Kevin Dana is executive director of marketing and product development at CORT Trade Show & Event Furnishings, a leading provider of furniture rental for the meetings and exhibitions industry.
Make Summer Sizzle with Hot Trends and Greener Outdoor Events
As we bask in warmer weather, it’s time to plan the perfect outdoor event experience to impress and engage attendees. This summer, it’s important to incorporate fresh trends and make your event unique and unforgettable. This season, think sustainability and go organic with a botanical theme, or infuse industrial chic furnishings for a modern look that embraces casual sophistication and an environmentally friendly atmosphere.
Consumers are increasingly aware of their impact on the world. Think about how you can plan events that are zero-waste or waste-reduced to tap into this eco-conscious mindset. First, select a venue that’s LEED-certified for high efficiency and then choose rental décor and furnishings instead of purchasing; it’s the greenest way to style your event. In fact, the rental business model results in 49 percent fewer greenhouse gases than purchasing furniture. Companies like CORT sell 97 percent of their rental furniture direct to the consumer, meaning most product can be reused between 2.1 and 6 times longer than furniture purchased for an event.
Ask if your venue composts excess kitchen waste and use paper or plastic that can be recycled, or better yet…use actual dinnerware. Try using bulk condiments instead of individually wrapped and go for a meatless menu to reduce greenhouse gases. Finally, hold events near public transportation and encourage guests to use it by offering incentives such as tickets to a raffle with eco-friendly prizes. The little things add up for maximum impact.
This summer, botanicals are back! When adding floral to your event décor this season, bigger is better! Bold floral and tropical prints used in décor, linens and accessories echo the season and lend a cool South Florida or Palm Springs vibe to your event. Use topiaries and tropical vegetation in décor to create a lush garden within your event space, and create intimate moments and vignettes for connections with the addition of faux foliage. A backdrop of greenery exudes an immersive, natural feel. Complete the look with woven, wicker frame furnishings and provide seating that plays up your organic setting. Don’t forget candles! You can never have enough to add a soft glow and ambiance to your event, and it helps reduce the need for other lighting, decreasing energy usage.
This season, indoor trends make their way outside and industrial-chic furnishings are a great way to build modern design that younger attendees crave. Move away from mundane with mixed materials, such as metal and marble and combine it with soft, velvet furnishings in organic 70s inspired colors for eclectic soft seating spaces that encourage guests to engage with each other.
Metal bar tables and barstools add more industrial surfaces to contrast with the rounded curves and softness in the seating vignettes while providing plenty of places for networking and connection. My biggest pet peeve at events is lack of bar tables to rest cups and plates while networking – don’t make that mistake! Creating different points of view throughout the venue with varied seating elevations and adequate tables gives guests multiple options to see and be seen effortlessly at your next outdoor event.
The sky is the limit with the natural world as your backdrop. Anchor outdoor venues with organic themes, industrial furniture and most importantly, think sustainably when designing enticing outdoor events!