Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Event Design Series - Day 5: Theme { Sponsored Post }

Continuing our discussion of event design (and please, make it a discussion by commenting)...

More about our Event Design Series here at Day 1, and where the questions came from

Day 5: Theme: Why does theme matter in special events?

Dozens of volunteers came together for this SE Portland gala and auction and raised over $75,000 for the school foundation. The theme was "Put A Bird On It".

I think theme matters because I want guests to be comfortable, and it's hard to be comfortable if you don't understand your environment. I don't want a guest to receive an invitation that sets one type of expectation, register on a website with yet another theme or design, and then arrive at the event where the room is one formality level, but the food service is a different style, and so on. An organized, cohesive theme makes people feel comfortable and immerses them more completely in the experience you're trying to give them.

A theme helps us organize the environment and the experiences surrounding the event.


Do you have to have a theme? If by theme, you mean  "Circus", "Casino Night", or "Denim and Diamonds", I think the answer is no. Certainly these highly defined party themes can work, depending on your event, but I don't think they are necessary. One trend I enjoy is the use of one-word themes that, while allowing the planner to style the event, are open for interpretation -- for example, "Revolution" , "Ignite" or "Transcend". It also depends on your group. One successful theme we did recently was for a SE Portland school auction. Portlandia is still a party theme touchstone, and this group decided on "Put a Bird On It" for their theme. You can imagine that this had endless applications.

Have you used a theme to pull an event together recently? How did it go? Please feel free to share in the comments. Don't forget to tweet, +1, or share on Facebook if you found this interesting and helpful.

Today's Portland Event Planner blog post is sponsored by the LA Shop, offering many trade show and expo items at discounted prices.
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