31 Days to an Awesome Party: Selecting a Theme (Day One)

For a complete listing of the topics in this series, see the bottom of this post.  

An awesome party doesn’t happen overnight.  It can take weeks of planning, buying, crafting and creating.  For each of our 31 days in this series, we will tackle a different aspect of party planning.  And by the end, you should be on your way to an awesome, dynamic and fun party.

If you have an event coming up, don’t stress yourself out by trying to pull off a great party in a week.  Start early.  As a former wedding and event planner, I start early . . . way early.  But I’m getting ahead of myself (again).

The series will be 31 days.  But since I’ve cut back on blogging, we won’t be running it every day.  I hope you’ll join us as we work our way to a well thought out and fun party.  If there is anything you would like me to talk about, let me know by leaving a comment or sending me an email.

Selecting  a Theme (Day One)

The first questions to ask are:  who are my guests and what is the purpose of the party.  If your party is for a particular holiday, you’ve got an easy theme.  But if you are throwing a birthday party, anniversary party, shower or other event, you may need to think a bit more.

Let’s Brainstorm:

* What are the interests of the guest of honor?  For a child’s party, what is his or her favorite toy, sport or hobby?  For a couple (bridal shower or anniversary), what are their interests, where are they from, how did them meet?

My son is completely obsessed with trains.  His last birthday party was a train party at a 1/8 scale railroad.  A recent bridal shower I attended, focused on a book theme because the bride loved to read and met her fiance at a library.

* What is the overall feeling you want to create at your party?  In a couple words, describe the atmosphere you want your guests to experience.  Your description may be:  relaxed and comfy, informal, formal, colorful, trendy, vintage, childlike, sophisticated, warm, friendly, creative and inspiring, fun, entertaining, exciting . . . Let the words you’ve selected guide the development of your theme.

* Can you play on a season?  How about an era?

* Maybe you don’t want a theme per se, but rather will go with a color scheme and tie that through your entire party.  What colors fit the guest of honor?  What colors draw you in every time you see them?  What colors fit your descriptive words from above?

* Search the internet for ideas.  There are several sites I go to if I am trying to select a theme.  I suggest starting with Pinterest.  Search for the kind of party you are planning (i.e. baby shower, boy’s birthday party).  I also like Kara’s Party Ideas and Catch My Party.

Oriental Trading is another source for ideas.  While the themes may be the more common ones, you can put your own creative twist on it.  I also like to check out Coolest Birthday Cakes.  Sometimes, a cake will catch my eye and I have a great party spinning around in my head.  Even the smallest idea or detail can turn into a great party.

Assignment:  Think of a party you will be throwing in the next six months (or if you plan ahead like me, make it the next year).  Work through the brainstorming thoughts and questions with this particular party in mind.  Search the internet for ideas and decide upon your theme.

And while you are over at Pinterest searching for your next party theme, be sure to follow me and find out what parties are catching my eye.
Follow Me on Pinterest

Do you have a great theme in mind?  What was your last party theme?  Do share!

Series at a Glance:
Day One:  Selecting a Theme (here)
Day Two:  Choosing a Location
Day Three:  Guest List & Time
Day Four:  The Party Budget
Day Five:  10 Cost Cutting Ideas
Day Six:  Choosing A Menu
Day Seven:  Choosing a Color Scheme
Day Eight:  Party Decorations
Day Nine:  The Party Table Display

{Ok, I’ve gotten completely sidetracked and haven’t added to this series for awhile.  It will happen!}

 Disclosure:  This post contains affiliate links.  Please see my disclosure policy on the About page.


  1. Hi Kristen, I’m Anne from Life on the Funny Farm (http://annesfunnyfarm.blogspot.com), and I’m visiting from the Pinteresting Party.

    Great having the perspective of a party planner. I’m one of those that doesn’t put enough pre-planning into it, and then I’m scrambling at the end, so this should be very helpful to me!

    Anyway, thanks for posting this. I hope you can pop by my blog sometime to say hi…

  2. Cute idea, I love your blog.

    P.S. I’m doing a $50 Shabby Apple giveaway on my blog. You should check it out here: http://meandmr.com/post/35113285949/shabby-apple-50-giveaway

  3. Kristen, Great tips! I am getting a little nervous about Little Brother’s 2nd bday as we are moving to our new house around that time… we hope. I always begin planning and buying a month ahead but feel stumped on this one… thoughts? advice? Wanna come decorate and throw the party for me!?! 🙂 haha!
    Mackenzie 🙂

    • Ooh, that can make a party tricky! My first thoughts are to have the party elsewhere (see day 2 of this series) so that you aren’t trying to have your house ready for guests while unpacking. Don’t add more stress. If you do want to have it at your home, why not go with a construction theme? Perfect for a 2 year old boy and your state of mind!! You could even add in a little witness in your theme with building your house on the Rock (Matt 7:24-27). I see piles of rocks and little diggers on your buffet table . . .

  4. These are great tips! I LOVE the construction theme too, I thought of that and might have to go with that! 🙂 You are a Featured Favorite this week on Saturday Show & Tell on Cheerios and Lattes! We love having you join us and can’t wait to see you this weekend!
    Mackenzie 🙂