Vintage Circus themed hire items from Tiny Tots Toy Hire
When my career took me to a boutique events agency, it was the year 2000. Many events were surrounding our cities privelidge to host the 2000 Olympics….and EVERYONE wanted to be an Event Manager. I was a lucky one….plucked out from a sorted team of conference professionals, the hero of my time asked me to join him and grow his events company…what more does a girl want!?
During this time, a lot of the theming choices requested by clients were influenced by Hollywood…’Moulin Rouge’ was overwhelmingly huge and ‘The Oscars’ created a wonderful backbone to an evening fuelled by corporate dollar, and limited only by our imagination…
As time progressed, I noticed themes, like fashion, had their trends….white parties, silver parties, gangsters and moles, rock n roll 50’s, Lord of the Rings, Morocco, Under the Ocean all had their day…and now as I enter the world of children’s events, I can see that this is still a common element.
Weddings take a slightly different approach, the themes are more fashioned towards styles and colour trends….Vintage is huge, along with a more organic, neutral and natural approach to wedding decor, against a stark white crisp pallet. Mint is taking its upper rung in the ladder of popular wedding colour trends and Yellow has been up there for a while. I laugh to think back to a lady who commented on a recent forum that her wedding colour was mint, back in the early 80s, big hair and all and so with this in mind it stands to make sense these trends will have their day over and over.
So whether we choose our event theme based on decorative style period, colour, a hollywood movie, a children’s book or a cultural kaleidoscope there are a few tools and processes which can be used to explore the theme and brainstorm….
1. Brainstorm a word list: So you have a theme in mind. Now brainstorm the buzz words. Think of any associations which you might have with that theme….Jot it down….you never know what you might come up with and how it can be incorporated into your overall event decor. So for example, say the theme is Vintage Circus. Write down anything and everything that comes to mind…Clowns, Big top, Roll Up Roll Up, Ringmaster, Bunting, Red and White, Blue, Lions. Now your have your buzz word list. Now write next to your list what you could turn these things into, how the elements could come into play, for example, Big top could be your cake or the invitation. Ringmaster might be how you dress your child, Clowns as entertainment or might be a fun costume option for Mum and Dad (if your brave), Bunting has its obvious place, Red and White Cupcake toppers and so on.
2. Google and Pinterest.com are your Friends: Particularly if you are working for a team or if you are person fuelled by visual inspiration, setting up a virtual pinboard is a great way to get the ideas flowing. Googling variations of the name of your theme and the buzz words listed from your Brainstorming session, then selecting the google images menu is your fast way to an image bank of inspiration. Saving them into your pinterest board will give you access throughout the planning period. Other amazing sources for visual inspiration include etsy.com for creative handmade decor and supplies or some of the amazing party/wedding/event decor blogs such as Amyatlas.com or Marthastewartweddings.com. Then there is the media, online magazines such as mylittlejedi http://www.mylittlejedi.com.au/#!mlj-magazine, there is just so many places to be inspired.
3. Create and inspiration board….Armed with your inspirational images, its now time to select your ‘hero images’. These are the pictures which hit the spot for your theme. You can then either create a virtual inspiration board using a platform such as photoshop (or event microsoft word), or you can print them for a physical inspiration board. The great thing about the physical inspiration board is this gives you a place to pin fabric swatches, ribbons, twine, and other decor samples for your event, make it colourful, give it texture….theres nothing like a tactile experience to help fuel your inspiration.
4. Share the creative process: They say two minds is better than one. One of the most enjoyable experiences about working in an events agency was sharing the brainstorming process with a team of creative minds. Just the other day a girlfriend and I were brainstorming an event. ‘We need height for the table’ she said. ‘Candelabra?’ I suggested. ‘It needs to be safe though, its a children’s event – what about a Chandelier hanging from the tree?’…and there it was, the perfect solution to make glam a children’s event. The process of a think tank gives fuel from one persons idea, to evolve into another persons adaptation of that idea and thus giving more depth to your creative process. Its is also nice way to share the organising experience with a partner/friend/family (and a great excuse to share a glass of wine or two, I’ve come up with some of my best ideas with a little grape therapy).
5. Give it time: There was nothing worse for creative block than a tight deadline. The boss would walk into the office after attending a client briefing. ‘We need to develop a theme for a client event, something surrounding ‘sports’. The client needs the proposal by next Friday’….and there it was, enter ‘Creative Block’. Good ideas take time to develop (like the old cliche of a fine wine). Inspiration comes through all moments in life: Something you might see on TV, read in the paper, see in a magazine, your surrounds – the decor in a room, a visit to a park, whilst your walking down the street, see in a shop window. Even something someone might say to you. Sometimes taking time out from the creative process for a few days (or weeks even) and returning with a fresh perspective can do wonders for injecting new ideas into your event creative.
6. Get amongst it! Visit hire companies, prop hire, decor hire, homeware stores, party shops, florists, markets….anything which might compliment your theme, go there. Touch the merchandise, play with it, HAVE FUN! Exploring your theme in person is a sure key way to ensure the shoe is going to fit. Chances are if you find something that takes your breath away, it will impress your guests too!
7. Remain flexible: As you continue organising your event, the creative element will develop even further. Rather than feeling obliged to set the decor in stone in the beginning, try to stay open to new ideas right up until the end. After 10 years of working with Mr last minute ideas, I was able to get my own back. On the morning of the wedding, whilst driving to the hairdressers came my one request, which I knew he couldn’t say no to….’The weddings in a barn, I think we need some lanterns’….and there it was…the element which gave the last touch of romance to an ol’ outdoor venue, thought of and delivered by one of our best suppliers and my all time favourite boss at last minute.’ I’m not saying you have to leave it so late in the piece, but sometimes those finishing touches take a while to come to you, be open to including them into your decor as you go along.
8. Make it personal: Lastly, make sure there is a personal twist. Whether the event is for you, a family member, friend or client, ensuring there is a personal element, a favourite piece of decor, flower, photos (or logo in a corporate world) ensuring there is something which is the signature to mark their event.
Without a doubt one of the most exciting elements to organising an event is developing the theming and selecting the decor which will make your guests event experience unique. Enjoy and live the process, look for inspiration in all that you do and its a great way to share the organising experience with your family and friends in the lead up to your big day.
Is there a special way you like to theme an event? Comment below 🙂 We’d LOVE to hear your tips!