ILEA Quick Tips for Event Planners: June 2017

Tips for getting the most from your decor designer.

Your event needs stuff. You’ll need a designer who knows how to use this stuff to create an event that will not only wow your guests but also create a lasting impression. Decor is a staple in successful event planning and execution. How you choose to decorate is one of the best ways to customize your space, as well as connect your theme or mood to guests. Decor also gives you opportunities to engage guests and deepen the connection between them and your organization. An Event Designer should be able to guide you through this process and assist you in creating an event that is impactful and successful.
  
Choose a trustworthy and reputable designer: Trust your gut and choose a designer who is attentive, responds quickly and makes you feel like your event is as important to them as it is to you! Designers are industry experts and should be able to make you feel like they can guide you through the event designing process rather than the other way around. This goes for the selection of all your vendors. Be sure to do some research on potential vendors by checking out their websites, social media pages and online portfolios to get a sense for the kind of work each company has done.
 
Talk about your strategic goals: Corporate events are about much more than just throwing a party. They are about creating an environmental platform to communicate an organization's objectives. Talk to your event designer about these objectives. Are you planning this event to inspire guests to get involved, thank employees for a job well done, build brand awareness, celebrate a milestone or something else? Communicate these goals to your designer to see if there are ways they can be worked into the decor. A few quick ideas would be charger inserts with company values or fun facts, logo’d lighting or sculptures or other small branded elements like pillows for lounge groupings. However, if your event is just about throwing a killer party, we can work with that too!
 
Get started early: Bring in an event designer early in the game. This will help you stay on track with the overall look and give your designer plenty of time to fully think through the concept and logistical plans. This also saves you from the stress of waiting too long to reach out and feeling rushed through the process. Designers will undoubtedly have multiple proposal requests and current events happening but initial inquiries should not go unanswered more than a day even if it is just to check in that the request was received. On the flip side, be realistic with your deadlines. If you spent four weeks on an RFP, it’s unfair to expect vendors to have a proposal in less than a week.
 
Encourage collaboration: Once you have chosen an event designer, invite them to collaborate with the other creative players who are taking part in your event planning process. If your vendors don’t already know each other, introduce them! Bring together your designer, entertainment, caterer, venue coordinator and other vendors to create a cohesive experience. “Creatives” love hearing new ideas from industry partners and learning about all the elements going into an event.
 
Have the budget talk: Whether your event is on a small budget or unlimited one, talk it through with your designer. This will serve as a guide to what they can create and propose to you. Even if your event is on a limited budget, a good designer should be able to itemize out the decor elements and help you prioritize which pieces are most important to you and which will make the biggest overall impact. If you’re on a limited budget, consider putting your money towards a showstopper piece that really gives guests something to remember.
 
Rachel Geertsema is an Event Design and Sales Coordinator with Festivities where she was awarded Employee of the Year in 2016. With just under five years of event experience, she has thirst for knowledge and relentless enthusiasm for all things events and decor. Rachel is an active member of the International Live Events Association (ILEA).
 
International Live Events Association (ILEA) is the new name for the International Special Events Society (ISES). ILEA represents and supports more than 5,000 members globally – event 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 info@ises-msp.org.