Dinner parties have come a long way in recent years, sometimes taking on the shape of fun themed events. No matter what your personal interests, you can find or create the perfect dinner party theme. Some popular themed dinner ideas may range from murder mystery or Clue! parties to decade or era parties, celebrity lookalike parties, or dinner parties centered on a particular event or holiday, like a Mardi Gras (Carnival) or Fat Tuesday party. You can also follow your creative vision to produce a dinner party theme that best fits your plans for menu and atmosphere. The dynamics of your guest list can also help to determine the best kind of themed dinner to host at your home.
Throwing a themed dinner takes a little planning, and that planning often takes on a life of its own once you get started. Consider these tips to help you throw a fun and successful themed dinner.
Choosing a Theme
Picking the theme of your dinner party can be a lot of fun, especially if you are teaming up with a friend or family member to host. Consider themes centering on the type of food you will serve (fondue, ethnic cuisine, seafood fry, etc.), popular entertainment selections (books, movies, shows), holidays (mainstream or the obscure), eras (particular decades or main chunks of history – Prohibition, the Renaissance, etc.), dessert party, formal dinner party, or a wine or beer pairing party, to name a few.
The theme of the party doesn’t have to tie directly into costume or food, either. You can host a trivia party, board game party, or other fun and interactive night of social shenanigans.
Inviting Your Guests
Decide whether you will do a printed invitation or a digital one. You can even create your event on social media for added interaction. Consider if your themed dinner requires a certain number of guests be present or if it is possible to have too many attendees. When you reach out to invite everyone, be sure to share any pertinent details on the theme, especially as far as dress code and any other special requests.
Planning the Menu
Once you have your theme in mind, you can have a lot of fun deciding on the menu. Use resources like Pinterest and your favorite recipe sites to nail down must-have entrees, appetizers, and desserts. And be sure not to neglect the drinks! You can come up with a festive, delicious punch recipe or some tasty cocktails to coordinate with your theme.
Creating the Atmosphere
Depending on the theme you choose, your dinner party may benefit from some related decorations or props. Plan this aspect of your themed party well in advance in case you have to order items online or break out your craft supplies to create centerpieces, backdrops, and other fun decorations.
Consider these fun ways to spice up the atmosphere of your next themed party:
- Create a DIY “photo booth.” Gather some real accessories or some printed ones that go along with your theme. You can also create different backgrounds to use for your photos. Be sure to place a Selfie Stick nearby to allow guests to capture great shots with ease.
- Create a music playlist. Music goes a long way in setting the right mood. Set up the playlist on your stereo, computer, or a Bluetooth speaker to allow your guests to have a little fun setting the tunes.
- Coordinate your dinner table to match the theme. Choose linens and tableware that work well with the timeframe or theme you’ve selected. If possible, feature a centerpiece that ties everything together.
- Choose the right lighting. For a funky dance party, try to introduce more color or movement with lights. For a romantic party, use low, warm lights. Consider a selection of candles for an elegant party. You get the idea.
- Think of setting the atmosphere as giving your party venue its personality. You can create any mood you like with a little creativity and a few small efforts to set up the décor.
Adding the Finishing Touches
Once you have the theme, the guests, the menu, and the atmosphere, your party is almost ready to go. In fact, you could probably just host the party from that moment and enjoy a fine evening of fun, whether elegant, amusing or somewhere in between. Still, there are a few additional things you could do to really put the icing on the cake for your themed dinner. Here are some suggestions:
- Consider icebreakers. If you plan to invite friends from different social circles, it can be a nice touch to introduce everyone with a casual game or activity to break the ice.
- Think about the small details. If you have time and you’re feeling particularly creative, you can make up place cards for the guests, crafty nametags for the food, and other themed additions to the setup.
- Decide if you will give guests goodie bags or party favors. While it’s not necessary, some themed parties tie everything together at the end of the night this way.
- Keep your smartphone or camera handy. Beyond all else, you are going to want to capture your guests and their attire, or at least some fun memories from the evening. Snap away!
These are just a few ideas to get you started in planning a successful and memorable themed dinner. Remember that there really is no right or wrong way to host such an event.