When we entertain at home, we know exactly how things should look and feel. “Everything was just perfect,” our guests (hopefully) say, to which we casually reply, “Oh, it was nothing.” Which (hopefully) it was. Like most things, entertaining becomes easier the more you do it.
When it comes to planning weddings and other milestones too large to do ourselves, even the most seasoned entertainers gladly turn to the experts. We hire planners to help us put all of the pieces in place, and designers to make sure our visions come to life.
For many, though, what is perhaps one of the hardest parts of this process is relinquishing control, and really trusting the people that we’ve enlisted to host and decorate on our behalf.
Naturally, there will be times during the planning process that you might disagree with advice you’re given, regardless of the experience or expertise of those that you’ve hired. And while it can be difficult, our design team shares some pieces of advice that cannot be ignored.
Give the Greens Light: Don’t Leave Your Floral in the Dark
You’ve spent time and money finding the perfect hues, varieties, and combinations of flowers. Your floral designers have carefully and artfully fused these into gorgeous combinations that will breathe life and color into your celebration. But as budgets close in and decisions are made, notes Event Producer Staci Miller, “people sometimes look to lighting–pinspotting in particular–as an area where costs can be cut, when in fact the opposite is true.”
Whether alone, or in combination with the overall lighting scheme, pinspotting (the direct beams of light that illuminate tabletop floral) are worth every cent. Without proper lighting dedicated solely to these tabletop tableaux, you and your guests can kiss them goodbye after dark.
If you’re looking to cut costs, cutting the lights is not the way to do so.
Want to learn more about lighting up your special day? HMR Designers share their insight in the article Love at First Light featured on Mod Wedding.
Architectural Significance: Design for Your Venue
One of the first steps in your event planning and design will be selecting your venue. While we’re typically drawn to spaces that are similar to our overall style, sometimes we can get caught up in moment, forgetting that where we will put our floral, furniture and decor will affect what floral, furniture and decor we might choose.
Much like a menu, one decision will affect many others, and you need to be prepared for that. You might love both Italian and Thai cuisine, but you likely won’t serve them together. Keep your vision close at hand as you look at venues, and when you find a space you love, make sure you’re comfortable with how this choice will influence others.
“Venue selection comes first, and for many, their original design ideas don’t change,” notes Event Designer Rachel Silverberg. “You have to be open to amending whatever your ideas of ‘traditional’ or ‘modern’ are to better match your space.”
Lay of the Land: Let the Pros Handle Your Room Layouts
Much like measurements do in a recipe, room layouts and configurations greatly influence the outcome of the event.
When we entertain at home, we know how many go best where depending on what, and we know this from seeing the possibilities firsthand. The same is true for event designers and the venues they work with.
As Corporate Event Director David Epstein notes, “The layout is an integral part of any event having a successful flow, both aesthetically and logistically.”
What David is referring to are the considerations that are undoubtedly in your designer’s mind, but may not be in yours: things like traffic management or hiding unsightly production and technical equipment. “Of course you want to space to look great,” adds David, “but you also want to avoid bottlenecks, lines and other issues.”
Wet Cement: Make Concrete Gametime Weather Decisions
Finally, when it comes to elements of your events being contingent on, well, the elements, don’t rain on your designer’s parade. While it’s fine to have hope, when things aren’t looking good outdoors, insisting on waiting until the last minute can create chaos for installation teams already working amidst the delicate balance of caterers, lighting crews, venue maintenance teams, and photographers. In these situations, it’s often better to put the decision into the hands of the people who know exactly how much time is needed to execute your vision.
Senior Event Designer John Hensel puts it quite simply: “listen to the people who are working so hard to make your day perfect.” Taking chances on the weather not only sacrifices your decor, notes John, but can also put the production teams…and your guests at potential risk. While you can’t control the weather, your event designer can ensure that you have the most beautiful possible scenery.
In closing, remember that you hired professionals because you wanted the best for your event, and you truly get your money’s worth by trusting their advice and accepting their expertise. In the end, when everything comes together with absolute perfection, your event designers and planners are just as ecstatic about it as you.