sounds, it is important to know the goals of your event before beginning to plan them. Knowing the why and how the event should be presented, will be critical to the success of your event. Every decision should lead back to your goals. This will help guide you as you start to think about your theme.

Once I select my theme, what do I do next?

Question yourself. Doubt yourself. Because you should be 100% certain you have selected the right theme for the event. Whenever I have settled on a theme, I pick it apart. I find all of the things wrong with it and why it is not a good theme. Once the pros and cons are laid out on paper, and if the pros outweigh the cons, then I know I have made a good decision for my client.

Before I start to think about colors, textures, furniture, and set builds, I think about the agenda. Again, I consider the guest’s journey. I like to take a hypothetical walk in their shoes and visualize exactly what they see, touch, smell, and experience.

What is the best event theme you have ever planned?

After 34 years of planning in-person-themed events, there are hundreds of events that I love and remember. This week I want to share with you my top three award-winning and favorite themed events.

A Christmas Carol Celebration

One of our first steps in the planning process is to understand the goals and objectives behind the client’s decision to host the event. We knew the goals and objectives were to engulf guests immediately into the joyful feeling of Christmas, so we created a setting that would achieve our goal. We designed our own European Village to support the London setting in the movie. Our client wanted the evening to focus on the traditional aspects of Christmas and we wove them into our seating plan, décor design, menu planning, activities and entertainment. To see more photos, click here

The NorLand Black and White Ball

Our client was celebrating 30 years of success and wanted to hold The Black & White Ball to celebrate this milestone.  It was important to him that the event was meaningful, interactive, and designed to gather people in an atmosphere that was celebratory.  We decided that the setting for The Black & White Ball should be prestigious and thus the NorLand Manor House was born. This custom-created curved staircase with a mezzanine was placed inside a train station, which allowed for more rooms in the design of the house. To see more photos, click here

British Secret Garden

Due to JLR’s shared British heritage, we researched things that were iconic to the  British culture. Our client was moved by images of traditional English garden landscapes so we based our design around this aspect.  Our creative inspiration image (see right) focused on these key elements, such as straight boxwood hedgerows, butterfly models/hostesses and a tree carefully manicured into the shape of cake tiers offering desserts. To see more photos of this event, click here

What are some mistakes people make when choosing their theme?

  1. The theme has nothing to do with the brand, goals, marketing strategies, and initiatives of the company.
  2. They pick a theme just because they like it.
  3. They include a theme that is trendy but not on point for the brand or purpose of the event.
  4. The theme doesn’t allow for appropriate activities or entertainment.
  5. The theme is distracting from the main purpose of the event.

Sharon Tip: Always go the extra mile with your theme. Whether you are planning an in-person, hybrid or virtual event, consider all areas and aspects that you can incorporate the event theme.

How can your Event Consulting services help me with my theme development?

The theme sets the tone for the event on so many levels and can be considered the glue to all other components.

Our Consulting Services can help you create a strong foundation for your plan right at the beginning. The theme development should be strategic and link back to your goals and objectives.

If you have already chosen a theme and want to have another set of eyes on your strategy, event consulting is perfect for you. We can review your plan and make suggestions on ways to carry the theme successfully throughout the entire event design.

Contact us today to book your complimentary 30-minute meeting where Bright Ideas will perform a needs assessment for you! We can’t wait to bring your vision to life!

Follow along with this 10-week Event Consulting series below:

  1. Event Consulting vs. Event Producing
  2. Selecting The Perfect Event Venue
  3. Planning Your Event Agenda
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