ILEA Quick Tips For Event Planners: July 2016

Tips for working with your decor partner by Pete Nelson (designer at Event Lab).

How your event space looks and feels can make or break the entire event.  Here are some tips on how to get the best décor for your budget.

Get bids from several décor providers – While we all love loyalty and making lasting relationships with our clients and suppliers, it is important to get a fresh perspective every now and then.  If you do get several different quotes, there a couple things to keep in mind.  Let each company know that you are getting bids and be open about who the bidders are.  Give each bidder the chance to meet with you and ask any pertinent questions they may have.  And most importantly, let the ones who didn’t get the business know the reasons why. 

Be honest about your décor budget. Every event has a budget, and letting your décor partner know that budget up front is essential for all involved.  Knowing the budget will not only give your designer some parameters of what can be done, it will also give them an opportunity to suggest décor pieces that will have the most impact for your event.  A smaller budget doesn’t mean that your event can’t look amazing.  For example, putting your entire budget into linens and chair covers may not be as impactful as using that money to create a custom backdrop or stunning buffets.

Get your décor provider involved long before the event is planned – Oftentimes, an event has been in the planning stages for several months before a décor supplier is contacted.  This means the invitations have been designed, the theme has been chosen and the venue has been secured.  Getting your designer involved in the early planning stages can be a huge benefit as they can help direct you toward the overall look and feel that you are trying to achieve. 

Use a company that has an inventory – Using a company that has an inventory at their fingertips is going to save you a ton of money and give you more options in the end.  It also gives you the opportunity to explore their warehouse and actually see the décor elements they are proposing.  Lastly, if something unforeseen happens while setting up your event, a company that owns their décor will be able to quickly go back to their inventory and replace it.

Don’t come to the table with the entire event designed – While it’s good to have some aspects narrowed down such as a color scheme, theme or an idea of what the feel should be, make sure you use your décor provider as a resource for ideas.  A reputable designer should be current on trends and what new things are happening in the event world and will be able to make suggestions on how your event could be taken to the next level.  Be open to a designer’s insights and suggestions and be willing to change things up a bit. 

Pete Nelson, Designer, Event Lab has held several creative positions throughout the past 20 years giving him broad knowledge of the event industry. He is the proud recipient of The Special Event Gala Award for Best Entertainment Concept & Execution, along with six ILEA Minnesota Star Awards in the categories of Best Design & Décor, Best Social Event Planning, Best ISES Team Effort, Best Creative Solution and Best Use of Floral. Nelson is an active member of the International Live Events Association (ILEA) having held Board positions with both the Las Vegas and Minneapolis-St. Paul Chapters.
ILEA is the new name for the International Special Events Society (ISES). ILEA represents and supports more than 5,000 members globally – every professionals who do business together, share knowledge, nurture talent and progress the live events industry. For more information on how an ILEA professional can help you with your event, please contact