5 great themes for your next outdoor event

A marquee provides a lovely blank canvas for planning almost any sort of outdoor party. From black tie formality to casual fun, your options are limited only by your imagination. With so many possibilities, it can be tough to decide where to begin. Choosing a theme can help guide all of your decisions, from chairs to glassware to food. Here are a few theme ideas to get you started.

1. Prohibition Evening

Australia never had full prohibition in the same way as the United States, but the temperance movement did put a damper on our drinking culture in the 1910s and 1920s. We watched with amusement as America’s “noble experiment” quickly gave way to speakeasies and organised crime. Soaked in alcohol and romanticism, the term “Prohibition” now conjures up images of dapper mobsters, glamorous women, and more than a little illicit excitement.

To add intrigue and elegance to your evening party, why not give it a Prohibition theme? Muted red lighting, a wooden bar, classic cocktails, and even a secret password can turn your marquee into a backyard speakeasy. For extra fun, suggest that your guests wear pinstriped suits and flapper dresses and adopt mob-sounding nicknames for the night.

2. Tea Party

To enhance an afternoon soiree, why not adopt a noble tradition from the Brits? A garden tea party is an elegant, semi-formal event that is perfect for all ages. Your marquee provides much-needed shade, while small, round tables allow your guests to chat. If the weather is nice, the party will naturally spill out of the marquee onto the surrounding grounds, so be sure to choose a picturesque setting. White furnishings, including tables and chairs, add an air of distinguished restraint. Provide ambient lighting in the form of twinkling white lights. Serve tea sandwiches and small pastries, several types of English tea, and perhaps a high-quality champagne.

3. Diner Night

If you are looking for a casual theme with a hip, modern twist, why not consider a diner night? Serve upscale gourmet burgers and homemade French fries, along with a hearty salad or two. Choose diner-style furnishings such as colourful booths or chairs, and select neon or neon-look lighting fixtures. Play a 1950s music mix and provide plenty of space for dancing.

4. Dessert Party

Dessert parties have become extremely popular in the United States, and are starting to catch on here in Australia. Yet with so much rich, decadent food on offer, it becomes all too easy for your guests to leave feeling sick rather than fulfilled. The key to a successful dessert party is balance.

Marry heavy, dense desserts such as cakes and custards with light, fruity pastries. Choose flavour notes that complement each other. Cut rich, chocolate desserts with fruit or floral notes. Serve small, bite-sized portions attractively arranged on trays.

Furnishings for a dessert party can be as formal or as casual as you please. Create an elegant evening with subdued lighting and soft music, or create a high-energy dance party to help your guests burn the calories.

5. American-Style Hoedown

While the stereotype of Americans as big truck-loving, country-music listening, gun-toting boors is not exactly accurate, it is true that the hoedown is a distinctly American custom. To create your own hoedown, decorate your marquee and surrounding grounds in early American farm style. Hay bales, pitchforks, tractors, and trucks all make excellent backdrop decor items.

Choose long tables with bench seating and very casual place settings. Lighting options include lanterns and torches, but be careful not to set your marquee on fire! Plan to serve a casual barbecue meal, complete with your favourite grilled dishes.

Play country music and leave plenty of room for square dancing and line dancing. These social dances are easy to learn online and encourage all guests to participate, so take a bit of time to learn how to call them. Ask your guests to dress very casually in jeans or loose skirts with cowboy boots.

For extra fun, incorporate a bit of the American Wild West. Consider renting a few costumes and setting up a photo booth, providing a jail set where guests can “lock up” their loved ones for a few minutes, or creating a cactus ring toss game.

When planning your wedding or special event, why not choose a party hire service with a personal touch? Betta Party Hire has the experience and expertise to help you choose the right items for the party of your dreams.

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