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You’re planning a big event. You’ve selected the caterer and picked the menu. You’ve hired the entertainment. Everything looks okay as you prepare to send the invitations, but at the same time, it seems so . . . unexceptional. This could be any event. In fact, to your chagrin, you realize it is every event.

How do you make it special?

One way to make your event stand out is through the deliberate use of color. Despite the importance of color scheme in weddings, you might not think about using color as a way to create coherence and drama in other events. And yet having a distinct color theme for your celebration does just that.

Read on, and we’ll show you some of the ways you can use a color theme to make your next event memorable.

Use Color to Foreshadow People’s Expectations

Edgar Allen Poe, the inventor of the modern horror genre, understood very well how important color is in setting the tone of an event. In his short story, “The Masque of the Red Death,” a character throws a color themed party in which a suite of rooms, each one decorated a different color, leads to a black room with blood-red windows and an ebony clock that strikes fear in the heart of everyone who hears it chime.

You just know that something terrible is about to happen in that room. And it does.

Why not use color foreshadowing just as masterfully?

  • Introduce your event’s signature color in the invitation to give guests a hint about the celebration’s mood and ambiance.
  • Change colors in stages as the evening progresses. Seeing new flowers or dishes in a new color appear on the table gives guests that sense of pleasurable anticipation as they wait to see what happens next.
  • Use flowers to reinforce your color theme. Choose multiple arrangements of the same flower for big impact, or make bouquets that are monochromatic for a more subtle and sophisticated effect.
  • Instruct your guests to come dressed in the party’s color theme. As they prepare to attend, they are already entering the spirit of the event and looking forward to how others will interpret the dress code.

Let the Color Be the Event

A woman we know decided to host an event to celebrate the publication of a long-awaited book of poetry. She thought for a long time about how to incorporate poetry into the theme of the event and finally hit upon her great idea. She decided to call her party Orange, since orange is a word for which there is no natural rhyme.

This theme gave her lots of ways to allude to poetry without being precious with language.

  • She sent out invitations with the image of an MBTA station in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, which is on the Orange Line. The station name is Green, and seeing “Green” in the color orange created the kind of cognitive dissonance she was after.
  • She deliberately created a menu of food and wine pairings that did not marry well.
  • She decorated everything in shades of orange — but she herself wore green.

Play on the Standard Associations we Have with Color

You may not want to make color the main character. Nevertheless, keeping the psychology of color in mind as you plan the decor for your event will help you to create a theme that is consonant with the celebration itself. Here are some of the standard associations we have with color.

  • Red is a powerful color, which the Chinese associate with luck. It signals energy, fire and passion. Using a bright red theme means you are ready for a celebration that is bold and a bit audacious. A dance party is perfect for a red color theme.
  • Blue is a serene and cerebral color, which signifies trust and strength. It makes a good choice for openings and readings — and of course, your first nephew’s baby shower.
  • Yellow, like red, is a stimulating color, and the happiness color on the spectrum. You can calm yellow down by bringing in brown and green tones, but in its natural state, yellow is a color of great emotionality and creativity. Use yellow as your theme color if you want a party that will encourage people to be talkative and optimistic.
  • Green offers lots of reassurance and balance. Like blue, it is a soothing color. Because it’s also a natural color, it feels refreshing. Green is a great color to use as your theme if you’re hosting a dinner party or a brunch. Although it doesn’t stimulate the appetite like red and yellow, it encourages people to take it easy and enjoy quiet conversation with their meal.
  • Pink is a nurturing color that makes people feel comfortable — unless it is taken to extremes, when it can seem overpowering and cloying. Though less powerful than red, it carries some of the same overtones.
  • Violet’s connotations are of spirituality and royalty. It is an exalted color and a bit of an introspective one. It’s a good color theme for events that are serious in nature, such as fundraisers and charitable events.
  • Black, the absence of all color, can seem both sophisticated — black and white is an elegant color theme, for instance — and a bit menacing. We love the idea of a tribute to Poe — an all black room at a Halloween party.

We Can Help with All Shades of the Rainbow

At Pink Monkey, we are dedicated fans of color. Give us a call or send us an email, and we can help you to design an event that is perfectly color coordinated to match the mood of your choice.