Top ideas for event themes

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Top ideas for event themes

By Daniella Bustamante and Dela Kumapley, Event Coordinators at Managing Matters

Selecting the right theme is crucial to the success of your event and sets the stage to influence your food and beverage, design and décor choices. It will communicate to guests a sense of what to expect, what the atmosphere will be and even what they might wear! With this much pull on the outcome of your event, make sure you spend time choosing a theme that is interesting, unique and provides plenty of inspiration for your attendees’ tweets and Instagram posts.

Turn the typical on its head

It’s not difficult to name those tried, tested and true event themes that we’ve all seen over and over again:

  • 1920s Gatsby with copious amounts of gold and that recognizable art deco font
  • Alice in Wonderland tea party with decks of cards, delicate china and mismatched clocks
  • Hollywood with the iconic red carpet, red velvet and Oscar imagery
  • Decades, from the jazzed up 20s to the neon and colour blocking of the 80’s

There is nothing wrong with drawing inspiration from one of these go-to event themes, but challenge yourself to go beyond and add something that makes it an atypical experience for guests – unlike anything they have seen before.

Get inspired

At Managing Matters, we are fortunate to have a team that hails from a diverse range of cultural, educational and professional backgrounds that provide a foundation of endless inspiration for event themes. Next time you are tasked with choosing an event theme, hit pause on that Google or Pinterest search and take a moment to look around you and think about what inspires you day to day. Here are some ideas for unique event themes as inspired by our team:

Inspiration: Art
Theme: A warped world
Contributor: Daniella Bustamante, Event Coordinator and Art Enthusiast

“This theme is inspired by the works of surrealist painter, Salvador Dali and that iconic image of a warped and melted clock in his painting, The Persistence of Memory. This image can lend itself to creating an event theme such as ‘A warped world’ that focuses on having things look different, with distorted shaped lounge furniture, a bar that looks like it is melting into the ground. The possibilities are endless.”

Inspiration: Film and television
Theme: Throwback thriller
Contributor: Kelly Furnish, Event Coordinator and self-proclaimed pop culture buff

“Film and Television are great sources for theme inspiration right at your fingertips. As new programs and releases happen constantly, it provides a revolving door of new material to draw from. For this years’ Halloween, go classic 80’s creepy with inspiration from the new popular Netflix original series Stranger Things. Delve into the dark and grunge feel with eye catching décor pieces such as vintage bikes and Christmas lights, mirroring some of the show’s imagery.”

Inspiration: Science
Theme: Rube Goldberg
Contributor: Dela Kumapley, Event Coordinator and former mad scientist

“A Rube Goldberg machine is a chain reaction or domino effect used to complete a simple task using many unnecessary steps beforehand. Incorporate this into your event by employing a Rube Goldberg machine to serve the signature drink or featured dessert. Have your entertainment set off a series of chain reactions around the room that end in one final grand flourish. This theme is all about the process and the spectacle of it all – turning the mundane into the entertainment.”

Inspiration: Fashion
Theme: Everlasting style
Contributor: Jessica Symons, Event Coordinator and fashionista

“Style is a carefully crafted art form and a fabulous means of self-expression, which serves as an incredible inspiration for events, with limitless ideas. Your favourite designer could inspire the theme of the event, by featuring their most iconic colours, prints or fabrics in the décor – printed lounge furniture, coloured carpets, elegant light fixtures, coloured lighting, printed bars and appetizer platters or even printed cookies for dessert. You could also feature photos of their work from runways and photoshoots as an eye-catching centerpiece.

“Try incorporating the season’s ‘must have’ styles into the event; feature the Pantone colour of the Year; ask your guests to come decked out in a certain designer or colour; showcase rare accessories, or have a virtual fitting room that allows your guest to try on the newest fashions. Have fun with it – style is unique and sometimes unexpected.”

Inspiration: Yoga and meditation
Theme: Stand like a tree, stretch like a cat
Contributor: Sarah Stockton, Event Coordinator and Yogi

“By theming your event around the overall well-being of its attendees, you can expect a dramatic increase in the program’s satisfaction and engagement. Ditch the norm of office space yoga and integrate an outdoor mindfulness practice to the event. You can group your yogis together for a paddle boarding yoga session (much easier than it sounds), take a gardenside meditation break, or lay in the deep grass following an intense meeting. The sight of an ant can remind them to focus on the small; the feeling of the breeze can help them to breathe big, and the sun on their back will always bring a smile to the face. Bringing creative and dynamic movement to the body will bring creative and dynamic ideas to the work.”

At the end of the day, let choosing your event theme be a fun opportunity to get creative, and to go beyond the ordinary. Your event may not be remembered for being the 1,574th Gatsby themed party, but it just might for being the first Ballet in space themed event.

About the authors

Daniella Bustamante, event coordinator at Managing MattersDaniella Bustamante is an event coordinator at Managing Matters, where she leads and produces a variety of events ranging from networking socials to large scale conferences. Daniella has worked in different facets of the events industry since 2012, from production and experiential marketing to design and planning.

Daniella is an alumni of Seneca College, where she studied event and media production, along with pursuing post-graduate studies in event and exhibit management and design. She has also studied event design at UK Arts Institution, Central Saint Martins.

Her passion for innovation and the creation of unique experiences is a driving force in all projects she works on.

Dela HeadshotDela Kumapley comes armed with experience in corporate, nonprofit, social and consumer events. She is focused on streamlining processes to increase efficiency and workflow. With an analytical eye and a strong creative spirit, Dela strives to stay ahead of industry trends and present fresh ideas, continually producing events that are engaging and innovative.

Currently she produces events for industry associations as part of the team at Managing Matters in Toronto, Canada.

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