You can’t deny the inherent excitement for a cocktail party. It’s a universal love. An occasion for reuniting mates, laughter, letting your hair down, hedonism, woo-ing, and general beers and skittles. But what’s better than a cocktail party?
A cocktail party with a unique theme. Duh.
Uniquely themed cocktail parties are the lifeblood of a good time. It’s impossible to not have fun when you and 50+ other people are in a rude kit, surrounded by props that transport you to a different era, country, or galaxy. Heaven exists and we’re here for it.
If you’re throwing a do and struggling with a unique cocktail party theme… come on, you know we’re good for it. Lo and behold, the best cocktail party themes to whack on your invitation and your back….
1. Life in colour
Sometimes you need to keep it simple. Pick a colour any colour. Seriously, you can be as basic b*tch or Pantone specific as you wish. Need to be on brand with your sophisticated self? Opt for a chic colour theme like strictly all-white… how original! But in all honesty, you can’t go wrong with the Instagram photos when everyone’s decked in tout blanc. Or, if you’re more inclined to be vibrant, you can mix it up to be something bold yet still has the consistency. Wondering what the hell we mean by ‘bold’? Think a traffic light party (take one for the team and choose this theme to support all your single mates) or rainbow pride (hello #MardiGras).
2. Memes and Virality
Let’s bring things into real life. Let’s bring it to the inter web phenomenon that informs too many life decisions we care to truly admit. This unique party theme will really get the creativity brain juices flowing and guarantees some LOLs across the board. Roll the dice and see what comes to fruition… but prepare to be reminded why we can’t have nice things. Ok Boomers, Billie Eilish at the 2020 Oscars, World Record Egg, Celebrities as inanimate objects, Egg boi, an Instagram Story Filter. The only bad part of this cocktail party theme, is the indecisiveness everyone will suffer from on deciding their ultimate meme costume.
3. Bad Taste Trends
Fun and foul. Let your friends take the piss out of themselves.. and more likely their yesteryears. A little self deprecation never goes astray right? You’re not saving lives here… and you’re not even saving dignity. Poke a bit of light-hearted fun and find you and your guests in an ugly Christmas sweater, a Juicy velour track suit, Ed Hardy t-shirts (even Kim Kardashian went there) or yellow Livestrong bracelets. Who were even responsible for these? In all likelihood, us Millennials out there will no doubt make them trendy again. But we digress… if you turn the bad taste volume right up it doesn’t correlate to leaving a bad taste in your mouth the next day.
4. Awards Season
Let’s take things up a notch now. Or about 50 notches. Whilst there can still be bad taste during Awards Season events, celebrities always deliver on the high-end outfit creativity. You could almost come full circle back to the memes here. Timothee Chalamet as a Prada Valet Parking attendant anyone? Either way… roll out the red carpet for your guests (seriously, hire a red carpet and some party-worthy bouncers and hostesses to welcome your friends) and channel the Awards Ceremony vibes, or go for a Grammys Afterparty situation. Us mortals need to indulge in celebrity-like hedonistic behaviour sometimes right?
5. Through the Decades
Take your pick from one of the many different decades. Skip over the 30s and 40s though… they were a bit dull (sorry Grandma and Grandpa, it true). The key decades for dressing pleasure were 20s (hello flappers), 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and, of course, naughties. The real delight in decades parties, is they span fashion trends, toys and games, tv and film, travel destinations and popular culture. On that note, depending on the nature of your cocktail party, you may want to get super detailed on the decade theme. Cuba in the 1950s, Disco nights in the 70s, 90s TV characters, fashion runways of the naughties.
6. Thrift Shop
This is one cocktail party theme that also nods to the past, but delivers a mish-mash of possibilities. Macklemore said it best, “One man’s trash, that’s another man’s come up”. He ain’t wrong. Retro boiler suits, Hawaiian party shirts, double denim delights, 80s ball dresses or a cheap tuxedo. If you’ve never stepped inside a Vinnies, we pity you. Op shops are a costume gold mine! As a host, you also have the great pleasure of finding ridiculous or vintage props. Give new life to some taxidermy, a retro plastic chair, crystal glasses or that garden gnome you never knew you needed. It’s one cocktail party theme to keep the prop budget down for all, but rep some fun cocktail party swag. It’s also one to make you feel all the good feels: you let your guests have a bit of fun finding their get up pre-party, you do your bit for the planet by repurposing the old, and you ultimately help support a good cause. Be resourceful and own it baby!
We’ll just leave some key Thrift Shop lyrics here:
I’ll wear your granddad’s clothes
I look incredible
I’m in this big ass coat
From that thrift shop down the road
7. Studio 54
Whilst also a nod to the past, this salacious cocktail party theme deserves its own throne. A place that was full of seductive allure and secrets as much as it was of celebrities, Studio 54 has to be the most notorious nightlife venue of a lifetime… and hence one of the best inspirations for a cocktail party theme. The set up calls for a disco wonderland with hidden rooms (and love affairs) and an anything goes attitude. Think Bianca Jagger on a horse for her birthday, the Mafia (enough said), Grace Jones, Drag Queens Angel Jack and Hibiscus (YAS KWEEN), Cher or a disco dancer.
8. Sporting Heroes and Codes
Where to even start here? Past or current? Tennis or baseball? Underdogs or champions? Steven Bradbury or Cathy Freeman? Or maybe most notably (and sadly) right now… Kobe Bryant. Honestly, we’re inclined to say scrap the whole sporting hero idea and just roll with an all out Kobe tribute. Slip into the Lakers uniform, turn your backyard into a basketball court, and make it happen. For the non-NBA die-hards, then ya have options. Wimbledon Finals anyone? Serve up some strong hits with Wimbledon Collins cocktails, Racquets and balls for props, and Tennis whites dress code.
Alice isn’t the only one that can slip down a rabbit hole into wonderland. The only limit here is your imagination. Incorporate the natural elements, jungles, far-reaching utopias, animals and mythical creatures, or opt for intergalactic, futuristic vibes. Still lacking ideas? Pull out your favourite fantasy and sci-fi films for some inspiration then make your own Narnia, Pandora, Hogwarts or Galaxy to let loose in. We say go big, or don’t bother.
10. Netflix, Stan or a Hulu Series
Indulge in a binge-worthy series and make it your real life: Euphoria (wooahh hectic), Animal Kingdom (gah even more hectic), Outlander, Cheer, Brooklyn 99, Stranger Things. There’s limitless possibilities across costumes, drink options and venue props. You could even play your chosen series on a projector. Our only advice would be to hold regular cocktail parties (monthly please?) to keep up with the endless cocktail party themes derived from streaming services.