In previous guides I have outlined some sure winners when it comes to throwing an outdoor or dinner party – from ensuring the right ambience such as hanging Chinese lanterns to making your guests comfortable with the right music.
If you want that added stroke of flair however, there’s nothing like a themed party to make a get-together more fun. With a little creativity and forethought, you can make it an unforgettable night.
To help you get a kick start, in the next few guides I will suggest some of the most successful themed party ideas to choose from.
1 – Caribbean Getaway
Aim – obviously one for summer time, you want to create an air of sunshine, beaches and general holiday cheer.
While you can’t be expected to replicate a beach itself, with a few touches like renting some palm trees, colourful lighting and clothing, some classic Reggae tunes plus great looking fruit cocktails, people will soon forget they’re in Blighty and let their hair down. For added laughs once those cocktails have kicked in, set up a limbo stick.
A BBQ would be the perfect food solution, or if the weather fails you could easily serve a Caribbean-style fish in coconut milk.
2 – Arabian Nights
Aim – think moonlit deserts, rich fabrics, Bedouin tents and soothing yet exotic music.
Try to decorate the main room like an opulent harem with loads of cushions and drapes. If you have a garden, the ultimate would be to host the party in a glamorous white tent with flame torches lighting the way to the entrance. Have lots of candles and lanterns on the go. Your female guests can have fun dressing as belly dancers.
Succulent, spicy meat dishes with rice plus rich, creamy cocktails would do the trick for this theme, with perhaps some Turkish Delight for dessert.
3 – Alfresco Dinner Party
Aim – another theme that would be ideal for a balmy evening. The thought here is elegant summer dining combined with a touch of rustic chic.
To achieve the atmosphere, set the tables with white linen or gingham tablecloths, vintage dinnerware, vases of country flowers and delicate lanterns. If you have a garden, add extra magic by threading fairy lights through the trees and use hurricane lamps to line the pathway. Champagne or chilled white wine will be ideal, and for a non-alcoholic option you could offer elderflower cordial.
You will want to serve simple grilled food with colourful salads, plus lovely fresh fruit and cream for dessert.
4 – Casablanca
Aim – the Casablanca theme is derived from the classically famous 1940′s movie, it is all about romance and style.
Guests will need to dress in the dinner clothing mode of the era – ideally the men are aiming for the Humphrey Bogart look and the women of course will want to be as sophisticated as Ingrid Bergman. Try to make the party area look like Rick’s Café in the movie, complete with palm trees and of course swish cocktails. A fabulous touch would be to have a pianist playing As Time Goes By and other 40s gems.
Any elegant dinner party food will do, such as a roasted lamb, but the main thing to get right is copious amounts of champagne!
5 – Big Band Swing Party
Aim – this type of party is for the lively, it’s all about the cool music of the 20s and 30s for lots of dancing (meaning you’ll need to have a fair sized dancing space).
Set the mood with silhouette cut outs of jazz musicians playing the saxophone and photos of famous jazz musicians from the era. If possible place small tables around the side of the room with candles so people can sit down and relax in-between dances as if they were at one of those stylish night clubs of old. Should you really want to splash out and have the space, you could even hire a live band.
To ensure energy levels remain high, have lots of canapés on hand. And as per the stylish jazz culture of the time, you’ll want to serve suave cocktails such as Martinis and Cosmopolitans.
In addition to fail-proof party ideas such as creating an inviting atmosphere with Chinese lanterns and having enough food and beverages on tap, you can add some real spice into an evening by making it a themed event.
About the Author: Jasmine Chu is a decorator and independent retailer of Chinese lanterns.