Spotlight on Meetings and Conventions
Insider secrets to a crave-worthy event décor
It never fails. You’re in the midst of planning a huge corporate event, with hundreds of delegates from around the world. You’ve been assigned to make it happen and make it dazzle. Looking to create an unforgettable impression on your event goers, you turn to different decorating websites, Pinterest and Google images to stoke your creative fire.
But when you triumphantly bring back ideas to your decorating supplier, you’re met with an onslaught of questions, ifs and buts. What seemed like a piece of cake, ends up being more complicated and costly than you originally thought.
While event decorating does not have to be overly complex or a hassle, it cannot be planned whimsically without clear objectives, a clear budget and clear understanding of the logistics behind your vision.
We sat down with André Auger, President at Décorum Décors d’événements, a seasoned expert in providing decorating services for major corporate events and conventions, to get his top tips on how planners can create memorable—yet doable—décors.
Don’t hasten the creativity
“Oftentimes, an event’s décor becomes a last minute thought for some planners,” explained Mr. Auger. “We’ll receive an initial request for a custom décor on a Friday—for the following Tuesday. Of course, we can work miracles, but it stands to reason that last-minute, rushed requests definitely increase the risk of potential issues or lack of availability of certain décor items.”
While the majority of decoration suppliers can turn (almost!) on a dime, you need to plan in advance to make sure your supplier has enough leeway to orchestrate and execute your vision flawlessly. This is especially the case if you want custom items with a brand logo or personalized mentions.
Determine what mood you want to evoke
Of course, you want to spark a conversation and memorability with your event. But you need to precisely define the mood you want to create. Is the event centred around a product launch? Then, an aura of enthusiasm and excitement may be in order. Is your event more serious in nature? Perhaps a luxurious, yet low-key, ambiance is the way to go.
“Creativity cannot trump an event’s objectives,” said Mr. Auger. “Everything about your event—the décor, the food, the entertainment—must be aligned with the lasting impression you wish to make.”
Avoid the pitfalls of mood boards and social media
Think scouring social media will speed up your brainwork? Think again. “We meet with a lot of clients who share or have printed out social media mood board, and say ‘This is what we want.’ I commend the creativity and proactivity; however, these images are often photoshopped. What’s more, the feasibility, complexity and costs (read: logistics and venue regulations) are not necessarily taken into account.”
For example, you may want to add rustic-looking lamps to an outdoor garden theme. However, you need to think of the electrical wiring, local regulations and fire codes, and the venue’s infrastructure. “Don’t automatically assume that because it’s on Pinterest, it can be done in a snap,” Mr. Auger added.
Come clean with your budget
Many event planners may feel uncomfortable sharing their budgets from the get-go with their decorating suppliers. Yet, they shouldn’t. “We’re not here to judge or skimp on your décor if your budget is limited. Tell us from the start your true ballpark figure, explain your vision, and let us do the leg work. It’s much more efficient and effective when we know the size of the playground we have.”
Decorating suppliers have an enviable list of resources that will not only impress you with the final result but also keep your budget in check. Furthermore, if you have $X to spend on a Las Vegas themed supper, your decoration rep may forgo the over-the-top bling bling centerpieces and focus on luxurious accents that, at the end of the day, create just as much awe with your delegates.
Keep in mind your attendees
Once your creative juices start flowing, you may come up with a wide array of never-before-seen ideas that you are sure will get guests raving. You must nevertheless consider your audience personas to ensure that the theme and décor are aligned with their personalities as well as any cultural or religious sensibilities.
“Without catering into stereotypes and misconceptions, there is a huge difference in what will appeal to, a scientific community, for example, versus sales reps for a high tech company,” Mr. Auger said. If you’re hosting people from countries around the world, be sure to double-check so that your theme does not cause delegates to become ill at ease.
Choosing the décor for an upcoming business convention or corporate event doesn’t have to be relegated to the ho-hum, the gaudy or the didn’t-we-do-that-two-years-ago?. Establish a frank and long-term partnership with your décor supplier. And watch the magic happen.