20 Unique Event Themes to Keep Your Guests Engaged
When it comes to throwing a successful event, your theme can truly be the make-or-break factor. If you’ve ever attended a party where the theme was overly tacky or missed the mark, you know exactly how important it is to incorporate unique event themes that will tastefully engage your guests. Something to keep in mind: if you’re going a certain direction, run with it. There’s nothing more disappointing than attending an event that has so much potential, but is just short on details. It’s important to go all in (while staying on budget) — otherwise, your guests will be left wondering what the purpose of your entire event was.
A pro tip straight from a pro herself is to plan an event that’s both memorable and on brand. Elise Armitage, an Event Specialist at Google and blogger behind What The Fab, likes to provide fun moments that double as a branding opportunity. “Whether it’s a silhouette artist who cuts out a custom silhouette of your profile and attaches it to cardstock with your branding on it, or an infinity mirror booth with on-brand colors, creating shareable moments that get people excited is key,” Elise says.
Among some of her favorite corporate event themes to date, one Elise found most inspiring was in light of International Women’s Day. “We host a series of events at Google offices around the world in celebration of International Women’s Day, and it’s so inspiring to run with that theme and to be surrounded by empowered women who are excited to grow and connect.”
Using International Women’s Day as an example, remember to keep upcoming holidays and timely events top of mind when brainstorming potential themes.
To ensure your event is memorable (in the best way possible), see our list below for unique event themes and ideas.
20 unique event themes
Think food trucks, a DJ, Instagram-worthy photo opps, and a DIY flower crown station. This idea works great all year round, but especially around festival season (from April through Summer).
2. Comic Con
Invite your guests to let their geek flag fly. Rather than limiting your event to Star Wars or Avengers, for example, this theme opens it up to all the universes.
3. The Roaring Twenties
Encourage attendees to dress to the theme (e.g., suits and flapper dresses). Make Gatsby proud with a speakeasy-style bar featuring craft cocktails and expert mixologists. Oh, and the Charleston is an absolute must.
Turn library cards into invitations and dedicate event tables and cocktails to well-known books. Better yet, have every attendee bring a donation book to enter.
5. Murder Mystery
Require your guests to stay in character as they unfold clues throughout the evening. Not only does this make for an engaging party, but it can also double as a team-building exercise. However, you may want to limit this theme to a more intimate corporate event (of up to 20 people).
Photo by Tyler Mazza
6. Summertime BBQ
You can’t really go wrong with a classic like this one, but its simplicity calls for thinking beyond hot dogs and burgers on the grill. Impress your attendees with backyard games, casual-gourmet fare, and other nostalgic elements. Check out these outdoor event venues.
If special lighting is within your event budget, here’s where you can really wow the crowd. Keep the theme sleek and futuristic. Tron may be a particularly fitting choice for innovative product launches, where the theme can showcase the product.
8. Old Hollywood Glam
We’re talking a red-carpet, black-tie affair. Take it back to Hollywood’s golden era when the stars lived on champagne and elegance. And if the event includes awards or speeches, get into the true spirit of the theme by drawing inspiration from the Oscars.
9. Studio 54
Bring the iconic nightclub back to life with an evening of disco and bell bottoms. Proper lighting is a must, and don’t forget about the retro decor.
10. Late-night brunch
Serve breakfast for dinner featuring mimosas, waffles, and an elevated omelette station. Consider arranging a coffee bar in lieu of cocktails (with the option to spike, of course) with a barista instead of a bartender on hand.
11. Movie night
Take advantage of the Peerspace Concierge Team, whose services include A/V rental. Project a movie on the wall while your guests enjoy cozy seating and classic, movie-theater fare. A DIY popcorn station is just one way you can take this simple theme to the next level.
12. Summer of Love
Recreate San Francisco’s historic Haight-Ashbury neighborhood where all your hippie guests can gather. Emphasize counterculture, art, and music — and be sure to wear flowers in your hair.
13. Monte Carlo
Transform your venue into a luxe casino complete with Blackjack tables and professional dealers. If you really want your guests to feel like they’re in Monaco, require formal attire.
Photo by California Olive Ranch
Although this theme is possible to execute behind walls, an outdoor venue will really drive the theme home. Set up yurts as photo booth installations or as equally Instagrammable lounging areas. Fire pits, s’mores, and blankets are only just the beginning.
15. 80s Prom
Encourage your guests to come donned in their finest 80s garb. Dress code: ruffles, pleats, larger-than-life sleeves, and big hair.
16. Bourbon Street
Skip the exhausted Mardi Gras theme and give your party a real taste of New Orleans. Replace the DJ with a brass band and serve French Creole cuisine, including endless beignets.
17. Mad Men
Welcome the Don Drapers and Peggy Olsons to an evening reminiscent of 1960s New York, minus the cigarettes. You’ll also want to offer ample hors d’oeuvres since this era calls for hard beverages.
Go beyond the expected carnival theme by putting an elevated spin on nostalgic, summery nosh. Think gourmet funnel cakes and sliders, and gold cotton candy. For an authentic seaside feel, add twinkling lights and unique games that will entertain guests all night. Ferris wheel optional.
19. Around the World
Passport invitations are required for “travel.” As your guests make their way around the globe, give them a literal taste of each destination with localized small bites and authentic cultural experiences.
20. Wellness Fest
Give your event a health or fitness angle by arranging an instructor-led class and a menu that’s equally delicious as it is good for you. It’ll give employees or guests an opportunity to mingle without waking up with a hangover the following morning.
If you’re ever short on inspiration, look to social media and fully utilize the platforms’ tools as Elise does. “I’m always finding new event inspiration on Instagram and have a whole collection where I save anything I come across that might inspire me for my next event,” Elise says. And don’t forget about Pinterest, either. It contains a wealth of unique event ideas and can serve as a helpful search engine.
Lastly, consider it homework to note your favorite details at the next event you attend. Remember what you loved and didn’t quite like, and use that as a benchmark when planning your own soirée. Because who knows? The beginning elements of your next event theme may be right in front of you.
Bring your creative theme to life in an equally creative location. From warehouses to lofts, Peerspace has thousands of spaces to make your event shine.