the most dreaded detail of dealing with any event is the "b" word - budget. Or as most brides see it, not enough money to get everything they want.
and though I agree that the over the top fully detailed weddings will and do cost a lot of money, I also often see people spending money in areas that have much less impact when it comes to overall design value. (as I have posted about here and here)
so today lets talk about the value of good tabletop design. in the course of most events, upon walking into the space, what is the one element that dominates the space? The tables. Rarely does an event feel right if there is too much open space and not enough tables. This is the reason spaces are often booked in relation to the amount of people i.e. tables needed.
Guests spend a majority of the evening around the tables and providing an inviting design that grows with the evening will engage them with the space.
It then becomes imperative for the designer to use those tables to the best of their design ability. And we aren't just talking centerpiece. From the floor plan to the linen choice to the chairs to the embellishments (menu, table numbers, china selection, charger plates etc etc). So let's break it down in manageable steps.
Layout - First figure out what you want to do in the space. Will you have food stations, a live band, an acrobatic act during the cocktail hour? All of these elements need to be considered when planning your event. If you plan to have a show during dinner, the room needs to be set up with that in mind (tucking a dance floor in the corner of the room is the death of guest inclusiveness at events)
Start at the chairs and work inward - when figuring out your tabletop design, the design should start at the chairs and build toward the center. The chairs should only be an accent to the entire table, never the focus. Unless you have a strong color scheme, don't use chair sashes to bring the color into your table, they will only draw your eye to the chair and that is not the goal.
Pro tip: if you can't budget for chair covers, ignore them completely - nothing looks worse than an ugly chair with a sad looking sash hanging off of it - it just draws attention to the chairs. Think: lipstick on a pig) Fancy chairs and chair treatments should be the first thing sacrificed if budget is an issue. No one has ever come away from a wedding talking about how cute the chairs were - and once people are in the room, the chairs are not very noticeable anyway.
Layers and Textures. A favorite thing I like to say to clients is "tacky is not a bad word." Most of the time I see a vague look of terror in clients faces as they think of their grandma's Christmas outfit. In order to impact large spaces however, one must embrace decorating methods that are NOT the same as those you use when decorating your home.
Growth of lighting.. in the midwest, most of our events start in the light of day. At that time the design is flat, to be perfectly honest. Sure, you may have some bright spots of sunbeam light but the room has not yet reached it's romantic moment. (Please keep in mind that this applies only to places with natural light, not interior facilities with no windows) Once the lights start to fade, that is when the room will take on a life of it's own. The mood will be set so make sure to consider the dim factor of the lights. The DJ and your designer can work in tandem to make sure the room is uplit and downlit in a manner that highlights your design ideas.
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