Event Theming History and Background

Published by TransformAdmin on May 10, 2018

If you’re new to the world of corporate or professional events, then you may have come across a term called ‘event theming’. But what exactly is it, and where does it originate from?

The Origin of Theming

The term refers to the use of an unique event theme that combines with an event space in a way that is both holistic and integrated. This essentially means combining different elements of design under one single unifying concept that makes sense to the people and which gives them a sense of recognition and engagement with the event itself.

The concept was attributed to one of the biggest leading lights in the field, Mark Gottdiner, who published his thoughts in 2000 in the book ‘New Forms of Consumption: Consumers, Culture and Commodification’. His thoughts were further developed the following year in his book ‘The Theming of America: Dreams, Media Fantasies and Themed Environments’. In these books he began to explore the idea of event theming and its increasing application across American culture.

Why is It Used for Events?
So why exactly do events planners focus so much on themes for their events? Well, the main reason is that the right theme can help to make any event truly memorable. Secondly, it can also help to create a niche for that event. A memorable niche event which generates engagement, buzz and excitement in attendees – and interest in those around the occasion – is the ideal situation for event hosts and planners alike.

How Are Event Themes Applied?
When an event is themed, every planned element will be designed to integrate with the overall theme and to reinforce the idea of that theme. Take a large corporate dinner with a Narnia theme, for example. The diners might enter the banquet hall or marquee through a wardrobe door and then find themselves in a magical wonderland where the tables and surroundings have been decorated with imagery and accessories from the book – everything from ‘snow’ through to pine cones and glittering baubles. The waiting and events team might be dressed in character from the book, and the menu itself might reference chapters and events that feature in the story. The music would be chosen to tie in with the theme, the place cards might incorporate characters with the guests’ names, and there might even be accessories for diners to dress up in. The only limits are the creativity of the organisers and the budget and scope available.

There are as many themes as there are creative ideas! Themes can include films and characters, periods of time and historical moments, the seasons, famous pairings, nature and animal themes, food themes, astrological themes, superhero themes, colours, famous pieces of music or art, popular culture iconography and more. Event organisers will work with the client to understand whether there are any potential themes which resonate with their own interests and values or the purpose of the event itself, and then use these inputs to create event theming ideas. For a memorable event, a theme really can be the best way to create that engagement, emotional connection and excitement, leading to an unforgettable experience and a real buzz for guests and the host alike.

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