Successful corporate events tend to have something in common: They have a theme that décor, dress code, and menu are centered on. Choosing a corporate event theme helps you design an event that’s visually distinct, memorable, and overall more enjoyable for those attending—it can bring an event to life. Add more impact to your next event with one of these corporate event ideas and get a head-start on planning.
When Are Corporate Event Themes Appropriate?
Choosing an event theme is one of the first tasks in corporate event planning. It’s not always necessary to have a theme, but it definitely helps pull the whole event together. Choosing a corporate event theme is an effective way of tying together décor, dress code, and other elements of event design into a cohesive whole. It also gives you a head-start on planning those elements because by choosing a party theme, you’ve already narrowed your options significantly.
Providing you choose the right theme for the tone, purpose, and goals of your event, there are very few situations where a theme is inappropriate. For instance, themes such as an ‘80s night or a summer BBQ are great for casual holiday parties, but not for an elegant evening reception. For that kind of corporate event, a masquerade ball or similarly stylish theme is more appropriate.
10+ Corporate Event Theme Ideas
1. Seasonal Corporate Event Themes
- Spring party: If the weather permits, this can be a great outdoor party theme; otherwise, keep it indoors and use pastel décor and plenty of flowers and greenery to illustrate the spring theme.
- Summer BBQ: The perfect casual corporate event theme for company picnics, this one offers a chance to get outside the office and enjoy some friendly fun. Many local venues offer spaces for hire that include grills, tables, and other amenities. Serve summer BBQ classics like burgers and hot dogs, and set up a few games such as horseshoes, croquet, or team games to help everyone work up an appetite.
- Halloween/fall party: Celebrate fall with an outdoor campfire evening, complete with s’mores bar and hot chocolate, or opt for an indoor event venue, and add a spooky element with a Halloween-themed costume party.
- Winter wonderland: Highlight the season in a way everyone can enjoy, with a winter wonderland theme. This party theme works for both casual and formal events, since you can easily elevate it by altering the dress code and décor.
2. Party in the Past
1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s-themed parties have long been staple corporate event themes. And now that the 1980s are a few decades in the past, it’s also a popular party theme. Most people love dressing up in era-appropriate clothing and dancing to the biggest hits of the day. The ‘80s theme is a big hit right now, thanks to nostalgia-inducing shows like Stranger Things. Decorate with neon, and hire a DJ to cue up hits from Bon Jovi, Prince, and Madonna; or, better yet, hire a live band to get the crowd dancing.
This theme is easy to adapt to almost any decade, since it just means changing up the dress code, décor, music, and food to suit whichever decade you pick. You can even opt for a party theme that covers several decades—for instance, the ‘50s through ‘90s—and let eventgoers decide which decade to choose their costumes from.
3. Hollywood Movies, Glitz, and Glamor
Rent a red carpet and roll it out for this ever-popular party theme. Hollywood is a highly versatile theme suited to both casual and formal corporate parties.
- Make it a casual movie night by renting out a local theater and providing all the drinks and snacks.
- For a glamorous old-Hollywood vibe for an evening event, choose an elegant hotel event venue and go for a black tie dress code. Decorate in black, silver, and gold, and serve champagne and lobster.
Whether you call it a carnival, fair, or fiesta, this corporate event theme is all about family fun. Go for a large outdoor event venue if possible, and include plenty of carnival games, such as:
- Ring toss
- Balloon pop
Serve popcorn, hot dogs, and other carnival fare, and hire one or two roving entertainers, such as a balloon artist, clown, or magician, to add to the fun.
5. Murder Mystery Party
For an entertaining corporate event party theme that almost runs itself, a murder mystery is perfect. You can design and run your own mystery, of course, but working with a professional team provides an outstanding experience that everyone will remember. Depending on the company you work with, they may even provide the venue and the entire evening’s entertainment.
6. Masquerade Ball
If you need an elegant, upscale corporate event theme, the masquerade ball provides the perfect opportunity for guests to dress in their finest for a special occasion. Choose a venue with plenty of opulent touches—fountains, decorative pillars, outdoor gardens—and make sure to specify masks as an addition to the dress code. Serve charcuterie and hors d’oeuvres, decadent desserts, and cocktails, and let your guests enjoy a memorably elegant evening.
7. Enchanted Evening
Whether it’s an enchanted forest, or an enchanted undersea kingdom, this corporate event theme offers breathtaking décor options that let you create magic in any event venue.
- Create an enchanted forest by hiring an outdoor venue – Many botanical gardens have evening hire options. Add ethereal lighting effects with spotlights and string lights.
- The same kinds of lighting also work for the undersea theme, but instead of an outdoor forest setting, take the event indoors. Add blue up-lighting, and clusters of clear bubble balloons, and serve a seafood buffet with themed cocktails in ocean colors.
8. In-Office Entertainment Corporate Event Themes
- Office Olympics: Make a corporate meeting way more fun with an Office Olympics event, as seen on The Office. With this corporate event idea, there’s no need to decorate or hire a venue, and you can make up any games you like, according to the kinds of items available in the workplace. Use the money you save for a lavish lunch spread, and grab a few gift cards to serve as prizes for games winners!
- Taco Tuesday: It doesn’t have to be a Tuesday, of course—any day is a great day to set up a lunchtime taco buffet. Add fresh-chopped veggies, taco meat, and other taco essentials, and let everyone build their own.
- Office brunch: Whether it’s a simple spread on Friday or a lavish catered brunch at the end of each quarter, brunch is the ideal shared office meal. Serve pancakes, pastries, and bagels, or go all-out with omelet stations and other hot options. It’s a highly versatile option, either as a sit-down meal with the whole office or as a grazing table or buffet that everyone can dig into whenever they’re ready.
- Happy Hour: Friday night happy hour typically means a drink or two at the end of the week with coworkers. If you’re hosting at a bar, choose a venue that has substantial meal and snack options.
Event Catering Ideas
9. Casino Night
Hire an elegant venue, stock it with gaming tables, add a black-tie dress code, and you have the makings of a memorable, successful corporate event. This event theme is great alone event, and but it works well as a fundraiser too. And you can always opt to use “fun money” so guests can enjoy the night without the stress of losing their own funds.
Another option for this corporate event theme is to make the theme a little more specific: rather than a casino, a Casino Royale-themed event. Serve martinis and elegant canapés, and let guests choose their own spy names for the evening.
10. Awards Night
A for-fun awards night can bring the whole office together for laughter and fun. Host at a steakhouse or similar restaurant to keep it on the semi-casual side, rather than a formal option. Pick a dozen or more awards categories, give people a week or so to vote, then announce winners and hand out awards on the night. Make sure your categories are fun, and avoid any overly negative awards—go for “best office décor” rather than “most likely to be fired!”
Creative Corporate Event Themes Make Any Event More Memorable
It’s one thing to host a traditional corporate event, but why stop there? Get creative with corporate event themes, and you instantly upgrade your gathering to something even more special, more enjoyable, and more memorable.