One of the top questions we get from clients – especially this time of year – is how do I start planning my event? And what should I include in my event design? We get it – between social media, pinterest, print, and google – inspiration, checklists, and how to guides are seemingly everywhere these days. And to make it even more challenging – they never seem to provide the same guidance, which can leave you wondering what is the actual best approach?
While we wholeheartedly value the importance of varied approaches – because truthfully in most instances there is no one size fits all for event planning. Each client has his/her own unique event planning needs. We do believe, however, that you can approach event planning strategically and your event design can be heartfelt. So if you are looking for the strategies that help make your planning experience stress free, joyful and your event design uniquely yours – you’re in the right place!
In an effort to share the insight we’ve gathered over the past 6 years of event planning, we are starting a series all about our event planning approach, our design approach, and how you can use it for your own event.
Our event design is grounded in story telling and experience building. While we aim for the end result to be aesthetically beautiful – beauty for us comes in the form of feelings. We choose to focus on how a space should feel. We work with you to hone in on what you want your guests to experience at each point of your event. And we translate this into visuals.
Together we tie your story into the colors, the space, and the elements we infuse the design with. And it all starts with determining how the following four elements can together craft a truly unforgettable experience. So lets dive deeper into what each of these facets includes and provide you with a few ways you can use them to kick start thinking about your event design
Your event should include facets of your story – both your past, your present and your future. And these don’t have to be overly obvious. For example your cocktail napkins could include one of your college colors as a fun way to tie into the fact that are college sweethearts. Or perhaps you have heirloom pieces from family that you would love to include in the details of your day – showcasing those in your detailing styling allows is the perfect way have them preserved (and then live on in your wedding album). You can then create a unique interactive display that encourages guests to get to know you, and your families.
We work with our clients to find ways at each point of the event to infuse parts of who they are and how they got to today into their design. Get creative here.
We’ve chatted a little about the cresendo effect – a design tool we use. Briefly, this design approach seeks to take your guests through your event experience by building and layering repetitive elements throughout the evening. One way to do this is by building experiences – like the seating chart below that we designed with one of our clients. Not only was this a beautiful display piece but it tied in beautifully to the geometric elements featured in greater detail during dinner and then dancing.
This is only one way to create experience. We will dive deeper into this topic future posts (its truthfully a post of its own) but other ways are through your paper products, your welcome area, your welcome gifts, how you encourage guests to transition to the next aspect of the event, the ways in which you show appreciation. The experience element is a central aspect of our event design work – this is where the feeling
In our opinion, your event design should also be functional. It should serve your event purposefully. It should have features that guide/inform your guests of what is coming next. It should assist your vendor team. And it should do some of the heavy lifting in order to make an event seamless. Some examples – a seating chart in cocktail hour and place cards with clear menu indicators for efficient and accurate dinner service; an order of events sign to highlight where and when the next aspect of the event is going to happen; and favors beautifully styled near where guests will exit so they remember to take your gift of appreciation.
And finally beauty. Do you see what we did there? We left beauty as one of the final considerations. Because while its undeniably important – it would be lost without the elements above. However, when the colors are meticulously deciphered and when the textures and accents are layered on top of the elements above – this is when it all starts to come to life. Beauty is how we transform the ideas and feelings into the visuals that help us tell and showcase the work of the other elements. Its here that we add the statement pieces – the ones that you’ve been dreaming about (and secretly pinning). And its here that we hone in on those big and small details – all of which help create cohesion an important feature for the overall experience.
Its about designing in layers – keeping in mind all the elements above – so that you have a truly one of kind event.
When each aspect listed above is carefully and strategically considered and meticulously curated – the result is pure magic. Its about finding the design sweet spot – the place where each of these elements sits in balance with the other in order to create an event that is entirely a reflection of you. This is the heartbeat of event design. When guests and family comment on how the space is so you. This is when we know we’ve hit the sweet spot.
Image Credit(s): image 1 – Ali & Paul Co; image 2,3 – Caroline Logan Photography ; image 4,5- Brianna Wilbur
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