Move the Event Outside!
Planners and suppliers alike are saying that clients are looking for beautiful, organic, natural, fun and affordable. All of these things are leading to the estimated 11% increase in outdoor events this year.
“This season in general we are seeing increases in all events, but more dramatically outdoor tented and non-tented events are in high demand,” comments Larry Green, president of Rentals Unlimited, Stoughton, MA. So, what are the trends to watch as you take it outdoors?
You don’t have to look any further than the magazines at the supermarket checkout to see that weddings are on the rise and planning them outside is definitely the hip way to go. Nico Cervantes of NICO designs comments, “Outdoor weddings are HUGE right now. The backyard wedding is so so so back.”
Cervantes believes that even if the wedding isn’t actually taking place in their backyard, the couple wants it to look like it could be their backyard. Adding personal touches through décor allows couples to create that intimate feeling that they are truly sharing their lives with their guests. Cervantes is using a lot of vintage items as decor including old bird cages, crystal door knobs, skeleton keys, lace, milk glass, old perfume bottles and mis-matched chairs.
Using outdoor spaces also allows couples more control over their budget. Choosing the right venue offers them the flexibility of selecting food, décor, entertainment and rentals that all fit within their budget. The large number of DIY wedding blogs and websites are creating a new type of wedding coordinator. Couples no longer come to their wedding planner with just their color and flower selection, but also an intricate list of the personal touches and “wow factors” that they want incorporated into their special day.
Under the Big Top
Tents aren’t just for weather back-up any more. The demand on the tent manufacturers for new and different is at an all time high. An architecturally pleasing-to-the-eye look is a must. If a client has the financial resources to go creative, they will select the tent that looks custom designed for them. If financial resources are more limiting, then the custom look is coming from interior design through fabric liners, lighting, and simplistic design elements.
When using a tent, clients are really just looking for ways to be outside, without braving Mother Nature. This has created a demand for more innovative siding on tents with glass walls, windows, clear walls and shear fabric panels.
A creative use of tenting that is becoming popular is allowing guests to eat and celebrate in open air spaces, and then creating lounge environments under smaller tents throughout the space. Along the same lines, a tent might be used for the dance floor or a reception space, still allowing for the open air experience for most of the event.
Unique Lighting Options
There has been a trend toward more complex lighting in both tented and non-tented outdoor events for the last several years. The creation of new technologies in the lighting and video world are translating well to outside of a ballroom.
Companies such as Firefly LA are able to design a tent’s total space décor through lighting & video. They are using 360-degree projectors to create a custom look throughout the entire tent – painting the tent with lighting, so to speak.
Airstar Space Lighting has been lighting outdoor functions, without shadows, for over 16 years. Using their lighting balloons with custom colors, themed covers or logos and images continues to be a great option for outdoor lighting.
“Old carnival string lighting is also extremely popular at the moment. I feel this look has become more popular because of our economic times,” says Cervantes.
Another trend in lighting is the use of chandeliers, both in tents and used creatively as table décor or staked in the ground. They are being seen as both extravagant and ornate or simple with lanterns, paper lanterns, or chandeliers that look more like you would find them in a home.
“Going Natural” for outdoor events means two things, one is the trend toward using natural elements when doing an event in nature and the other relates to green event initiatives.
The use of natural colors, such as corals and turquoises fits well with many outdoor events. Designers and planners are using organic elements, like grasses, sand and even dirt, in their designs. All of these concepts are creating a “natural chic” feel that is minimalistic and well-suited for smaller budgets and natural environments.
It can’t be ignored that in spite of the economic challenges, the world is looking to more green solutions for our lifestyles. This includes events. Recycling, reusing centerpiece vessels and other design pieces, organic products, and in general, using event elements that have a smaller environmental impact are definitely on the uptrend. Most venues and event suppliers are offering these types of solutions for their clients in an effort to stay ahead of the imminent greening wave.
From a design perspective, being outdoors lends itself to a very organic and natural feel. Valerie Bihet, owner, Miami-based the VIBE agency, wraps up the trends for outdoor design as, “Everything is more art infused – real life, real colors, more exquisite versus gaudy, more refined. Sophisticated, modern, minimalistic, and simple.”
Splashes of Color
When an event calls for color, the colors will be bright. “Brighter colors are trending this summer,” predicts Bihet. “Violets, romantic shades to correspond to flowers and classic reds, then turquoise blues and pink champagne to add some neutrality. This balances out all of the brilliant colors.”
Bright colors are celebratory and offer an immediate “wow factor” to an event. These color splashes are translating into flowers, linens, tent liners, lighting and sometimes in very small ways, such as having the napkins on the table be the only bright color at the event.
Designing through the creative use of color and more personal décor items is fast becoming the replacement for “themes,” and is bringing sophistication to both outdoor and indoor events.
The feeling about outdoor events is that if it can be done indoors, it can be done outdoors. Event supplies and services are available for anything you can imagine that would make your time outside more comfortable. High-end restrooms, weather-resistant furniture, heaters, air conditioners, lights, flooring and even special outdoor throw rugs are all available to bring the comforts of home to your next event with Mother Nature as host.