This sort of ties in with the audience question, above. What activities are you planning for the guests at your event? This can be a big space consideration, especially at a wedding, where dancing is typically expected. Do you have enough space for your activities? Do you have a clearly defined space for them, or will you have to clear away one part of the party to make room for another?
Whether you’re throwing a wedding, birthday party, or shower, how will you entertain your guests? Board games? Charades? Shower games? Scrapbooking? Photo booths? Will you make a wishing tree, or use a traditional guestbook, or paint onesies? Will you start a massive game of capture the flag, or decorate cookies, or play beer pong?
When you start thinking about party themes, your party activities may or may not heavily feature in the planning process. But unless you know how your guests will spend their time, the details of your theme will be murky.
Again, I like to use examples, so here goes:
Say I’m asked to plan out a party. The honoree likes my “Born on the Fourth of July” inspiration board, so I’m working with a red, white, and blue palette and going for an old-fashioned feel. If the activities for the day included a sack race and a game of Blind Man’s Bluff, the party would have a very different overall feeling than if guests spent their time creating ice cream sundaes, or if they pulled taffy by hand or played a Tiddly Winks tournament. These would all be pretty standard Victorian-era party activities, consistent with the theme of the party, but would yield dramatically different results with your overall party theme.
Even at a wedding, a careful planner will consider what the guests will be doing. Will there be a large enough dance floor for everyone? Is there a photo booth? A fun guest book? A sweets table or candy bar? A slide show? Trading card favors? Or are your guests more of the “stand around and enjoy each other’s company” variety?
Keeping guests busy at a party is one of the hardest jobs for any planner; it involves a thorough knowledge of your party space and your audience, and (hopefully) a good deal of thought. We’ve all been to parties where we were bored to tears (or worse, uncomfortable with strange getting-to-know-you games that didn’t make a lot of sense). Tying your theme and your activities together helps you to have a clearer picture of what your guests will be doing, and helps your guests to better enjoy your careful planning.