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April 24, 2020

Recognizing the Obvious, Creating the Uncommon

I recently found myself looking back on a few events I’ve had the privilege to produce, all because of my newest guilty pleasure: a fashion inspired docuseries on Amazon Prime called Making the Cut! Events for clients not only around the globe, but also those that would have a significant impact on my local community. Events that became the new benchmark in my success.

A few years ago, I was asked to produce an event for 10,000+ people. The theme required me to capture the composition, style, and soul from each major neighborhood in my city. After extensive research and design, I knew one neighborhood would be problematic both from a theme and space perspective.

The space was a long and narrow lobby, sectioned off from everything by floor-to-ceiling glass windows and an escalator on one side. The escalator never seemed to belong but would become the muse. With considerable creativity and local craftsmanship, what once was a small theatre lobby became a runway for the local businesses that makeup a neighborhood known for high-end fashion and inventive cuisine. Escalators, as I’d come to realize years later from the aforementioned docuseries, are a great catwalk. They put focus where YOU direct it and makes a statement! 

A more important point that became ingrained in me because of that experience … focus on where to push the limits within an event and recognize what’s key to painting the complete picture. Address what is considered the obvious challenge(s) in order to move on and take a deeper look into the less glaring obstacles. 

What opposition is being created between concept and location or many times concept and budget? Great success can be found in first narrowing down the focus and highlighting a few opposing key areas such as Food & Beverage and Entertainment or Décor and Venue. Ask your catering partner to tailor the uniforms or better yet, provide the staff with custom touches to paint the full picture. Likewise, asking the band members to create outfits relevant to their music and to the event’s motif will make a difference. Many times, clients or planners want to drown-out the staff, make them blend into the background by wearing black or some other muted shade. I say, bring them into the mix; show them support by making them a part of the event thus completing the full story. Creating a full concept is more than just the décor and signage overtly welcoming a guest to the “Urban Jungle”; it’s pulling together every aspect: food and beverage, table and seating arrangements, décor and centerpiece designs, entertainment, the venue and staff all using an array of color, textures, height and creativity beyond the evident.

Inspiration should come from unlikely sources; watching designers create looks for a fashion show or some sight or sound that occurs every day. Maybe I’m alone with these unplanned revelations, but I certainly hope not. The ability to see and create something out of nothing is our gift as planners. The creation of even one moment that can take the client’s breath away is significant, however, well-designed frequency of such moments makes your event epic!

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