3 Steps to Pitch-Perfect Custom Décor

You can give attendees a bespoke décor experience without exotic elements—here’s how

Gone are the days of generic table settings. Given that we’ve all become accustomed to personalized experiences in our day-to-day lives, whether it’s reading suggestions from Amazon or made-to-order skin care, attendees have come to expect a certain level of customization from all aspects of events they attend—décor included.

In Meeting Planner Dreamland, you’d have all the time and budget in the world to develop fantastic one-of-a-kind creations to give your guests a truly transportive experience. On terra firma, though, you’re faced with limitations. Developing a process that you can apply to all your events can help give you a starting point to work with, giving you the highest return on your time investment.

Here, we walk through that process, using as an example a Celebrate event for a group of horticultural professionals.

Step One: Outline the Common Elements

Because the whole point of customization is making the meeting distinct from other events your attendees have been to (and snoozed through), it’s important to have two or three common elements throughout the event to tie it together. These motifs can be a color, pattern, symbol—whatever fits your meeting goals and audience, as long as they complement each other. Once you define which concepts will be a part of that core, infuse them throughout your event to help keep the more esoteric aspects of your custom décor balanced and aligned with your theme.

In our horticultural example, let’s first consider the audience. Because the guests are involved in garden cultivation and management, plants are important in their work, and therefore important to the meeting. In this case, we might use a lot of flowers or intricate foliage to celebrate the horticultural profession as a whole.

Tone and color can also really tie together a room, and because a venue full of plants will likely give the space a green hue, opt for a color that will complement and balance the room. In this instance, we might choose a purple color scheme since it works well with the color green (and was the Pantone color of the year to boot). Combined, these elements will be the main décor pillars that will carry the setup of the meeting.

Step Two: Determine the Experiences Each Part of Your Meeting Should Deliver

Once you nail down the key elements to your décor setup, it’s time to decide what parts of the meeting can impart a stronger sense of customization, and how. For example, for the structure of this meeting, would your budget be best spent creating a special check-in area at the meeting’s entryway, or on concocting an enhanced table setup? Ideally, every area of your event should offer attendees a new experience or showcase something new—this step is about prioritizing the places you want to turn up the volume, so to speak.

For our horticultural meeting, we’d want guests to feel like they’re entering a greenhouse from the start. To really immerse attendees, the initial display might use our staple design elements combined into one over-the-top entryway.

On the other hand, the dining area of the meeting might not need to be so extravagant for this crowd, so it’s going to be more scaled down than the entryway. But even the simpler areas of your meeting should incorporate your motifs, like purple accents and smaller flowers. Although still on theme, the tablescape setup is not as overwhelming as the entryway, and therefore brings a look, feel and experience that’s on point yet differentiated from other areas of the event.

Step Three: Create—and Vary—the Accent Pieces

Another way to amp up the bespoke vibe is to mix and match accent pieces throughout the meeting space. Couple some of your common theme décor items, while also throwing in new elements to vary the experience.

For example, place flowers (a themed design object) on top of books and vases (new décor elements) as a centerpiece on some tablescapes.

On other tables, maybe you take away the books, and couple flowers or other foliage with candles instead. Although only slightly different, the variation of décor objects will make the event space feel fresh and new as attendees make their way around the room.