If you’ve ever attended a themed fundraiser or gala, you’ve seen firsthand how much work goes into pulling it off. What you may not have seen (unless you were on the gala committee) was how much time it takes to put such an event together. By spring 2021, galas and fundraisers will start to come back. They may be smaller and still involve some social distance, but planning how to host a themed party can start now.
Scope Out Venues
Everyone may be thinking what you’re thinking: Next year, we can party. Start your research now about the availability of venues for the size of the event you’re planning. Some may not know their reopening plan yet, but others will at least have tentative availability. Many will have virtual tours online, so an in-person site visit won’t be necessary until everyone is comfortable that it is safe. Whether you are looking for a ballroom or a backyard, the availability of desirable venues will affect the date and time you select for your event.
Select a Theme
Select a theme that connects to the reason you’re throwing the party in the first place. Perhaps you’re honoring an astronaut, and a space flight theme is an obvious choice (But keep it to the science, not the science fiction. Your astronaut went into orbit, not to Tatooine!).
Forget about the old, tired casino nights, tropical themes, or circus tents. Instead, choose a general theme that celebrates the decade the organization you are supporting was founded or the year it accomplished a goal. A musical style, fashion era or designer, or visual artist can be inspirations for your theme. You could even consider hosting an adult prom building on the decade idea, complete with a King and Queen and outfits that recall the era you are celebrating.
Guest List and Invitations
Nothing deflates the balloons at a themed party more than guests who don’t get into it. Huge events with large crowds are probably not coming back for a long time, so you’ll have the opportunity to work on truly crafting a guest list. Include the stylish, fashion-forward types, the sparkling conversationalists, the dance floor contortionists (so amusing!), and the magnificently mysterious people that you know will bring the theme to life.
Your invitation sets the tone. Choose colors and design carefully. If you’re anticipating a joyful, exuberant bash, your invitation’s colors and design should reflect the upbeat vibe. If you’re going for elegance and historical context, choose muted colors and traditional typefaces.
Food, Drink, and Décor
This is where so many themed parties go overboard. A few tasteful (and delectable) appetizers and one showpiece dessert should do the trick for coordinating with the theme. For dinner events, décor is more about colors and appropriately sized centerpieces than excessive tinsel and knick-knacks. Your tables should leave enough space for the eight or ten people sitting there to dine comfortably. Work with your caterer to provide a meal that subtly evokes the era your theme expresses or a favorite dish of your honoree.
Themed events can be a blast if you think ahead about how to host a themed party. Cheers!