Every planner knows you are only as good as your last event. Reputation is everything and distinguishing yourself from the competition is the key to success.
So, how can you continue to generate cutting edge event designs event after event?
1. Pay attention to what is in your own backyard. Some of the best inspiration can be found at places you regularly visit. Do you love the way the sushi place downtown delivers your plate on a conveyor belt? Have you always thought it was really cool that the Italian restaurant has live basil and other spices on the table for patrons to use to season their food? Is your favorite part about your neighborhood park that they have cut all of the shrubs into animal shapes?
Think about how you can incorporate these things into your next event design. Could you deliver all of your hors d’oeuvres on a series of conveyor belts during your next cocktail reception? Could live herbs and spices serve a dual function at your event for the Green Meetings Industry Council - condiments and centerpieces? Would it be possible to create mini animal shrubs to use a center pieces for next month’s Zoo benefit?
2. Look for ideas in places beyond the traditional hospitality industry resources. Read magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens, Southern Living and Interior Design. Visit web sites like marthastewart.com, rachelray.com and hgtv.com.
Not only do these resources offer great ideas, but often cost saving ideas. Learn how to make paper lantern vases for a garden party, all-purpose spice rub for a cooking class favor, origami gift bags for an Asian-inspired affair and more - all with supplies found in your local arts and craft store.
3. Look for ways to make the ordinary extraordinary. An event with dry ice may remind you of an old school Halloween party, but what if you used the dry ice to make frozen drinks for your guests? Cut large blocks of dry ice. Have guests choose their favorite soda flavor. Pour the soda and a little rum into the dry ice. Stir and the result is a fabulously unique slushy-like cocktail.
Another candy bag favor may seem totally overdone, but what if you create a candy bar reminiscent of an Old Soda Fountain or General Store? Use an assortment of types of candy, but use only one color such as red. Provide each guest a Chinese carry-out box and let them create the candy favor of their choice. I have a feeling this might turn into something to talk about.
When you think your creativity is running dry, you may be trying too hard to think of the perfect event design. Take a step back and focus on the resources you have right in front of you. Sometimes the next bubble-bursting idea is right under your nose.