One of the top responsibilities of event professionals is staying on top of event decor trends today and what will be in-demand tomorrow. Our clients make the first part too easy – they stalk social media for “inspiration” and bring us requests for the most popular trends in fashion, décor, cuisine, and entertainment.
Often these seem overdone to us, but as professionals, we must keep in mind that most couples are planning a wedding for the first time and absolutely everything is new to them! Where we can make a difference is in offering a more forward-looking twist on their ideas, by staying ahead of outdoor event decor trends and become intimately familiar with what is next!
Outdoor events, in particular, offer amazing opportunities to take a suggestion and run with it in a custom and forward-looking manner. Gardens, backyards, open fields and beaches are stunning, practically blank slates just begging for personalization.
Through some disciplined legwork investigating what will be next in event trends, you can be your couple’s go-to source of suggestions for different forms of tenting, eclectic furniture, outdoor lounges and completely original uses of space that will set the trends, not just mimic them. So, how exactly can you learn to forecast instead of following the latest outdoor event decor trends?
1. Keep a trained eye on social media.
While we, as wedding and event pros, have a love-hate relationship with sites like Pinterest and Instagram, they are still the most popular sites for our couples who are spending hours surfing them for inspiration for their own weddings. As pros, though, we can train ourselves to look beyond what is trending right now and search for clues that will tell us what’s next. Try changing up your search terms – leave out wedding and bridal altogether and instead dive into colors, textures, fashion-specific terminology, and home design vocab. For outdoor wedding design, seek pins about outdoor furnishings, landscape, outdoor recreation…even camping and sports. Try your searches with and without the current year or season and see what you turn up. True, it’s a rabbit hole, but it could be a fruitful one that leads you to see things in a new and upcoming way.
2. Look outside the industry.
Great designers know that inspiration comes from a variety of sources. Fashion, for example, often reveals what will be hot the following year at Fashion Week. Décor trends first show up in interior design magazines, home décor and furniture stores, and in seasonal catalogs of department stores. Look for interesting colors, patterns, textures and shapes you might be able to incorporate in your outdoor event design.
3. Get out and go shopping.
If you can find the time, visit springtime pop-up nurseries to see what’s in demand in flowers and landscaping. Major outdoor recreation stores often set up elaborate presentations in anticipation of new seasons that provide lots of design inspiration. Visit department stores, home décor stores, and furniture dealers. You might even wander the grounds of museums and botanical gardens, or get really adventurous and attend open houses at estates that are for sale and have a similar look to your dream outdoor site.
4. Attend Outdoor Lifestyle and Events Tradeshows and Expos
In spring and early summer, major garden shows are common weekend events. Visit the ones in your area and look for interesting interpretations of luxury outdoor lifestyles. You can even attend the top events expos and conferences (although, it is better practice to do so outside your market so you can see beyond what your competitors are offering). If they have time, talk to the pros whose displays you find particularly forward-thinking, or at least exchange contact information. You might find sharing your thoughts and observations mutually beneficial in the future!
Just being familiar with what is popular is not enough. You need to become a diviner of trends – someone who can predict what will be hot next so you can prepare your business to be ahead of the curve and offer your couples cutting edge design.
For more event decor trends, tips and mew be sure to follow Social Tables on twitter @socialtables.
Kim Sayatovic is the Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Belladeux Event Design, a full-service wedding and event design firm based in New Orleans, Louisiana.