Planning a Theme for New Year’s Eve Party

Pink and sparkle for NYE

Planning a New Year’s Eve party, or any party for that matter, can be extremely stressful when you are juggling to complete all the tasks in time whilst still trying to enjoy the night yourself. But one of the best parts of organising a party is the actual planning part – choosing the theme, deciding on the décor, the outfit and drinks to match the night. A New Year’s Eve theme should be as entertaining and fun as possible. A theme will make the party planning easier when it comes to choosing decorations, music, food and drinks. To avoid getting stressed, it is a good idea to plan well ahead. Check out my previous article on How to Organise a NYE Party Without the Stress for tips on how to stay on top of things.

Getting started

An easy way to start is to make a list (I love lists!) of possible theme options and how you can incorporate different colours, flavours and spirits to make the most of each theme. Then choose one you are excited about and that doesn’t take all your time to organise, but you can still make it extra-special. Or if you really want to make it easy, just decide what you want to wear on NYE and choose the theme based on your outfit. That’s how I roll most years…

Once you have decided on a theme and more or less have an idea of the numbers, it is time to come up with the budget. Think about the drinks and snacks you’d like to include as well as the cost of decorations (proper balloons can be surprisingly expensive). Budgeting will help you decide whether you should ask the guests to bring something. It’s never a bad idea to ask people to bring a bottle, especially when you are already organising everything else.

Yello champagne cocktail

Theme ideas for New Year’s Eve:

Black & White

Black and white is often a very elegant theme for New Year’s Eve party and everyone is expected to dress accordingly. You can get inspiration from black-and-white film classics. To complement the black-tie theme you could offer a classic cocktail, such as a Martini, Sidecar or Kir Royal, as a welcome drink. Blackberries and blackcurrants will look fabulous as cocktail garnish.

If you want to bring a little sparkle to the celebration, you could adapt the theme into Bowties and Sparkles. Everyone will still be looking smart with a little extra! To bring shine to the cocktails consider getting some edible gold to rim the glassware with or simply add flakes into a Martini.

Edible glitter is also easy to use in both drinks and food, but be careful not go OTT and make it look too much like the Wizard of Oz.

blackberry party cocktails
Photo by Melissa Walker Horn


Red is a bold colour. If you want to make it your main colour, try combining it with cool greys to make the red shades pop. Just make sure to skip all the love hearts as you don’t want it to look like a Valentine’s Day instead of New Year’s Eve party!

Use red berries to make fresh juices and syrups to create various Prosecco cocktails. Cranberries and redcurrants will give your drinks a nice festive feel.

Red Champagne cocktail for NYE
Red Champagne cocktail

Your Favourite Decade

As we are about to begin a new decade, why not ask your guests to dress according to their favourite decade? Personally, I like to dress to impress for NYE, so I would also point out it is not a fancy-dress party, and everyone should look fabulous. You can have a lot of fun choosing cocktails from various decades.


A gold theme makes decorating very easy for you. You can match the gold with black, white, rose gold or a bit of silver. Gold parties are made for Champagne and Champagne cocktails. You might want to read my previous post on the Do’s and Don’ts of Drinking Champagne when preparing for this theme. You can also use edible gold to decorate the drinks. It’s a perfect glitz and glam theme and instantly suggests outfits that are another level of fabulous! Don’t forget to get big golden balloons to create 2020 – it’s the perfect backdrop for photos.

Golden champgne serve
Photo by Billy Huynh
Champagne bottle for New Year's Eve

Themes for smaller groups:

If you’re only organising a smaller gathering for a select few, some of the above themes may be a bit too much. It doesn’t mean you can’t jazz up your festivities with various activities.

Wine Tasting Night

This is a great way to get everyone involved. Choose some of your favourite wines or ask each guest to bring their favourite bottle. It’s also a great time to show off your charcuterie board skills! A wine-tasting theme also goes well with fondues, both cheese and broth. If you really want to impress, write down some fun and informative wine-related snippets to share with your guests. Consider serving mulled wine for when you are outside watching the fireworks.

rose wine for party

Let’s Eat

Have a focus on the food by organising Nyyttikestit, aka Potluck. This is a common Finnish tradition in many festivities. Each guest (or couple) will bring a dish to be heated up and served on the night. Some cold dishes or desserts can also be included. This way you can simply supply drinks and a dish of your own to keep things simple. The whole party gets to enjoy an extensive meal on the night.

Karaoke Night

Looking for something more casual? Organise karaoke sessions throughout the night. This theme is also easily combined with the above foodie option. Eat well and sing your heart out. No dress code needed, just a great selection of songs. Just make sure you can sing, someone has to be brave enough to be the first…

Casino Royale

A great way to get a smaller group to dress up. A night of card games and fabulous cocktails, even better if you can get someone to serve the drinks whilst you are all playing a game of poker. Just don’t wear those mirrored sunglasses like Kim K if you are serious about winning…

Golden deck of cards and dice
Mojito party cocktail with golden straw

What are you doing this NYE? Are you organising a themed New Year’s Eve party or perhaps going to one?

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