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Unicorn themes and inspiration seem to be everywhere at the moment. We delve into why this may be and offer some ideas for event theming to sprinkle some unicorn magic into any occasion.
The mythical creatures that fly and poop rainbows are the essence of the unicorn, with bright colours and a childish element, the unicorn trend is the perfect blend of nostalgia and fun that adults and children alike can enjoy. Unicorns also stand for something special, different or unique meaning you can be a unicorn yourself (minus the horn!).
With major brands such as Starbucks jumping on the bandwagon with their Unicorn Frappuccino and many other organisations attempting to follow suit, it seems this trend is gaining traction fast. From unicorn cafés to themes running through the fashion industry, like this unicorn pastel hair, the craze is growing.
What Is The Unicorn Theme?
Aside from the obvious mythological creature, the unicorn theme can encompass a lot of different elements. Essentially, it’s a happy go lucky, fun, fantasy theme with plenty of sweetness and sparkles. This of course can be toned up or down to suit your event and can incorporate other colours or logos, as the multi-colors can be combined easily.
While bold, rainbow colours are celebrated, a growing trend is the more muted unicorn pastel colour palette which tends to make the theme more sophisticated and understated. The joy is that you can go as bold or low-key as you want.
Why is the Unicorn Theme So Popular?
Kate Patay, CPCE from Patay Consulting has 20 years experience in special events and explains:
“The unicorn theme is increasingly popular thanks to a variety of key influencers all touching on it in various capacities in what marketers refer to as a “tipping point”. You have the term Unicorn being used in slang for something/someone that is unattainable because it's so special, while Taylor Swift is posting pictures with her gorgeous #GirlSquad all lounging on inflatable versions of these majestic beasts, and every hairstyle and makeup palette consists of bright, bold, iridescent colors with hints of sparkle.
In the event world we moved from very rustic trends to a more glamorous look being prevalent (FINALLY!), which brings sequins, sparkles and more Unicorn-esque themes dominating the storytelling of live events.”
Unicorn Theming Ideas
We asked Kate for her advice to event planners implementing this theme:
“There are ways to pull this off without overdoing it, as some fabulous designers have already done. It can be woven into the experience with proper lighting, fun props in your photo booths or desserts that have a swirl of colors and flavors with some surprise edible confetti in the center of them.”
So, with a multitude of options and scaling you don’t have to go all out, just incorporate some key elements to your event theme or décor to add some unicorn magic! Here is a roundup of some great inspiration and ideas for your events.
A favourite and easy way to incorporate the unicorn theme is via the catering which is completely adaptable with limitless possibilities. The general rule is sweet and colourful, and of course calories, sugar content and frills don’t matter when it comes to unicorns so if you can justify sprinkles, the more the better!
Something bold and obvious like this unicorn celebration cake is common for events and can be adapted in size to suit the amount you are catering for. It usually has a rainbow surprise in the middle.
Cupcakes are generally more accessible and easy to serve. These examples are proof that you don’t need a unicorn face to keep with the theme. The delicate swirl rainbow icing could be a better way to go if you want something more understated.
— Leighanne Shanley (@pr1nc3ssL3igh) April 23, 2017
Like regular drinks, except pastel or funky colours! They can definitely bring a mythical feel to the catering. Don’t limit the fun only to the food!
Edible glitter is definitely a thing which will find its way onto everything, including these delicious desserts. You can see two options for a toned down, pastel version and full on unicorn here.
— Holly's House (@hollys_house) March 17, 2017
Colored ice cream cones are hard to resist and can unlock the inner kid in your attendees.
What about unicorn cheesecake? Complete with raspberry ripple and marshmallows, another magical creation from Leighanne Shanley.
For the more health conscious attendee that still wants an element of unicorn magic, influencers are starting to incorporate the unicorn theme into recent hot trends such as the smoothie bowl.
Make Your Own
At a buffet you can allow guests to build their own unicorn food with multi-coloured spreads, sprinkles and edible stars!
— CIFT (@CIFTtweets) April 30, 2017
It can be hard to find a balance with the unicorn theme between going “all out” and straying into the realm of tacky but here are some ideas to add some magic to the décor.
Bold, bright and purple, this stage lighting compliments the dark silhouettes to create stunningly powerful visual effects at this music event.
Add candy and rainbow colours to centrepieces to brighten the tables. Whatever your event budget you can create fun, homemade, budget friendly ideas or create something epic if you have a little more to spend.
Do you know that you can even rainbow dye flowers?
Simply using pastel or rainbow balloons can have beautiful effects and really bring this layout to life. Creating archways also adds a sense of leaving one place and entering another, particularly when combined with fabric draping like in this example!
— TheIcedSugarCookie (@TheIcedSugarCoo) April 1, 2017
Add ribbon or beaded bunting to add an extra touch of colour and intrigue to an event.
You could opt for traditional bunting to incorporate your theme, branding or colours, with a unicorn touch of course!
— KarensKraftyKreation (@1986kreations) April 11, 2017
Glitter can be sprinkled on tables or incorporated into the décor at next to no cost.
Allow attendees to take some unicorns home with them with event favours or in the goody bags. Some great ideas incorporate glitter, sweets or the unicorns themselves which could be little crochets or simply unicorn stickers or logos. These wax melts are a cool idea and relatively budget friendly too.
If you don’t have much space on the tables then holographic rainbow table linen is going full unicorn with minimal effort, plus you don’t need fancy chinaware as it speaks for itself! Alternatively, you can choose rainbow or pastel napkins or chair covers to compliment plain tables.
Entertainment and Activities
Attendees enjoy engaging with this fun theme so if you can incorporate entertainment to harness the unicorn magic and intrigue it will also provide fantastic photo opportunities for social media to naturally boost event marketing.
Unicorns are another way of describing something special and unique so getting weird and wonderful speakers or entertainers keeps a strong link to the theme as well! You could also include important messages by opting for speakers who have been through unique ordeals or opportunities to gain some insight into extraordinary people and their points of view and stories, which is a hit with attendees.
Ask attendees to create their own unicorn horns or create a station where they can make them themselves and host a competition with unicorn prizes at the end as another excellent branding or sponsorship opportunity.
Perfect to entertain kids and adults alike, depending on the prizes inside, unicorn piñatas can be a unique sponsorship opportunity too by filling with branded products, and who doesn’t love hitting things while blindfolded?
Photo Backdrops and Props
Provide whimsical photo backdrops such as a bright rainbow theme or opt for something that incorporates the clouds or sky (since unicorns are flying creatures). Maybe you can’t get a real unicorn but you can provide fun unicorn props or costumes to amuse your guests!
Seeing is Believing
On second thoughts, event planners can do anything, including finding real unicorns!
On the beach of Lake Tahoe wedding dress designer, Hayley Paige, said I do. Red Carpet Events & Design had an actual unicorn appear on the beach as she exchanged vows and treated guests and bystanders to an experience they won't ever forget. It was beautiful, tasteful and no unicorns were harmed in the staging of this appearance!
Event Design and Coordination: Red Carpet Events and Design
Bride: Hayley Paige
Photography: Chard Photography
Event geo-filters are always fun and who doesn’t want to be a unicorn in their pictures! They are a great sponsorship opportunity as Starbucks found out when it partnered with Snapchat to create the unicorn filter.
Pin the horn on the unicorn, unicorn races and fancy dress are fun ways to incorporate the theme into entertainment and there are plenty of opportunities to adapt traditional games with a unicorn twist so suit your event! How about hook the unicorn with your unicorn horn instead of hook a duck?!
Lighting or even glow in the dark effects can have a lot of impact without having to cost the earth.
Sporting events shouldn’t have to miss out on the fun and can easily be adjusted. Colour runs are becoming increasingly popular and they are easy to incorporate the unicorn theme (since colours are a big part of it anyway).
Spruce up a pool party or event by the water with fun and magical pool floats such as this. You could also include cupcakes, donuts or sweet treat inflatables to compliment them too.
As they are your first point of contact, invitations should reflect the tone of your event and within the unicorn theme it lets others know the colour palette too.
You now have everything you need to be inspired by a unicorn theme. Whether you are looking to go all out or just include the lighter elements from décor, catering and entertainment there are plenty of ways to adapt a fun unicorn theme to suit your event needs.