Finishing touches

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Have you “fluffed and buffed” your event to the max? Stand Out asks organisers for their top tips on those all-important finishing touches…

Fairy dust, fluffing and buffing, polishing – whatever you wish to call it, one way or another it all comes down to the detail. Stand Out has met many an event manager over the years – and anal is probably one of the most commonly banded phrases that is offered with a chuckle.

Whilst organisers joke about their attention to the finest details, as agencies, event management companies and brand managers, surely detail is second nature?

Jacqui Partridge, managing director of now Brighton-based Partridge Events, suggests that “fluffing and buffing” comprises an immaculate finish, pristine dressing and props, no trailing cables or hanging threads. Beautiful torches and gorgeous flowers make all the difference, she says. And lighting too, an element that Claire Pasquill, managing director of Mask Event Design and Production agrees with also.

“Great lighting is the key to making a room look stunning, but remember:  blue and green lights may look amazing in an empty room but they make food and faces look ghastly. Go with warm colours in the areas where guests will eat and spend lots of time. Always walk around the event 30 minutes before your guests are due to arrive and inspect everything. This will allow you to see any ruffles that need to be smoothed or spot any issues like smudged glasses or lights that might be glaring in guests’ faces. When styling a seated dinner event always make sure that the linen and any chair covers come right down to the ground: there is nothing worse than an inch of bare table leg at the bottom of an otherwise stylish table. Always add lovely bottles of soap and lotion in the loos: it adds style when budgets are low. Try REN products, for an alternative to the ubiquitous Molton Brown, and guests love goody bags: so add something that will remind them of your brand or event such as a gift wrapped mini version of dessert to take home to their partner or kids.

“My most memorable finishing touch was the ‘rescue packs’ we created for a client last year: the ladies received a copy of Breakfast at Tiffanys, chocolates, an eye mask, a vitamin pack and a hot water bottle. It was the perfect post Christmas party antidote.”

Robert Mackay, director of Seamless Interiors, advises organisers not to cut corners when it comes to draping, urging those of charge of theming not to use thin cloth.

“When comparing tack-off quotes do ask what weight of fabric (GSM – grams per square metre) you will be supplied. Ask how suitable the GSM is for your event conditions. For example, daylight; the supplier should advise you how to minimise visible structural components behind.

“Glitter cloth always gives a sensational effect during evening events. Yes it’s expensive but minimise cost by lining one feature wall or gable end. Covering details such as furniture, heaters, etc in matching glitter cloth also helps to pull these elements together.

Adrian Silas, creative director of Masquerade Events, suggests that guests should expect the unexpected, imparting such gems – a winking human Buddha at an Oriental themed party, a human statue parking warden that hands out tickets to guests at a birthday party and a giant yeti to claim a male guest as its mother at a surprise party and tie itself to him all night with a rope. Organisers would have to be certain of their audience to introduce such elements.

It makes scents

According to Sanjay Dhrona, freelance event manager, scents are often unconsidered element.

“We consider the building blocks of a successful event and think about the look, feel, sound and taste, though the smell, one of the five key senses, is rarely considered. We consider the smell of floral arrangements a default bonus and rarely part of the original design intention.

“Clients always want their event to be a truly memorable experience; scientists around the globe have come to the agreement that smell is the sense which is most closely related to ones memory. Integrating a fragrance or ‘scentscaping’ at an experiential marketing event can support in developing stronger ties between a brand and consumer and of course add an amazing dimension to any private or social function. Tapping into old memories or using scents to associate brands/messages with particular fragrance markers is a subtle and efficient way to help achieve our clients’ core goals.

“The theory suggests that in the future, guests may associate smells with the key messages from the event. Try the aroma co for some great fragrance options. Its small fog machine like unit can be placed anywhere in the room and comes delivered with fragrances.

“Think about that classic corporate summer party that gets rained out and you end up in a boring ballroom. Why not integrate the smell of fresh cut grass and just washed cotton laundry to give that outdoors feel and add the extra dimension to the event? Scents aren’t limited, available in everything from the obvious and basic to the down right bizarre including baby lotion, wood smoke, rainforest, engine oil, swamp, furniture polish and sun-tan lotion.”

A-maze-ing products

RentaHedge report a rise in the number of enquiries for hedge-based mazes, be they simple unicursal mazes, with a single path or a bespoke weave-maze that integrates with a brand. Elisa Harca, marketing manager, RentaHedge, believes that the hedges offer great fundraising opportunities at charity events.

“Green touches, in the form of trees and plants, are affordable for organisers and subtle enough so they don’t interfere with the overall theme,” she adds. “Another special touch to an event can be a mini green maze. We recently created a bunny maze for Lindt as part of a treasure hunt and this went down a treat. Organisers can have the maze as part of the overall theme and monetize it, so that the small fee either goes to charity – bringing a feel good factor to the event – or covers the cost of transport and set-up.”

Blue and Blooms will launch into the corporate market in April following a soft launch – the London-based company uses organic dyes to print onto fresh flowers. Described as a flower personalisation business, Ann Diep, the company’s director reveals that the service is perfect for product launches, weddings and corporate hospitality with names, logos and dates all being able to printed onto the delicate petals.