The delight and inspiration that a beautiful event evokes can linger for days, months, even a lifetime. But in an age when most event-goers have seen it all, whether in person or on the Internet, impressing them demands more innovation and attention to detail. So how do the pros do it?
The following are rules that top event designers and caterers in the US follow to create magical experiences that thrill even the most jaded guests.
Use colour to set the mood
It's called "mood lighting" for a reason: A wash of colour is one of the simplest and most budget-friendly ways to transform a space - and blue is the most calming and pleasing of shades. "Blue makes an event feel special," says Brian Tovar, co-founder and creative director of Livesight, a lighting-design company in New York City. "It's a gift to lighting designers." Different blues create different effects, he notes: Mix in a little purple, and the space feels risqué, or blend blue with white light for a futuristic ambience.
Play with contrast and texture
"If something's all the same texture, the eye scans across it and moves on to the next thing," says Nelson Pitts, owner of The Other Half, a Los Angeles-based company that designs and styles events, and creates large-scale floral installations.
At flower markets, he searches for unusual species with contrasting textures: big, soft blossoms; spiky little buds, and mossy fans of greenery. Sometimes he creates visual interest with varied colors, and he's not opposed to spray-painting blooms for a compelling hybrid of natural and artificial.
Develop a focal point
Whether it's a spotlit hors d'oeuvres station, an art installation or a stage, attracting guests' eyes is almost always accomplished with lighting. The reverse is true, as well. It's possible to transform a hotel ballroom by focusing the lights away from sliding partitions and busy carpeting and onto the room's more exciting design elements.
We live in an age of transparency. Just as the Internet reveals our secrets, the predominant material used in our built environment -- glass -- emphasises visibility and openness by harnessing the beauty of light.
Go big or go small
People love huge things, and they love tiny things, and special events are the perfect opportunity to showcase both.
Conversely, items in miniature are attention-getters. Creative Edge crafts petite ice-cream sandwiches that are adorable and delicious. Varied flavors of the tiny treats are displayed in separate compartments of a Lucite tray, and guests often try every flavour without overindulging on dessert.