11 Themes To Turn Around Your Last Minute Event

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Need a theme for your last-minute event? We’ve got some creative ideas for you. Read on.

Themes provide cohesion and when done well can be incredibly engaging. However, a Hollywood-type theme can take months and months of planning. What are your theme choices if you’re planning a last-minute event? You might be surprised just how many things can come together in a very short time.

The problem with a lot of last-minute themes is that they can look last-minute and they’ve been done hundreds of times before. This list of themes is all about originality as well as the ability to throw it together quickly.



Last-minute themes are all about what’s on hand and what you’re already working with. Take a hint from your venue. What do you think of when looking at your location? Is it a museum? How about a Night at the Museum theme? Is it an estate? A garden party can be quite lovely and comes together easily in such a setting. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and energy if you use your venue as the muse.

Time of Year

Another easy last-minute idea comes from the calendar. What time of year is it? Is it fall? How about a harvest celebration? Is it winter? A crystal palace of ice and snow might be fitting. These sorts of themes are easy to put together because there are many decor options on the shelves and chances are your caterer has seasonal options too.

You can also draw inspiration from holidays that just passed like Santa Missed a Stop Christmas party in January. It’s a bonus because you can peruse all the clearance racks after the holiday. It will also give attendees a laugh.

Mix Like a Bartender

Do you have some leftover decor from a couple of parties but not enough to use any in their entirety? Then try mixing two different themes for unique, and sometimes hilarious, results. How about a Paris Hoedown mixing decor from the City of Lights and the Old West? Or a Fear Factor Taste Of party that mixes challenges with strange foods.

If these ideas are a little too wacky, you can select something more demure by pairing a casual material with a dressy flourish in a diamonds and denim event.

Foodie Delight

Speaking of food, one of the easiest themes to accomplish with no notice is a tasting event. You can use any sort of food theme such as a chili cook off, dessert tasting, cocktail sipping, champagne tasting, a tapas party, or anything you can think of. You can offer tastings or ask your audience to judge their favorites for an interactive component.

Recent Time Periods

Recent time period themes are easy to throw together because you can find a lot of what you need in thrift stores.You may even have some of it in your closets. Musical entertainment can be streamed from a number of playlists from the 80s and 90s already assembled from a streaming music channel.

Color Theme

Select a color and let it influence everything from your food to decor, audience attire to your entertainment. There’s something surreal about an entire room and audience adorned in the same color.


Technology makes a big impression and it can often be rented if you don’t own it yourself. While the available selection may not be top-notch at the last-minute, you may be able to negotiate a little cost reduction. The vendor, if available, may be interested in the equipment being used, not sitting, and might agree to a discount.

Technology can be so surprising that you can often get away with a very minimalistic approach. You trade in heavy decor for the wow factor that comes with tech. For instance, photo booth activities can be broadcast on a big screen during your dinner event in lieu of entertainment. Photo props can be strewn on tables instead of decor. You can post live tweets from your attendees on screens or poll the audience to find out their favorites and post them on a large screen while they wait for things to begin.

Coolest Lounge

A glamorous soiree is always a big hit and with a minimalist approach, it doesn’t take much to create a cool lounge atmosphere. A couple of pieces of glow furniture (those that emit a soft, diffused glow like a cocktail table) provide more than just a spot to rest your drinks. The mood lighting creates an atmosphere and nearly eliminates the need for expensive and time-consuming decor and flower arrangements.


This theme is very similar to the cool lounge idea. The shining star of the event is lighting. Every part of your event theme is beautiful lighting. You can create a starry night, a Chinese lantern festival, or any other type of party where lighting is the focus. Lighting parties can be as simple as selecting unique strings of lights, diaphanous material, and hanging crystals on fishing line to catch the rays and your attendees’ eyes. These types of events possess a dreamy quality that is difficult to forget.

Oh the Places You’ll Go

This is a nice theme when you have a mishmash of decor from different countries. You can use them all and create international stations that feature food and entertainment from the countries. Create fake passports and you have an engaging contest that requires attendees to visit every area to obtain stamps at each stop.

VIP or Movie Premier

Make everyone feel like a VIP when you snap pictures and roll out the red carpet. Give Oscar-style awards for photo opportunities and shoot questions at your attendees over the crowds. Create fake tabloids with the selfies and photos taken that night and hang them in the exit area before guests leave. Invite attendees to take the pics with them.

In Conclusion

There are a lot of pieces to pull together in a last-minute event. But your theme doesn’t have to be one of the major stresses with many minimal options out there that can come together quickly. Remember, keep it creative and your event will form a deep impression on your attendees.

More Ideas and Resources for Themes

25 Event Themes that Ooze Style
9 Great Green Menu Themes
100 Event Theme Ideas
17 More Stylish Event Bars
Event Theming Master Class: 5 Special Event Planners Share Their Learnings