By: Shannon Eason, Fundraising Auctioneer
While on a call this week, the planning committee started dialogue about a theme. “What is our theme?” and “Should we have a theme?”
Those are great questions, so I googled it…and came up with some great info I wanted to share. Having a theme can benefit an event in many ways, but it does come with a few drawbacks. So should your event be themed or theme-less?
Benefits of having a theme:
It can make your event memorable. A theme can make your event distinctive and memorable for guests. By selecting a theme that is unique and fully committing to it, you can wow your attendees and drive your event message home.
It can help steer your event planning. Having a theme in place can help dictate your event planning decisions. A theme can provide a rough guideline for your event so that you can streamline your planning process.
It can engage your guests. A theme creates a point of difference that will be compelling for your guests. Themed audiovisual elements or a themed dress code will help your guests be fully committed to your event and immersed in the event experience.
It can reinforce your event message. If chosen well, a theme can elevate your event message, help with your branding and make an impact on your guests. In order to enhance your event message, your theme should be chosen with your event objective in mind and at the forefront of your planning process.
The drawbacks of having a theme:
It can limit your choices. After selecting a theme, your event decisions will be driven by it. While this isn’t always a problem (it can give you focus and clarity in the planning process), having a theme can make your event decisions more limited.
It might distract from your messaging. If executed well, a theme can help reinforce your event message and key takeaways, but if your theme doesn’t meld with your event objective, it can do the complete opposite. You’ll want your guests to remember your event for its message, not just the theme. So if you think a theme might distract from your message and branding, it’s better to go without.
If you choose to have a theme-less event, you can still make an impact through unique styling and a branded color scheme. Creative lighting i.e.; up lights, tea lights, Edison bulbs…and decorations can help deliver your branding and boost your event message.
If you choose to have a theme, you can promote it through your AV components, dress code, invitations, programs, marketing, décor, entertainment, food and music.
Stuck for ideas? Here are a few themes that we have participated in that have been successful: country western, roaring 20s, the 80s, the 90s, pop star, masquerade, acrobatic and circus theme, black and gold, red and black, Disney characters, super heroes, jungle theme…. While a theme should have a strong presence and be consistent across your event, it can be as flexible as you’d like it to be!