Divine Dinner Party

Dinner Party Themes:
Suggestions and Ideas for Holidays, Events, etc

Planning a party and looking for some creative dinner party themes and ideas? Smart thinking! Dinner themes are probably the quickest way to turn a ho-hum dinner party into a fabulously fun one. They're also a great way to streamline the whole planning process.
Formal, informal, bbq-style, planned around an event...there are so many different types of parties that you could host it might make your head spin. But settling on a theme will really help narrow your focus; it gives you a core --a central thematic hub-- around which to build your decorations, menu, recipes, wines, and everything else.

You'll find some great ideas for dinner party themes right here. But I've got lots of other great resources here at Divine Dinner Party to help you plan a dinner party. Check out:

My Dinner Party Theme Ideas Collection

Fun Theme Dinner Party Idea
There are a lot of places from which to pull dinner theme ideas. Coming up with your theme is your best chance to really get creative. Because if you're creative --or even outrageous!-- with your theme, the rest of the elements of your dinner party will fall right into place. And your guests will be blown away.

Read on for a ton of theme ideas for a dinner party... and tips on how to create your own theme.

Photo by: Jonathanpoh

Holiday-Based Dinner Themes

Of course, the most obvious choice for a dinner party theme idea is to plan it around a holiday. If you've got a holiday coming up --any holiday-- and you feel like hosting a party, you've got a ready-made theme. Even holidays that don't obviously lend themselves to dinner parties can make for an interesting evening! Some good dinner party suggestions for major holidays are: Pretty Table Decorated for a Christmas Dinner Theme

Holidays are also a great focal point for dinner party themes because they give you a chance to really celebrate family traditions, or get totally creative. A Halloween dinner party, for example, lends itself to the "inventive." It also delights that naughty inner child in all of us... it's a lot of fun making crazy-creepy foods to match the occasion!

11 Unusual Holiday or Occasion Dinner Themes

Of course, major holidays like the ones above only come around a few times a year... and you can't always count on one to plan a dinner party around. Besides, sometimes you want to be more creative than that! Which is why I love the idea of planning a dinner party around a made-up or non-traditional holiday or occasion!

Some fun ideas for made up or non-traditional holiday dinner party themes are:

1. Friday the 13th Party

Make the decorations spooky, or revolve your theme around the film by the same name. Freddy-striped placemats or tablecloths and food on skewers. Or black place settings (representative of bad luck!), 13 different gory foods, and dinner party invitations that read "You've had the bad luck to be invited..."

2. Full Moon Party

What does the full moon mean to you? You could combine them all for this dinner party theme. Werewolf cupcakes or moon pies. Crazy bread to start off (people say the full moon makes you a little nuts!). Or copy the annual Full Moon Party in Thailand, and do a beach-style dinner party with lights, tropical drinks, and music. Let the insanity of the full moon begin. Solstice Themed Outdoor Dinner Party

3. Summer/Winter/Spring/Autumn Solstice Party

The seasonal solstices are a wonderful way to celebrate a season with your dinner party theme. Decorate with flowers/leaves/foods representative of the season. Hang fairy lights. Give the whole party a natural, outdoors-y feel. Dancing naked in the moonlight totally optional!

4. Secretary's Day Party

This creative dinner party theme could be so much fun! Dress in a suit and have your guests do the same. Send the invitations out glued to a small yellow legal notepad. Borrow an old typewriter and make it your dinner table centerpiece. Give each guest a typing assignment as a dinner party game, or have a contest to see who takes the best dictation.

5. Earth Day Party

The obvious choice for this dinner theme is, of course, a green themed dinner party! Make sustainable choices for your menu, decorate with natural items, use recycled materials, etc.. Give plants or seeds as dinner party favors, and revolve any games or activities around preserving the planet.

6. Leap Year Party

Of course, you can only do this most exclusive of dinner party themes every few years! But throwing a Leap Year dinner party every Leap Year is a great tradition to start.

7. Groundhog Day Party

This is such an original dinner party suggestion... and one that, at the end of winter, comes at just the right moment to cheer everybody up. Decorate your home with sun-printed decorations, or with winter and spring themes combined. Give everybody a little stuffed groundhog or a pair of sunglasses for a party favor. Serve a combination of spring and winter dishes.

8. April Fool's Day Party

Sure, it happens close to Easter time, but this dinner theme is so much more fun! The best way to have fun with this dinner theme? Make everything in your decorations and menu something other than they seem! Cook a dish that looks like one thing, but is actually another, like a watermelon carpaccio (that looks like meat) or a kitty litter cake for dessert. Be silly and have fun with it!

9. Kentucky Derby Party

The Kentucky Derby is a neat event, but most people don't watch it. And if you don't want to, you don't have to watch it as part of your dinner party. Just build your dinner theme around it. A grass-printed table cover, a wreath of flowers as a centerpiece, and betting games all night (you can even place silent bets on who will be the last or first to finish their dinner!).

10. Wimbledon Party

Again, you don't have to watch the tournament to host a Wimbledon themed dinner party! Have all of your guests dress in white. Create a tennis-ball centerpiece. Make little yellow tennis ball cupcakes for dessert. And play a game of Wii Tennis at the end of the meal!

11. Apple Harvest Party

This is one of those dinner party themes that would work well with lots of different foods: peaches, strawberries, etc. Build your menu around a particular ingredient, and use it to decorate as well.

There are lots of great ideas for dinner party themes here that you can play around with to suit your own tastes. But you certainly don't have to work from this list! Every month, there are lots of weird or usual holidays and celebrations you can choose from for creative dinner themes. You can find a nice sized list of weird holidays at this Holiday Insights.

Dinner Party Themes Based Around a Personal Celebration

If something is happening in your life or in the life of somebody you care about, it gives you the perfect excuse to celebrate with a dinner party. Some ideas for themes for dinner parties based on personal occasions or celebrations are:

Not to mention events like baby showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, wedding showers, engagement parties, rehearsal dinners, etc.. You can also combine these with any other kind of theme. A Graduation Luau, for example, would be a ton of fun!

Cultural and Food Theme Ideas for a Dinner Party

If you don't have a special occasion or event to work from, a really fun idea is to revolve your dinner party theme around something you like-- a food, a culture, etc. These sorts of dinner themes are great... because they easily guide everything about your dinner party: the menu, the decorations, the wines/drinks, even the music and invitations.

Some good cultural dinner themes are:

  • Mexican Dinner Party: An authentic Mexican menu, Mexican music, piñata decorations, Mexican blanket style table covers, etc.
  • Thai Dinner Party: Real leaf place mats, Thai flavors, food served in coconuts
  • Japanese Dinner Party: Sushi, bamboo place mats, bonsai trees, minimalist decorations
  • Italian Dinner Party: A typical Italian menu, sunflowers (Tuscan), Italian wine, checked tablecloths, pasta and tomato decorations (pasta in a vase for a cheap centerpiece!)
  • Chinese Dinner Party: Dumplings, Chinese lanterns, fans, fortune cookies
  • Spanish Dinner Party: Tapas or paella, red and yellow decorations, bottles of olive oil, Spanish wines, sangria

Thai Dinner Party Theme with Recipes and Decorations
A bonus with using these sorts of dinner party themes? It's good for your budget.

The ingredients you'll have to buy will generally appear in several recipes, meaning you won't need a lot of extras. Also, you'll know that your choice of recipes will all have a specific flavor signature that will help your menu be more cohesive.

Setting or Era-Based Dinner Party Theme Ideas

You can also choose a place or time to revolve your dinner theme around. You can be as specific or unspecific as you want.

  • A Beach Luau Dinner
  • Evening on the Wagon Train Dinner
  • Prohibition Era Speakeasy Dinner
  • 60's Flower Power / Tie-Dye Dinner
  • Retro 50's Style Dinner (circle skirts, casseroles, and Baked Alaska!)
  • A Night at the Casino

If it helps you to narrow down or find a theme, you can also base your setting and era on a specific movie, book, play, etc., or even a genre. Some interesting ideas might be:

  • James Bond
  • Casablanca
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood
  • 12 Angry Men
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Apollo 13
  • The Godfather
  • Star Wars
  • Chicago

If there's something you really love, there IS a way to turn it into a creative dinner party theme... really! With a little planning and creativity, nothing --not even, say, Orwell's "1984"-- is impossible to pull off.

The Murder Mystery Dinner Theme

One theme that seems to always be growing in popularity is a dinner party murder mystery theme. If you ever played Clue, you'll have an idea how a murder mystery party works. Putting this together requires that you have a partner in crime-- namely, the person who will be playing the guilty party. You may also want to consider encouraging people to come in costumes suited to the mystery.

After the guests arrive and dinner's begun, you'll announce that everyone is a suspect in a murder. Throughout the meal, the guests get various clues to try and figure out who your guilty party is. Most of this is easier to arrange if you use a pre-purchased murder mystery party game that will help to guide the mystery and the action.

So Many Themes, So Little Time! There are SO many options and inspirations out there to draw from for your dinner party themes, there's no real reason not to have a great one. Get creative, use what you like, and have a lot of fun with it!

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Looking for dinner party themes for a party you're hosting soon? You'll definitely want some of the following references:

Party Food Planning Ideas


How to Plan a Party


Coming Up...

Hippity, Hoppity,
Easter's on its Way

The date for Easter falls on April 20th this year!

Take a look at Easter Dinner and Party Planning for recipes, edd dye tips, assembling Easter baskets, and more!

And plan to make this adorable...

It's so cute, it may be the best thing you do this Easter.


Share and share alike! If you have a great dinner party idea or tip, send it in!

After all, what better way to pass on your knowledge than to share it with other hosts and hostesses?

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