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2. The Theme

One of the first decisions that needs to be made regarding your ball is the theme. This will dictate the venue, the tickets, the budget, the music and the overall “look & feel” of the event. Remember, choose a theme you think your students will actually like and create an event they will want to attend – that is the point, after all! The theme doesn’t need to stand up to close scrutiny, just wow people for 5 seconds or so.

What to Theme

There are many aspects of a ball that can be themed, from the major to the apparently mundane, but they will all contribute to the overall atmosphere of the event and the effectiveness of the theming.

  • The choice of venue
  • Professional lighting
  • The ticket design
  • The website / facebook group logo
  • The drinks
  • The music
  • The food
  • The dress code
  • The tables

Theme Ideas

  • Americana
  • The Enchanted Forest
  • Under the Sea
  • Australia
  • The Russians
  • The 1920s
  • The 1950s
  • James Bond
  • The Rainforest
  • Parisian Nights
  • Rainbow
  • A Winter Wonderland
  • Masquerade

Why You Should Theme

Depending on what you’re theming, it can be very cheap and simple or very expensive and time-consuming. It’s completely up to you how far you go and how much effort you put in, but try to think of the theming as an investment – better theming will attract more guests to buy tickets & attend, get the hype of the event going in advance and make sure it’ll be an event that they’ll never forget and be talking about for years to come.

The Dresscode

No matter how strongly you’ve decided to theme it will be necessary to specify a dress code. A basic dress code might simply be “Black tie & cocktail dresses” or “white tie & floor length dresses”. Other options include masquerade, rainbow, gangster, james bond or whatever theme you might have decided on.

Table decorations

If you’re having a sit-down meal you may wish to decorate the tables in accordance with your theme – this could include the napkins, centre decorations and smaller items such as crackers, bubbles for blowing, balloons, glitter, streamers, sweets and small keepsake items like toys. (One archeology ball we attended had small rubber dinosaurs on the table!). Table decorations needn’t cost very much but can have a large impact on guest enjoyment – they’re likely to want to be entertained while waiting to serve and between courses.

King & Queen

If you’re planning a traditional prom (or a prom parody ball) hold the elections for prom King and Queen plenty of time in advance and make sure that the winners (or those on the shortlist) are able to attend. Alternatively, hold the elections during the night.


Favours and other mementos are a great way to highlight the night. Favours can be given away to the guests, or sold as mementos in advance to raise funds for the event. Please remember to order favours and personalised goods plenty of time in advance.

If you decide not to theme

If you have a tight budget or an already lavish venue, you might decide against a strong theme. Even if you do go this route, don’t overlook table decorations and make sure the music, food and venue are appropriate to your guests.

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This completely FREE resource is provided by the lovely ball photographers at Peasy Photos.

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