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July 31, 2020

How to Create an Atmosphere and Not a Theme

You may be asking yourself, what’s the difference and why does this even matter? Aside from the budgetary conversation, this may be the next most important conversation between a planner and their client. Understanding the client’s true vision and how they/their guests should feel, beyond the surface level statement of, “I want a Garden Party theme,” will make for a much more enjoyable planning process!

I once had a client request the all-too-popular Winter Wonderland theme. Instead of jumping into décor concepts and color palettes, I took it further by asking, “How do you want the room to feel and how do you wish to feel once inside? Cozy and comfortable, a bit more magical, elegant or family oriented?”

This client wanted to walk into a “wintery forest.” She was looking for a traditional white outdoor landscape, not a slope-side lodge or a room draped in crystals and snowflakes. She envisioned plenty of seating and dining tables to encourage eating and conversation. Getting the client to clarify how the event should be designed and ultimately how it should make her and the guests feel was SO important. Beyond creating the atmosphere, it helped focus the budget. I knew which elements she would deem most important. It also saved my decor vendors time. You don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of event design and waste creative efforts on over-the-top ideas the client will never approve.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s worth sprinkling in a few crazy ideas here and there —the event should be memorable and you never know what the client will say until it’s in front of them. Just keep in mind, they are more likely to say yes to the one-off crazy idea, than an entire proposal of them.

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