Contributing Bloggers

First Impressions

When designing your events, it is super seriously important to think about first impressions.

How will guests arrive to your event? Will they be taking cabs? Limos? Will you offer valet services? Do you have someone greeting them immediately to open the door to their vehicle? Is there room for that to happen? If guests arrive at Toronto’s Allstream Centre, the main entrance has been perfectly laid out for lines of cars/taxis/valet. However, if guests are arriving at the MTCC North Building, any stopped vehicles cause a disruption to the flow of traffic. Perhaps you want to get a permit to close down a lane of traffic if you have guests entering the MTCC North building?

Screen shot 2014-03-31 at 8.05.28 PMIf it is raining, or snowing, is there someone who can walk them to the door under an umbrella? Is the entrance covered? Perhaps you don’t even have to worry about that? Is someone at the door to open it? Well versed in the basic answers to common questions they will receive throughout the night? This added touch will help guests know exactly what to expect when they walk through those doors.

If there are multiple events on, is there signage directing guests where to go? Have you placed volunteers along the path to help guests find their way? Are the guests clearly marked with branded shirts, bright scarves, or nametags?

These are all important questions, but it goes way beyond the logistics. Think about what you want your guests to see, hear, feel when they pull up to your event. Focus on the details.

One event I went to brought guests to a private home. The driveway to the house was long and windy, and lit with candles in white paper bags along the way. The house itself was beautifully uplit in clear white lighting – perfectly fitting the all-white theme of the evening. Another party I attended was for the movie industry. A huge red carpet was laid out in front of the venue, with media cordoned off behind stanchions to either side of the red carpet. Giant movie spotlights were rented to add to the glamorous movie feel. In both instances, the stage was set before I even exited my vehicle.

So when you are looking for a venue, consider this: what do you want your guests to see? Hear? Feel? Immediately. If the event is themed, how do you tie that into the entrance décor? How do you put guests at ease, anticipating questions every step of the way?

Let’s create a hypothetical entrance for the theme “Miami chic,” a female focused summer event with hot pink and white as the primary colours. I’d choose a venue where guests can pull up directly, without worrying about traffic.  I’d hire valet service to add that touch of city swank. I’d lay out a fluorescent pink carpet on the ground, with white rope and stanchions following the carpet. I’d hire male models to greet guests at their cars, and direct them to the doors. The staff would be dressed casually, likely in all white with a hint of hot pink. And they’d be gorgeous, of course. If it rains, they can pull out their fuchsia umbrellas and walk guests to the door.  Two white plexi plinths would be places to the left and right of the entrance, lit from within in clean white light. Tall urns of tropicals in a variety of flourescent pinks would top those pillars. A gobo would be created with the title of the event, focused to light the carpet just in front of the doors. I’d hire people to open the doors for the guests as they enter. Before my guests even enter the venue, they will know that they have arrived at a chic female focused party, with just a touch of Miami’s attitude.

So when you’re planning your next event, don’t forget about the entrance. It really is all about the first impression.

Elizabeth Nutting

Elizabeth Nutting

Elizabeth discovers inspiration in some of the most unusual places, and often feels an inexplicable compulsion to share that spark of an idea with the world. So go ahead and bring that idea to your next brainstorming meeting – that is what it’s there for, after all. Want to get in touch with Elizabeth? Contact her at Production Canada.
Elizabeth Nutting

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