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Creating Ambiance

November 24, 2014

Ambiance  [am-bee-uh ns] 

The mood, character, quality, tone, atmosphere, etc., particularly of an environment or milieu:

 

 

Event design really comes together when ambiance is factored into the plans. How an event feels when guests walk in - the mood the environment elicits – is really the desired effect.

Individual décor pieces have their place but are often what hosts focus on when they begin their décor planning. And while, as a decorator and stylist I believe décor pieces help pull a certain look together – they aren’t critical to the overall effect of each events designscape.  (shhhh don’t tell my huny that or he may toss out my green glass collection. Oh green glass how I love you!)

 

Every time I hear a client talking about all the décor details… the specific color they want to match, the individual pieces that they wish to incorporate... I’m sitting on the edge of my eager-pants seat waiting to ask “That sounds great, but how do you want to FEEL when you walk in the room?”

 

For ambiance to come together, a host needs to:

a) Think like a guest – how they feel, what they do in the space,  how they will respond
b) Consider impact – what are critical areas that budget should be set on to get that "feeling".

 

Here are key area's to focus on when setting the mood:


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1. Layout

Good layout design allows guest and staff (if applicable) to maneuver through and around the event space. Nobody wants to do the ‘tummy-tuck-sideways-step’ between chair rows, table settings, or other guests.  Make sure your space meets the capacity for guest function and plan for it accordingly.

 

Consider the areas required in the production of your event:

Food Service, Dancing, Entertainment, Lounge, Dinner, Photo Opportunities, ect

Then “map” it out and plan for what will actually fit in those areas!

Know your measurements!

Example: 5ft round tables (typically seating 8 guests) require 10x10ft of space for optimal room. The table may only be 5ft across but a chair on each side will require 2.5ft of space for guest comfort. Planning this way will also ensure there is 5ft between the backs of chairs from one table to another – allowing plenty of walking space for other guests or staffing.

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2. Lighting

Lighting will make all the difference in setting a mood; we respond to light color in physical, emotional, and mental ways – so plan for the right kind of lighting and inject a little ‘mood’ at your function.
 

Lighting is the best way we can LEAD guests and entice them to see what you want (and hide what you don’t want: such as the production gear, service bins, ect). Brighten lighting for announcements, speeches, or when you want to signal the event is closing, and turn it down for dances, entertainment, and mingling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo from: www.got-light.com

 

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3. Sound

The number one mistake I see at events is sound…often a lack of. Especially at smaller functions, open houses, and cocktail parties.

 I’m not talking about the tunes you plan on groovin’ out to on the dance floor (but make sure that’s well-thought out and executed by a professional to keep the party alive!), but rather the background music or sounds guests will hear when they arrive and interact during the event.

Good house or background music will inspire guests and keep them engaged with your event. Make sure it’s at an audible level without being overly noticeable. Raising your voices to hear one another isn’t conducive to a good experience.

 

 

 

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4. Impact Decor

Consider impact over detail….especially for those budget-minded hosts! A “wow” factor focal piece and/or area will set the tone of your overall décor vision. Select larger, key décor options that stand out - such as chandeliers, unique backdrops, or specialty vignettes & displays.

 

Guests (and cameras capturing the memories) will notice the dramatic ‘impact’ of your event space over what vase you selected for your centerpieces or confetti / rose petals you carefully sprinkled on your tablecloth (I’m begging, pleeeasssssseee don’t do that people!!!)


Notice how simple the actual decor pieces are in this event? This is a fabulous example of getting impact with both lighting and decoration. Paper lanterns have been all the craze in recent years becuase when executed proplerly, they provide wow-factor, lighting, and a budget-friendly option.

 

 

Photo from: http://www.bridalguide.com

 

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When all else fails – if you’re feeling lost and need a little inspiration, then check out this amazing design team in the San Francisco Bay area. These guys nail ambiance. Every. Time. They inspire me to no end; I want to be just like them when I grow up!

www.Got-light.com


 

 

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