• Must Haves for Events on a Budget

     
    FROM THE Winter 2013 ISSUE
     

    Think high-impact décor demands big dollars? Think again.

There are many simple and easy ways to create a memorable occasion without breaking the bank. From linen choices to servers’ uniforms, it’s the small, thoughtful-yet inexpensive-details that can give a luxury feel to any event.

Linens & Tables that Pop
Beautiful linens do not have to be prohibitively expensive. Find something that complements the event space or your theme and elevate it to stand out. Using bold color, intriguing prints or linens that shimmer will create visual interest. Try alternating several shades of one color to add layers of depth to the room or use a textured overlay to provide dimension.

A big impact also can be made by alternating table sizes and shapes. Use four-, five- and six-foot rounds, or mix rounds in cloverleaf combinations with multiple, long banquet tables. By changing up the standard formula, you’ll create a fresh look and eye-catching appeal.

Light Up a Room
Lighting plays an important role in setting the mood for your event. There are several ways to create a refined-yet-relaxed ambiance using different lighting schematics. One simple and surprisingly low-cost option is to add texture or graphic gobos to your venue. These can fill an empty space in a room while customizing it with a company logo, an image reflecting the event theme or abstract imagery.

Another favorite option is to incorporate twinkle or market lighting overhead. These lights create dimension in the room and add softness, plus many venues and hotels are set up to support hanging these lightweight event additions.

Lastly, candles, candles, candles! Candles are hands down the easiest and most inexpensive way to bring drama and elegance to a room. Play with height in a space and bring out the architectural appeal by placing candles of varying sizes in windows and ledges, and, of course, on dining tables and bars. The power of lighting a room simply with candles is subtle, yet has huge impact.


(photo credit: Dan Davis)

Clever Not Costly Centerpieces
Every event ends with the sad revelation that thousands of dollars in florals will likely be dumped in the trash. Don’t waste your precious event funds on florals that break the bank. Instead, opt for thoughtful, varied centerpieces that fill the space without cleaning house on your budget. A set of three to five simple bud vases with a single flower accented with glass cylinders, candles and votives is one of our favorite go-to concepts.

Make your whole centerpiece floating candles in a variety of vases for under $50. Collect empty wine bottles and place a series of them on the table with non-drip pillar candles. For the event pictured, we added a piano paper runner, vintage books and light covers with single floral bud vases for an inexpensive table design that wowed everyone. When it comes to centerpieces, use your creativity and be clever when deciding how to make an impact.

Create an Inviting Lounge
The most exciting place at any event is the bar. Use this hot spot to focus on designingan inviting and open space that promotes a social setting with several areas for guests to enjoy a cocktail. Keep your bars and cocktail tables simple (with colorful linens and candles of course), but fill out the space in an inviting way with a lounge grouping.

At Eclectic Hive, we offer lounge vignettes for as little as $900 and up to $1,500. Even better, trade in the more expensive couch vignette for groupings of ottomans, end tables and a portable fireplace that create a chic lounge with more seating in a smaller footprint.Fresh and inexpensive, an open seating arrangement allows your guests to continue coming back to their favorite place!

Dress Up the Staff
Get everyone involved! Tie your theme together by simply providing small touches to a server’s uniform to match your event. For a Western event, add a cowboy hat and bandana to the staff’s button-down shirt and jeans for under $10 each. If your event has a single color, ask the servers to wear all black or white and provide them with a tie in your event color. We have seen it all from Hawaiian shirts and sports jerseys to flight attendant costumes for a hangar event and all-white snow bunny cocktail servers for a winter wonderland. By getting the staff involved, you round out your event in a clever and inexpensive way.

Ultimately, an event’s success relies not on a big budget, but on a solid foundation of a few creative ideas. Event planning doesn’t have to be complicated or over-the-top to make a great and memorable occasion.

- Danielle Mason
Danielle Mason has more than 15 years of experience in the advertising and event planning industries. She is co-owner of Workshop Events, a destination management company opened in 2009, and Eclectic Hive, a décor house and furniture rental company established in 2012.

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