Party Ideas and Themes for an Unforgettable Gathering

If you have a group of friends, some good music, and a nice bottle of wine, then you have almost all you need to throw a great party. However, sometimes you want that extra oomph to make your event really unforgettable. 

Whether it’s a party theme, food or drink idea, or fun activity, there are plenty of things you can incorporate to make your party stand out. In this guide from Sophistiplate, we’ll cover 18 party ideas and themes for throwing a truly unforgettable gathering. 

1. Host a Fancy Dinner Party

Is there anything more elevated than a multi-course dinner party? To host one, put some extra thought and effort into planning the menu. All the better if you can have multiple options available for the appetizer, salad, and main courses. 

Begin your dinner party with a cocktail hour abound with plenty of tapas-style for your guests to snack on. Set up your table with candles or lanterns, and add name tags at each place setting for your party guests as a bonus.

2. “Visit” Another Country

If pandemic restrictions are putting a damper on your travel plans, then you can bring any country you want to visit into your home. This can be perfectly combined with a dinner party theme

For instance, if you’re longing to visit Paris, then you can serve your glasses of genuine Champagne, toasted French baguette, and classic French dishes such as escargots, coq au vin, and cassoulet. Set the scene with French cafe music, Eiffel Tower figurines, and garlands made with the country’s flag. 

3. Host a Film Screening

We can’t think of anything more glamorous than a film festival! Bring the same vibes back to your home with an at-home movie screening. To make it feel like the real thing, we’d pick something that was shown at an actual film festival. You can rent a projector just for your special night to show the film. Finish things off with popcorn, candy or dessert, and comfy blankets or seating for the ultimate home theater experience. For a spooky halloween-themed horror movie night, grab some candy corn, a jack-o-lantern, and ask your guests to show up in costumes.

4. Do a Wine Tasting

There are many different ways that you can do a wine tasting. If you want to go all-out, then you can order a special sampler of premium wines from various regions of the world. If you want to narrow it down, you can stick to wines from just one region of the world, keep everything under $20, or taste different brands of the same wine varietal. Pair it with a cheeseboard for snacking. 

5. Host Poker Night

Even if you can’t be there in person, you can still bring some elements of Sin City to your home. If you and your guests know how to play poker, then this can be an incredibly glamorous activity to set off the party. Make sure to have plenty of snacks and cocktails to keep your guests satiated during the (sometimes) long game. If you want to raise the stakes, then ask your guests to show up ready with some cash. 

6. Host a Mixology Class

If you’re intrigued by the art of mixology, then you can host a cocktail-making class at home. If you don’t know the first thing about making cocktails, then you can easily hire a professional mixologist to host the class. Gather the necessary ingredients and don’t forget to end the night by trying all the cocktails or shots you and your guests have created. 

7. Host an (at-Home) Music Festival

If you can’t make it to a music festival this year, then try to replicate something similar at home with your favorite genre of music. If your budget allows for it, then hiring a live band or DJ can really make the party feel impressive. Use your backyard to set up tents, bean bags, and—of course—a bar! Don’t forget to introduce some music festival props and decorations, such as strobe lights. Use confetti, decoration DIYs, and anything you can think of to make the setting perfect for Instagram

8. Host a Karaoke Competition

Karaoke is an activity that fits almost any party theme. Raise the stakes by turning it into a competition. Do this by asking your guests to come prepared with a song (and even a dance routine) to perform in front of others. 

In the end, have a panel of judges (in the style of American Idol) to pick the winner of the competition. Karaoke is also the perfect activity for a birthday party full of kids. You can incorporate party hats, cakes or cupcakes, and party favors for bonus points.

9. Bust Some Moves With Saturday Night Fever

Everyone knows and loves the classic disco tunes that instantly transform us into a dancing mood. Set up a dance floor at your party, set up a disco ball, and deck out the space in glitter. Ask your guests to come dressed up in their best tribute to the 70s with flared trousers, platform shoulders, and extra-big hair.  

10. Hit a Beach Club

Did you know that you can fill your house or backyard with sand to create beach vibes? While the clean-up may be a bit hard, it can perfectly recreate the vibes that make beach parties so laid-back. 

Set up your space with lounge chairs for sitting around. Ask your guests to show up in all-white attire. Last (but not least) make sure to serve plenty of our favorite summer cocktails, such as margaritas, daiquiris, and piña coladas (don’t forget to add some cute straws). 

11. Host a Garden Tea Party

Tea parties are the epitome of luxury. If you’re throwing an afternoon party, then this theme will be perfect for you. Include plenty of cucumber sandwiches, bite-sized baked treats, and—of course—tea! Ask your guests to come dressed in their most elegant daytime attire (pearls optional!). 

12. Booze It Up at Brunch

Is there anything more delicious than brunch? While we’re used to heading to a restaurant to get our fix of mimosas and eggs benedict, throwing a brunch party at home means you get to avoid the crazy crowds that form around brunch time. 

Decorate your table with a bright table setting to make it super Instagrammable. Keep your menu as elaborate as possible, with all kinds of cocktails, main dishes, and sweet treats—which should be enough to keep you going well past daytime hours. 

13. Host a Barbecue Cookout

If you want to keep things casual and laid-back, then a backyard BBQ will get all your guests well-fed while keeping party planning to a minimum. Recreate classic backyard vibes with lawn chairs, a campfire, and a red checkered tablecloth. Keep cleanup to a minimum with high-quality disposable tableware

14. Celebrate Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest is one of the most popular events in Munich, Germany—which is a week-long festival dedicated to the nation’s favorite beverage. If you’re a beer aficionado, then you can have your own celebration of the beverage by throwing an Oktoberfest-themed party. 

This can be accomplished in your backyard with long wooden tables, checkered tablecloth, and plenty of large beer glasses. Better yet, try to rent out a small pub just for the evening. This will give you much more access to different varieties of beer (and save you on clean-up time). 

15. Compete in a Sport

Playing a team sport can be a great way to get your guests pumped up—especially if there’s a sport they really enjoy. Options like football and soccer can get everyone involved, regardless of skill level. Split your guests up into random teams and remember to have fun when playing! Finish off the evening with a hearty, restorative meal. And don’t forget the cocktails!

16. Throw It Back With a Slumber Party

If you’re feeling nostalgic for your childhood slumber parties, then invite your friends over to spend the night. Watch some movies, make a pillow fort, and play games like truth-or-dare. Make sure to have plenty of snacks to last you the entire night. Chocolate, ice cream, chips, burgers on the grill, or anything that sounds great will be perfect. To keep the slumber party grown-up, make sure to keep the wine flowing!

17. Pet Some Puppies

Did you know that you can rent puppies to play with for a day? Aside from being lots of fun, petting small pets can be an incredibly healing experience. Some benefits include lowered stress, blood pressure, and cholesterol—amongst many others. If you’re craving some cuddling in your life, then bring some puppies to your party. Your guests will surely appreciate it!

18. Host a Wellness Party

When we think of parties, the first things that come to mind are usually music and booze. But if you want to take things in another direction, then there’s no reason to do it alone. Invite your friends over for a day full of wellness activities, such as yoga, meditation, and massage. Serve healthy foods and beverages, such as infused water, green juice, and dishes that make you feel amazing on the inside. 

A Night To Remember 

The key to hosting a truly unforgettable gathering lies in putting some extra thought and effort into the small details. From your decorations to your food and drink menu to your activities, take this opportunity to really show off your party-planning skills. 

Whatever you need, Sophistiplate has all the party favorites that will make your event truly stand out. 

Our Sources:

The Art of the Dinner Party | The New York Times 

Cannes Film Festival 2021: The List Of Winners | The New York Times 

The 35 Best Disco Songs Ever | Billboard 

Pets can be fun—especially when you rent them: Meet Puppy Paradise | CNBC 

Healthy Recipes | NYT Cooking 

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