When and Where?
This question may also sound like an obvious one, especially if you’ve already chosen a time, date, and place. But any themed ideas you come up with should have as much to do with the timing and location of your event as with the type of event.
For example, if I were planning a wedding and needed to come up with a theme, I’d first want to know the season in which the wedding will be taking place. This will help determine what flowers are seasonally available, what decorative elements will easily be accessible, and what the bridal party should wear. Then I’d want to know the basic characteristics of the location where the wedding was taking place. If I’m planning an outdoor wedding in the dead of winter in a snowy locale, it’s not very practical to put my bridesmaids in yellow cotton shifts and give them bouquets of rannunculus and lily of the valley. But that very same bridesmaid dress-and-flower combination would be perfect at a summery outdoor ceremony. And a fur wrap with a long burgundy brocade and a bouquet of roses and mistletoe – or pinecones! – would look a little strange on an eighty-degree day.
Sometimes it’s all about the details – the same color of bridesmaid dress might be just as perfect during the winter as the summer, but you’d pair it with different accessories. For example, both of these weddings (one summer, one winter) use gray bridesmaid dresses – but the winter one pairs the dress up with a white fur while the summer one uses a pop of bright yellow.
Likewise, the time of day of a wedding plays a big part in the planning. A sunset ceremony and candlelit dinner will have a distinctly different feeling than a morning ceremony followed by an informal bunch on the lawn. You’ll want to have different food, different fashion, and different decor.
Even for non-wedding events, such as showers and birthday parties, timing plays a huge part. A bridal shower brunch will serve different food than a bridal shower tea or a bridal shower dinner (think quiche and mimosas, versus cucumber sandwiches and iced tea, versus a pasta dish with wine). You may be planning your party in a different locale based on the time of day (that patch of lawn might be lovely in the morning but without some shade may be wiltingly hot at 2 pm; likewise, the seaside bluff may be perfect midday but have a chilly breeze in the evening).
Think about the basic when and where of your event before finalizing thematic details and you’ll be able to ensure that all the elements work together.