Formal Theme Ideas

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Choosing a theme for your formal can be an exciting task.
Choosing a theme for your formal can be an exciting task. (Image: Stockbroker/Valueline/Getty Images)

Select a theme to really pull together a formal party. The theme can be a guide to follow when it comes to choosing invitations, decorating and planning a menu for the party. Whether it's a prom, Sweet Sixteen party or cocktail event, pick a theme before you begin planning to help add excitement to your affair.

80s Prom Theme

Hold an 80s prom theme and go back to the decade that spawned big hair and colorful outfits. Have everyone dig in their closets, their mom's closets or a thrift store to find their 80s fashions. Prom dresses were ruffly, puffy and way over the top. Lace gloves, fishnet stockings and bangs that were hard from hairspray were all the rage. For women, blue eyeshadow and frosty pink lipstick will complete the 80s prom look.

Men can rock a white suit and be Don Johnson from the hit show, "Miami Vice." Invitations can be in the shape of a Rubik's cube. Specify on the invitation that it is a formal party so prom or formal wear is encouraged. Serve finger foods and soda and play hits from the 80s to get your guests dancing.

Black and White Ball

A black and white ball is a classic formal party idea. Decorate your venue in black, white and touches of silver for a sophisticated feel. A balloon arch, silver streamers and twinkle lights will look elegant. Black invitations lettered with silver calligraphy style print will get guests into the mood right away. Encourage guests to dress formally in black and white if it's possible. Serve black and white themed foods such as pasta, cheesecake, and sandwiches. Use your imagination to come up with ideas. Hire a band to play standards to bring elegance to the evening.

Ocean Theme

Have a party under the ocean with a magical sea theme. Send invitations shaped like seashells. Focus the decorations on the colors of the sea such as blue, green and turquoise with pastel accents. Lots of flowing streamers, floating candles with seashells on tables, and twinkling blue lights will create an atmosphere similar to being underwater. Serve seafood such as grilled fish and shrimp cocktail. Make wall decorations in the shape of fish or shells, or string shell garlands around the room. Hire a contemporary band or DJ to play dance music.

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