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design vs decoration: knowing the difference saves $$$$

recently i was asked to give a presentation about using good design to maximize the return on investment in a bridal fair booth. So often, vendors complain that they don't see the business returns from having a booth in a bridal fair (so bridal peeps, if you enjoy bridal fairs, let this be a lesson to you - let the vendors know how you found them!!! That is invaluable information to a small business with a limited advertising budget) anyway, my presentation is featured below if anyone is remotely interested.

Putting together this presentation did lead me to an interesting lesson that I inherently knew but never bothered to articulate - the distinction between design and decoration.

For the purposes of that presentation, i defined the two in the following ways:


as mentioned, this talk specifically dealt with bridal show vendors but it is the core of all temporary space design. In our experience, this is the largest mistake brides make both with their budget and wow factor of their events.

compare these two designs in the same space:

In each of these pictures, similar elements are being used: paper lanterns, floral centerpieces, neutral linen, no chair covers. And yes, the white draping around the rooms perimeter does change the look of the space pretty drastically, but this is also a prime example of design vs. decoration broken into elements that are easy to see/understand.

  • scale - the size of this space dictates the use of fairly large elements in order to make one/s presence known. If you only have 12 12 inch paper lanterns, use them all in one main location - make an impact with them. If you start spreading too few smaller elements throughout the room, the impression is lost. Your guests have shifted their focus to what you should have done differently. rather than taking in the experience of what you did right. When you start decorating just because you have stuff to decorate with, that is when you are making a mistake.

  • color- There is a semi consistent theme of turquoise and aqua in both pictures. As far as the lower picture shows, the color is only being displayed in the ceiling. That is is not a good move. Your guests should not have to look to your ceiling to figure out what you are trying to say. The tiffany blue guest favors could have been duplicated with paper lanterns of the same color on the ceiling, reinforcing the overall plan. In this instance the "heaviest" design element is on the ceiling, drawing your eye.

  • balance- someone clearly spent a lot of time & energy making these fantastic centerpieces. However, the impact would have been much greater by creating a certain number of larger centerpieces. Smaller pieces are perfect for about 2/3 of the tables. The remaining 1/3 of the centerpieces would have done wonders impacting the overall space if they were at least 3 feet tall.

People assume that hiring a designer will be too expensive - but often times it is the exact opposite. By using their expertise and designer's eye, your decorating budget will be maximized. A strong cohesive design plan that incorporates the above elements will not only help you get the biggest bang for your design buck but will ultimately help you create an extraordinary event that your guests don't want to leave.

stop by table 4 decor and meet our fantastic designers today.

and don't forget to check out some of our designs here

or set up a design consultation here.

#weddingwisdom #dahlfineartscenter #rapidcityweddings #southdakotaweddings #eventdesigntips #table4decor #jennyjewett #decoration #weddingbudget

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