60 Unique Party Theme Ideas for Your Next Celebration

Animal Themed Birthday Party

Finding Lovely

If you're planning a celebration in the near future, we're sharing 60 unique party theme ideas to give you inspiration for a party to remember. From a magical unicorn theme and a colorful Andy Warhol-inspired party, to a fun beach bash and playful rubber duck baby shower, this collection of party themes has plenty of ideas for every season and occasion. Choosing a party theme is a great way to make it extra special and help you narrow down everything from the menu you serve to the decorations you put up.

When trying to decide on a theme, consider a couple factors: what milestone are you celebrating? If it's an individual, what are their favorite things or hobbies? What season of the year is it and will this be a formal or more casual gathering? Once you've narrowed that down, think about what theme best suits your party. Make sure to read till the end for helpful party planning tips—such as what can be done ahead so you're not scrambling to finish setting up an hour before guests arrive! Now, let's get the party started.

  • 01 of 60

    Unicorn Birthday Party

    Pastel colored unicorn themed party decor

    Finding Lovely

    Make a birthday party extra magical with the most magical creatures of them all—a unicorn! For this whimsical party theme, go with a soft pastel color palette and layer it with lots of glitter and iridescent accents. Incorporate the theme into the party food with unicorn toppers for a cake and cupcakes, and cookies or cake pops in the shape of unicorns.

  • 02 of 60

    Beach Bash

    Beach themed party table with colorful decor

    Kelsey Klos

    Celebrate summer with a colorful beach bash. Instead of party balloons, use beach balls, mixing different sizes and colors for dimension and contrast. Hang colorful streamers, swap out a traditional tablecloth or runner for a beach towel, and serve beach-themed treats such as ice cream, watermelon slices, or boardwalk fries.

  • 03 of 60

    Pink Baby Shower

    Pink balloon arch with baby's breath tucked into the balloons

    Musings by Madison

    Go classic with a pink baby shower theme to celebrate the mom-to-be in your life. Add a balloon arch and to make it extra special, use different hues of pink and varying balloon sizes, tucking in small branches of baby's breath for a sweet touch. Check local party planning businesses in your area that offer balloon arch installations, or for a more budget-friendly option, purchase a DIY kit to set up your own.

  • 04 of 60

    Pop Art Birthday

    Pop art themed birthday with colorful decor and artwork

    Kelsey Klos

    Draw inspiration from Andy Warhol's work with a pop art party theme. It offers endless possibilities when it comes to decorations, table settings, activities, and party food and favors. Hang Warhol-style portraits, use bright-colored floral centerpieces, and send everyone home with an iced sugar cookie in the shape of a can of Campbell's soup, a paint palette, or bananas as a nod to some of the artist's most iconic works.

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  • 05 of 60

    Spa Themed Party

    Spa party decor in pastel colors

    Kelsey Klos

    Invite your friends to a spa themed party complete with monogrammed robes and flip-flops. Create a personalized makeup bag for every guest that they can take home at the end of the night, filling it with fun self-care items such as nail polish and mani-pedi tools, face masks, and hair scrunchies.

  • 06 of 60

    Cookie Decorating Party

    Table set with holiday decor and cookie decorating supplies

    Pop of Gold

    Host a cookie decorating party to get everyone in the holiday spirit! Bake enough cookies for everyone to have a dozen to take home and prepare festive treat boxes to package them. For a tasty cookie that's simple to bake, go with sugar cookies and set out piping bags with different colored icing and bowls of cute sprinkles to decorate them.

  • 07 of 60

    Lego Party

    Lego party table decorations

    Finding Lovely

    Any little Lego enthusiast will love this adorable party theme! Choose a color scheme, then use square-shaped dinner and dessert plates to echo a Lego shape, replace a classic placemat with a Lego base mat, and create a cake topper using Lego pieces.

  • 08 of 60

    Summer Bridal Shower

    Table with lemonade and a galvanized dessert stand

    Musings by Madison

    Throw an elegant summer bridal shower, taking inspiration from the colors and scents of the season. Make a batch of homemade lemonade, bake mini lemon bundt cakes, and decorate tables with fresh lemons to emphasize the bright, summery theme.

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  • 09 of 60

    Backyard Trick or Treating

    Tent houses set up in the backyard for trick or treating

    Cake & Confetti

    For a fun twist on trick or treating, re-create the whole experience in your own backyard! Set up cardboard or tent-style houses and decorate each with balloons, pumpkins, and bats, leaving a big bowl of candy in front of each door, of course.

  • 10 of 60

    Winter Snowflake Theme

    Snowflake themed party decor

    Finding Lovely

    Celebrate a winter birthday or milestone event with a snowflake-themed party. Hang white paper snowflakes from the ceiling at different heights to create the illusion of snow, create floral centerpieces with white flowers and fragrant eucalyptus, and create snowflake-shaped place settings for a beautiful winter theme.

  • 11 of 60

    At-Home Movie Night

    Tray with popcorn and toppings for movie night

    Cake & Confetti

    Elevate a casual at-home movie night with an assortment of sweet and salty popcorn and different toppings such as candy, pretzels, trail mix, and chocolate. Go a step further and purchase popcorn seasoning such as cheese, ranch, or caramel and set them out along with the toppings for extra flavor.

  • 12 of 60

    Ice-Cream Party

    Colorful ice-cream party decor

    Pop of Gold

    Kick off the end of the school year and beginning of summer fun with an ice-cream party. Create an ice-cream bar with different flavors, toppings such as fruit, nuts, candies, chocolates, or pretzels, and sauces like hot fudge, caramel, and peanut butter. For decorations, turn a paper party hat into an ice-cream cone and use a small balloon as a scoop of ice-cream.

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  • 13 of 60

    Oktoberfest Picnic

    Table with plaid tablecloth and hanging pretzels

    Pop of Gold

    Throw your own Oktoberfest celebration with a backyard picnic complete with plaid decor, delicious pretzels, and a variety of dipping sauces. Let the pretzels double as a centerpiece by hanging them at different heights using red and white gingham ribbon.

  • 14 of 60

    Tropical Pool Party

    Pool with tropical decor around it

    Pop of Gold

    Put a tropical spin on your summer pool party with the addition of tiki torches, colorful balloons, and palm leaf-print pool floats. Use a rolling bar cart to set up a beverage station with refreshing fruity umbrella drinks.

  • 15 of 60

    Galentine's Night In

    Cheeseboard and roses on a marble counter

    Host to Perfection

    Invite your girlfriends over for a Galentine's Day celebration to remember. Put together a heart day-inspired charcuterie board with sweet and savory treats and use a heart-shaped cookie cutter to create heart shapes out of cheese, brownie bites, or mini sandwiches.

  • 16 of 60

    Glamping Party

    Glamping cookies in a box

    @wildrosecountryhome / Instagram

    For a fun outdoor party, go with a glamping theme. Set up tents and surround them with colorful blankets and floor pillows, hang string lights, and create a s'mores bar with an assortment of marshmallows, cookies and crackers, and chocolates as a nod to everyone's favorite camping treat.

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  • 17 of 60

    Fall Bonfire

    Table set up with apples and apple crumbles

    Host to Perfection

    Host a fall bonfire and use the season's quintessential fruit — apples — as your inspiration for decor, food, and drinks. Fill baskets with apples for a charming, rustic centerpiece and serve individual apple pies or crisps along with hot apple cider to celebrate the tastes of autumn.

  • 18 of 60

    '90s Birthday Party

    Fresh Prince cardboard cutouts at a party

    Lauren Ashley Experiences Interiors & Events

    Celebrate a '90s birth date with a party dedicated to the best of the decade. Tell guests to come in a '90s-themed outfit, which could be anything from a Clueless-inspired plaid outfit to a baggy pants and crop top look.

  • 19 of 60

    Craft Night

    Craft supplies for a party

    Casa Watkins Living

    Host a craft night for a party with a built-in activity. Pick a simple project that's easy enough for everyone to do, such as making cards during the holidays or wreaths in the summer. Make sure to serve small, bite-sized snacks that aren't super messy to make sure nobody's crafty creations get damaged.

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    Super Mario Birthday Party

    Super Mario Birthday decorations and favors

    Casa Watkins Living

    Any video game fan will love this Super Mario birthday party theme. Print out images of the characters and stick them on favor bags, around candy jars, and on water bottles for an inexpensive way to personalize your party decor.

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  • 21 of 60

    Movie Themed Party

    Charlie Brown themed outdoor party decor

    Pop of Gold

    A favorite movie provides lots of inspiration for a party theme. Use cutouts of key characters, create a menu based on the movie, and prepare a trivia game with a themed prize for the winner.

  • 22 of 60

    Fairy Birthday

    Small cart with fairy party decor

    Cake & Confetti

    Plan a magical fairy birthday party filled with whimsy. Give every little party guest a wand, tiara, and wings upon arrival — not only will the accessories serve as a costume, but they'll also double as favors.

  • 23 of 60

    Dog Theme

    Dog-themed party decor

    Finding Lovely

    Make a backdrop with Milk-Bone dog treats, bake cookies shaped like dog bones, and give away stuffed animal dogs for a fun dog-themed kids' party. When setting up a food table, instead of setting out all the food on serving platters, create height and dimension that'll turn it into a fun display by using a tiered dessert stand, a low-sitting tray, and stacked favor boxes.

  • 24 of 60

    Cinderella Birthday Party

    Cinderella birthday party decor

    Stephanie Hoey Interiors

    Treat the princess in your life to a Cinderella-themed birthday party. Hang a framed face silhouette, create a cake topper in the shape of a carriage or magical castle, make glass slipper-shaped cookies, use blue and white balloons, and give everyone a tiara upon arriving at the ball—or birthday party!

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  • 25 of 60

    Ghoulish Ghosts Halloween Party

    White ghosts used as a centerpiece

    Finding Lovely

    Make ghosts the focus of your Halloween party and create a ghoulish centerpiece with just a couple of cheap supplies. Use chicken wire to form ghosts of different sizes, then loosely cover them with cheesecloth. Cut eyes out of black paper and stick them on the cheesecloth to look like the ghosts' eyes. For an extra spooky look, wrap twinkle lights around the chicken wire so the ghosts glow in the dark.

  • 26 of 60

    Friendsgiving Potluck

    Fall table set for dinner

    Host to Perfection

    Throw a festive Friendsgiving to celebrate the November holiday with your closest crew. Depending on the size of the group, make a chicken instead of an entire turkey, or go extra fancy with individual Cornish hens. Turn the gathering into a potluck-style dinner by asking everyone to bring their favorite side dish — it'll mean less cooking for you and it's a fun way to taste your friends' holiday favorites.

  • 27 of 60

    Hot Chocolate Party

    Mugs with hot chocolate packs and straws with marshmallows

    Pop of Gold

    A hot chocolate party is the perfect theme for a cozy gathering in the cold winter months. It's also a quick and inexpensive one. Grab some mugs and stuff them with individual packets of hot chocolate mix, stick a marshmallow on a paper straw, and create a topping bar with everything from chocolate syrup and whipped cream, to sprinkles and peppermint sticks.

  • 28 of 60

    Wine and Cheese Night

    Charcuterie board with a bottle of Prosecco

    Cake & Confetti

    Invite friends over for a wine and cheese night that everyone will love and that's an easy last-minute party theme since you can pick up most of the items in one place — a grocery store. Serve an assortment of soft and hard cheeses, dried salami and cured ham, a variety of crackers, fresh and dried fruits, salty items such as nuts and olives, and a sweet component like honey to balance out the flavors.

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  • 29 of 60

    Farm Themed Party

    Birthday cake with plastic animals on galvanized cake stand

    @milkandhoneylife / Instagram

    Turn to a farm theme for a rustic party idea. If a cake is the main focal point, instead of an elegant ceramic or glass stand, use a galvanized one, frost the cake with a simple icing, and top it with edible flowers and plastic farm animals.

  • 30 of 60

    Salon Birthday Party

    Party table with birthday cake and hanging pink hair dryers

    Kelsey Klos

    Retro-style pink hair dryers, a whimsical makeup-themed cake, and adorable compact mirrors holding a macaron are fun touches to add to a salon birthday party. The dessert table is a great focal point and creating an accent wall behind it helps highlight it and provides an opportunity to go all out with your chosen theme.

  • 31 of 60

    Western Party Theme

    Cowboy hats on a party table

    Lauren Ashley Experiences Interiors & Events

    Get creative with a Western party theme complete with cowboy hats, a rodeo-inspired menu of burgers with a variety of delicious toppings, and a cake covered with bandana pattern-style fondant. For a Western-themed centerpiece, use a cowboy boot instead of a vase—place a tall and narrow vase inside the boot, fill it with water, and arrange long-stemmed flowers such as sunflowers inside.

  • 32 of 60

    Fourth of July Bash

    Fourth of July tablescape

    @homestead.city.dwelling / Instagram

    Celebrate Independence Day with a patriotic table decked out in red, white, and blue. Use stars and stripes throughout your tablescape in unique ways, such as a napkin, paper drinking straws, a place setting, or a table runner, and stick to the limited color scheme for a cohesive look.

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  • 33 of 60

    Animal Birthday Party

    Birthday party table with animal decor

    Finding Lovely

    An animal theme is an ever-popular idea for a kid's birthday party. Elevate it with a soft color palette of light blues and toned-down neutrals, and incorporate wooden animal toys that the little partygoers can take home as favors.

  • 34 of 60

    Gift Wrapping Get-Together

    Gift wrap supplies and charcuterie board

    Cake & Confetti

    Make wrapping holiday gifts extra fun by hosting a wrapping get-together. The holidays are a busy time of year, so instead of scrambling to wrap gifts at the last minute, schedule this event to help everyone stay organized and on schedule. Get wrapping paper rolls, festive ribbons, gift toppers, and gift tags, and don't forget to stock up on other essentials such as enough pairs of scissors and wrapping tape to go around.

  • 35 of 60

    Outdoor Movie Night

    Outdoor movie night

    Shaiith / istockphoto

    Make the most of warm summer evenings with an outdoor movie night. Purchase a projector and a screen, hang up some twinkle lights, set up chairs or picnic blankets with comfy pillows, and make plenty of popcorn for an affordable but outdoor party idea.

  • 36 of 60

    Summer Soiree

    Summer party outdoor table set in pastel colors

    Pop of Gold

    Set an elegant table of sweet pastels for a summer soiree. To cut down on cost when it comes to floral arrangements for your party, buy a couple of large bouquets, then separate them into smaller bunches and use low vases or casual mason jars to hold them. Not only does it make each bouquet go a little further, low-sitting arrangements don't block the conversation view or take up excessive table space.

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  • 37 of 60

    At-Home Wine Tasting

    Table set for wine tasting

    Casa Watkins Living

    Try an at-home wine tasting for a fun way to entertain. Pick up a couple of different types of wines, figure out what type of snacks and canapés go best with each, and make sure to have enough glasses, whether plastic or real, for each guest to sample all different types.

  • 38 of 60

    Candy Party Theme

    Candy bar outside

    Andreua / Getty Images

    Set up a candy bar for a candy-themed party. If you have a serious sweet tooth, this is for you. Use bowls, trays, plates, jars, and cake stands to hold different types of candy, and set out scoops so guests can easily grab their favorite candy. Get individual cellophane bags for everyone to fill before they leave for a sweet favor.

  • 39 of 60

    Rainbow Party

    Rainbow balloon backdrop for party photos

    Saulich / Getty Images

    A rainbow theme is so versatile, it'll work just as well for a baby shower as it will for a birthday or St. Patrick's Day party. Use all seven colors of the rainbow in the form of a balloon arch, party plates, and floral centerpieces. Continue the theme into your menu with a rainbow layer cake, a seven-layer dip, fruit skewers, a colorful veggie and dips tray, or layered jello cups.

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    Party In Neutrals

    Neutral colored party decor in a dining room

    @herzenstimme / Instagram

    Set an elegant tone with neutral-colored party decorations. Use an assortment of white, copper, and silver balloons, stoneware dishes, rustic accents such as wood placeholders, woven jute placemats, off-white taper candles, and simple florals such as baby's breath, hydrangeas, or white roses.

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  • 41 of 60

    Gingerbread Holiday Party

    Person holding a tray with holiday drinks decorated with gingerbread man cookies

    Cake & Confetti

    Host a gingerbread holiday party to get everyone in the festive spirit. Create a menu inspired by this traditional cookie and include everything from cocktails adorned with little gingerbread men to a spiced cake with tangy cream cheese frosting. Continue the theme with a gingerbread house decorating contest and award prizes for the most creative house, the one with the largest amounts of candy, and the house that stands the tallest.

  • 42 of 60

    Blue and White Dinner Party

    Outdoor table set in blue and white color scheme

    Finding Lovely

    Blue and white is a classic color combination that you can't go wrong with whether you're decorating a bedroom or entertaining. It lends itself well to al fresco dining, so if you're looking for a theme for a summer dinner party, this is a lovely choice. Use a block print tablecloth and layer it with blue and white dishes, simple glassware, and scalloped jute placemats for a natural element. Put together simple centerpieces of blooming blue and white hydrangeas and the tablescape is ready to welcome your guests.

  • 43 of 60

    Bunny Birthday

    Bunny themed party snacks

    Stephanie Hoey Interiors

    A bunny theme is a cute idea for an Easter brunch, a springtime baby shower, or a little kid's birthday party. In addition to bunny-inspired decorations and a sweet pastel color palette, go with spring flowers such as tulips, and serve bite-size appetizers featuring cabbage and raw veggies—two bunny faves!

  • 44 of 60

    Nature-Inspired Party Theme

    Table set with greenery and a greenery arch

    mStarr design

    A nature-inspired party theme is a great choice whether you're hosting a casual dinner party or a holiday event. Take your tablescape to the next level by adding an arch above it to make it look and feel extra special. You can purchase a metal or wood arch in various standard sizes and some are adjustable to accommodate different-sized and shaped dining tables. It's a very versatile decorating tool to own, as you can style it in so many different ways. One is a nature-inspired design such as this arch decorated with fresh greenery, dried berries, and branches.

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    Valentine's Day Brunch

    Dessert tray, roses and bottle of champagne for Valentine's brunch

    Host to Perfection

    Celebrate Valentine's Day with a delicious brunch adorned with touches of pink. Keep the menu simple with an assortment of store-bought pastries, colorful macarons, and pink champagne, and decorate the table with pink napkins and a vase filled with fresh roses.

  • 46 of 60

    Murder Mystery Dinner

    Halloween party tablescape

    Pop of Gold

    Put a fun spin on a Halloween party by turning it into a murder mystery dinner. There are murder mystery dinner kits available for purchase online that include a storyline and characters to help you turn your dinner into an interactive event. Tell your guests to dress up, serve a meal that's fitting with the mystery's plot, and solve the murder together with the guests throughout the evening.

  • 47 of 60

    Elegant Tea Party

    Tea party with teapot floral centerpiece

    Lauren Ashley Experiences Interiors & Events

    A tea party is the perfect way to celebrate springtime, a bridal or baby shower, a birthday, or to host a fundraiser for a charity or event. For a vintage aesthetic, use mismatched dishes and antique-style floral patterns. Create centerpieces using teapots—place a small vase or mason jar with water inside the teapot and arrange flowers inside it to further the tea party theme. Go with an elegant afternoon tea menu of mini sandwiches, scones, and petit fours, and serve a choice of caffeinated and decaffeinated teas, as well as champagne if you want to get extra fancy!

  • 48 of 60

    Award Show Party

    Party table with champagne and white and gold balloons

    Cake & Confetti

    Whether it's the Oscars or the Grammy's, invite friends over for an awards show viewing party. Bring in your own red carpet and decorate it with white, gold, and silver balloons for a touch of glamor. Pop some bubbly and some popcorn, mixing elegant coupe glasses with more casual individual bags of popcorn. Print out an Oscars ballot for each guest and award the person who gets the most winners right with their own Oscar.

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    Rubber Duck Baby Shower

    Drinks with rubber ducks floating in them

    twomeows / Getty Images

    Use this iconic toy, a rubber duck, as the theme for a baby shower. Use a blue and yellow color theme — to represent the duck and water — for your table decor and serve a signature blue drink with a mini rubber ducky floating in it! Create a bathtub-like centerpiece with an arrangement of three glass containers of different heights and sizes. Fill them with water and add a little bit of blue food coloring, then float a couple of rubber ducks in each. Continue the theme to your dessert table, with duck-shaped iced cookies and yellow duck-topped cupcakes.

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    Midsummer Night's Picnic

    Outdoor picnic with string lights and candles

    @herzenstimme / Instagram

    Hang up twinkle lights and paper lanterns, light candles or use windproof flameless candles, cover the ground with cozy blankets, and bring out comfy floor pillows for a midsummer night-inspired picnic. Focus on lighting as the main source of decor for this magical theme, and keep the rest of the decorations simple.

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    Under the Sea Party

    Floral centerpiece with items on the bottom of glass vase

    Lauren Ashley Experiences Interiors & Events

    Turn to underwater sea creatures and plants for inspiration for an under-the-sea party. Use glass bowls to hold colorful floral arrangements and instead of creating a neat, tight look when putting them together, allow the flowers to fall freely and use a mix of blooms, greens, and decorative grasses for an organic look. Place stones and little plastic creatures on the bottom of the glass bowls for a cute "under the water" touch and use a blue and green color palette to represent water and seaweed.

  • 52 of 60

    Black and White Color Scheme

    Black and white tablescape

    Margaret Wright

    Instead of a topical party theme, use a color scheme as your theme. If you choose black and white, for example, tell guests to come dressed in one of the colors, and have prizes ready for people in the color group with the best outfits. When working with a limited color palette, keep it interesting by using it in different ways, such as mismatched patterns on the tablecloth and napkins, solid dishes, and different hues of the color — which in this would be grays — for additional table accents.

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  • 53 of 60

    Lemon Party

    Table set with gingham napkins and lemon accents

    @homestead.city.dwelling / Instagram

    Base party decorations, the menu, and the tablescape around a single item, in this case a fruit—the lemon. Bright and cheery, it's the perfect way to create a fun party theme and a delicious menu. Use a fresh lemon at each place setting, fill a vase with lemons for a charming centerpiece, and complement the fruit with gingham accents and yellow dishes. Have fun with a lemon-inspired menu, serving lemon-flavored cocktails and homemade lemonade and infusing the tart flavor into your desserts, such as limoncello cake or a lemon meringue pie.

  • 54 of 60

    Summer Beach Picnic

    Picnic on the beach

    @wilsonaesthetic_ / Instagram

    Celebrate the beginning of summer or say goodbye to the season with a beach picnic. Set up a low-sitting wooden table and instead of beach chairs, use floor pillows or beach blankets for casual but comfy seating. Use flameless candles for a wind and waterproof option and if you choose to have the picnic during daytime, bring an umbrella to shield everyone from the hot sun. Have a cooler with plenty of ice packs to keep drinks chilled and serve trays with bite-sized, mess-free foods such as crudités, fruit, and mini sandwiches. Make sure to bring plenty of sanitizing wipes since there's sand around!

  • 55 of 60

    Winter Wonderland Party

    Table set with white dishes and lots of bottlebrush trees

    @homestead.city.dwelling / Instagram

    For an alternative to a classic festive holiday party, go with a winter wonderland theme. Use a mix of bottle brush and ceramic trees, fresh greenery, and faux garland to create a forest table centerpiece. Use a white tablecloth and dishes to create the illusion of snow, and add wooden accents in the form of coasters or place card holders.

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    Pastel Easter Celebration

    Easter table with pastel decorations

    Host to Perfection

    Pastels and springtime go together, so use this sweet, muted color palette as inspiration for an Easter celebration. Stick to two or three pastel colors for a more sophisticated look, or go all out with all the pastels to emphasize their playful side.

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    Cocktail Party

    Colorful styled bar cart

    @my_interior_motive / Instagram

    Have a cocktail party and create your own happy hour menu featuring signature drinks for the night. A bar cart is a great accessory not just for a cocktail party — it's typically on wheels so you can move it around, it provides stylish storage for bottles, glassware, and bar accessories, and it gives you a surface to prep drinks. Add a sign with the night's drinks to the bar cart so guests know what they can choose from, and make sure there is a variety of beverages and non-alcoholic options available. Go with seasonal flavors when coming up with your signature cocktails and keep refreshments simple with a charcuterie board you can pre-assemble and that guests can go back to throughout the evening.

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    Garden Party

    Backyard party decorations

    @luckyplot13 / Instagram

    Throw a garden party in the warmer months and enjoy al fresco dining with friends and family in your backyard. If you know you have a large group coming, a great way to avoid having to rent extra chairs is to go for picnic-style seating. Set up low-sitting tables and put out blankets and floor pillows to maximize seating. Use outdoor-friendly table linens and shatterproof plates and glassware to minimize the risk of dishes breaking.

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    Harvest Dinner

    Fall table scape

    mStarr design

    A harvest dinner is a nice way to celebrate the best of the fall season with friends. Take the theme into consideration when it comes to both food and decor, using seasonal florals for your centerpiece and the bounty of the in-season harvest to inspire your dinner and dessert menu. Make it cozy with beeswax taper candles in brass candlesticks and keep the tablescape rustic with a casual-chic tablecloth or runner, stoneware dishes, and pears or apples scattered around the table for a seasonal touch.

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    Candlelit Holiday Party

    Table with lit candles

    Musings by Madison

    Sometimes, less is more when it comes to party decor, especially if you're trying to achieve a sophisticated atmosphere. Keep the dishes, glassware, and centerpieces simple, and use candlelight as the main way to set the mood and create drama. Incorporate different types of candles at different heights — such as tall tapers, small tea lights, and larger pillar candles — for visual interest, but stick with one color to maintain a cohesive look and prevent the table from looking cluttered. It's all about intentionality and small details, and both make a huge difference when planning a party.

Party Planning Tips

Create a Plan

Creating a plan, a checklist, and a timeline is the best way to stay organized when it comes to party planning. Whether you're hosting a family get-together for 10 people or throwing a large retirement party for your dad, staying organized is essential. Decide on a guest list, party location, and set a budget. Depending on the occasion or individual you are celebrating and honoring, and the season and time of day you are hosting the party, decide on a theme that best fits the event.

Use Shortcuts

Throwing a party takes time, work, and effort, so be smart and use whatever shortcuts you need. In terms of food and drinks, this can mean catering the event or going with store-bought desserts instead of making everything from scratch by yourself, or doing a potluck-style meal where you ask guests to bring a dish to share. When it comes to decor, if you're short on time, purchase pre-made decorations instead of spending hours on handmade crafts. While the DIY route of a balloon arch kit is more affordable, if the timing is key, hire a party planning business to install one for you.

Do What You Can In Advance

One of the best tips to follow is to prep as much as you can in advance, so you're not scrambling to finish setting up the party an hour before guests are due to arrive. Set the tables and put up any decorations you can ahead of time. The same goes for food and drinks; pre-assemble a charcuterie board the night before, make iced tea and homemade lemonade in advance and chill them in the fridge, and freeze baked cookies and pull them out once needed.