The Art of Subtle Theming

Capturing the right theme for your event is a genuine art form. When you get it right, the result is both sophisticated and stylish. When you get it wrong, the outcome can be carnivalesque and superficial.

Whilst there’s nothing wrong with embracing a flamboyant Moulin Rouge or Star Wars theme, you need the right vision and a sense of style to make it work.

If you’re looking for ways to successfully implement a theme, here are some ideas.


A positive and memorable food experience is essential to the success of any event, and the right theme can improve and elevate guest perception. When you build a story into your food stations, canapés, entrées and desserts, you can convey the event’s message to guests without overwhelming them.


Very few events don’t offer a bar service and beverages are another offering that can be presented, to match the event’s theme. Examples include:

  • Themed cocktails, mocktails, and craft sodas
  • Focusing on wine and beer from a certain region


Incorporated a particular colour palette into the linens, decor, lighting, and other elements can create a consistent and logical appearance.

You can use your client’s logo colours or a shade that represents the purpose of the event (e.g. green for sustainability) and create a visual landscape that makes sense and has personality.

AMBX lighting is a fantastic technology that can transform a room in an instant with a single or selection of colours.

Floral Decor

Flowers are not just for weddings. They can add a fresh and organic element to any type of event. If you’re using a specific colour palette to complement the evening’s theme, choose flowers of a similar shade. Small trees such as evergreen or palm can contribute nicely to a Christmas or summer gala.


The majority of events have live music or a DJ, but don’t let this tradition restrict your entertainment choices. You can complement the theme by selecting a form of entertainment that engages the audience. Examples include a roaming magician, hypnotist, portrait painter or comedian.

Event Advertisements

Print materials are used at all stages of an event, from pre-launch to wrap-up. You’re going to need invitations, admission tickets, posters and event programs. Don’t forget about directional signage on-site and post-event thank you cards!

When you work with an experienced and intuitive graphic designer and provide them with direction on the event theme, they can create materials that reinforce the right impression for your guests.

Dress Code

What’s the dress code for the event? Business casual? Black tie? Cocktail chic? Establishing a dress code will provide guests with more than direction on what to wear: they will also get a sense of whether the event is relaxed and casual or a more formal affair.

It’s also a good idea to provide recommendations and suggestions on appropriate attire, as one person’s version of ‘business casual’ may differ from another’s.

Flamboyant, cliched decor and cheap-looking props do not belong at an upscale event. When you develop a theme and incorporate it into fundamental areas, your guests will both understand and appreciate the results without feeling overwhelmed by a too-strong message.

For more information on theming your next event, contact the AlchemyLive team.