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WEDDINGS | 10 THINGS EVENT DESIGNERS ALWAYS DO

April 12, 2021

There’s so much more to event design than setting some beautiful flowers on a table, lighting a few candles and calling it a day. While many events are as simple as that, most, especially when celebrating something as significant as a wedding or other major milestone, are much more layered when it comes to design. Whether you’re designing you’re own day or are simply looking for the best designer for your day, below are just a few of the details that help ensure your day appears professionally designed and executed:

SERVE A WELCOME DRINK (AND PRESENT IT BEAUTIFULLY)
Event design involves both the obvious aesthetics of the day, but also the less obvious like food & drink presentation. And we love to anticipate guest’s every needs. A welcome drink allows for all of the above. We talk so much more about them here and here, but having a server appear out of nowhere with a beautifully present tray of seasonal and well curated cocktails is a must for any designer.

UPGRADE LINENS
I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve used the in house linens for our events. While it may seem like an insignificant detail, we consider textiles a canvas which we are building our table designs on. While you don’t have to go crazy with the textile patterns or anything like that, the quality of the textile, how it hangs on the table and how the napkin feels in your guest’s hands is all a really important element in creating an elevated design.

CONSIDER MULTIPLE TEXTILES & MATERIALS IN A SINGULAR SPACE
While we’re on linens, I rarely use the same linen on every single dining table, bar, cocktail table and so on. It’s much like when you design your home. You probably wouldn’t have your sectional, the throw pillows, the drapes and the blanket you use be all the exact same textile. Instead, you would find elements that compliment each other as well as create the overall vibe you want your home to exude be it comfortable, eclectic and so on. Event design is the same way, especially when you’re talking about 20 to 30 guest tables. It can be so beautiful and interesting to have 2 to 3 linen textures or different table tops be it wood, mirrors, marble and so on. It will gives your design a depth and interest that makes it obvious a professional was involved!

UPGRADE THE CHAIRS
Like the linens, we rarely, if ever, use the in house chairs. There have been exceptions when traveling to exotic places who use handmade furniture from local artisans, but for the most part, plan to invest in your chairs. While so many people think this isn’t necessary, the reality is you have as many chairs as you do guests and sometimes double if you have chairs for the ceremony and dinner. That’s 400 chairs for 200 guests. Sure some people may never know the difference, but if they’re the wrong fit for your aesthetic, you will notice.

CURATE THE BAND, SERVER OR ANY OTHER FRONT OF THE HOUSE ASSOCIATE’S ATTIRE
We don’t bring in a custom designed uniform for every event, but we certainly inquire and care about what our guest facing team wears for the day. For some we come up with a completely custom vision for the day and others, we simply ask the servers to wear a certain tie or ask the band to be formal. Depending on the occasion, we’ve gone all out and had servers in relevant “costumes” for lack of better word and for others, what a catering company provides will fit right in. No matter what ask your band, catering team and more what their associates wear. While it may not be as noticeable, having attire that blends in with the experience, can make your celebration that much more refined.

PUT THE GUEST’S NAME AT THEIR PLACE SETTING
This the simplest detail you can do to make your guest feel special. People love seeing their name in writing and love knowing they have a place reserved just for them. Whether it’s on a place card or written at the top of the dinner menu, this is an easy way to elevate the guest experience and the table design.

PRIORITIZE LIGHTING AS MUCH AS FLORALS (IF NOT MORE)
Lighting has the ability to fully change the mood of the celebration. Whether we have 50 chandeliers all being dimmed at different levels, or we have beautiful twinkle lights serving as a canopy for the celebration, lighting makes a huge impact. And even if you’re a couple who wants something a bit simpler, there are still key moments that will need a bit of a glow. I’ll write more about the different elements to consider when it comes to event lighting, but no matter what, don’t forget to work with your event designer or hire a lighting designer directly to ensure this element gets the proper attention.

THINK ABOUT THE BACKDROP FOR KEY MOMENTS
For any area that is considered a focal point be in the ceremony “altar”, the cake table, the band or the head table, we always think about what’s in the backdrop. This doesn’t mean we always add a drape behind the band or create signage behind the dessert display. We simply just make sure the backdrop isn’t distracting. If there’s a beautiful set of trees where we can set our bar or if the walls of the venue are interesting enough, we may just decide to work with the space, but no matter what we make sure to be intentional with the placement and with the backdrops we use.

INCORPORATE AT LEAST ONE GUEST SURPRISE
When designing your event, of course you want something aesthetically beautiful, but we personally want to make sure guests also have an amazing experience. For this reason, we love to incorporate as many guest surprises as we’re able to. This can be as simple as giving every guest their very own mini wedding cake, to confetti canons or fireworks to surprise performances and more. Choose something that makes sense with the style and region of your particular event and get creative. Going out of your way to delight and surprise guests is always a good idea.

Happy planning and as always, if there’s a topic or question I can address here, please don’t hesitate to leave it in the comments below or to email my team at hello@bethhelmstetter.com.

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