The term surprise and delight originates in the marketing industry as a creative way for companies to treat their clients with fun surprises- anything that will make them smile. This same practice has taken root in the event industry, and has quickly become a favorite strategy among those looking to make a memorable, and lasting, impression.
So where to begin?
Giving guests the best possible first impression will set the tone for the rest of the evening. Break the ice right away to help guests feel at ease, as attendees often feel uncomfortable when they first arrive and are searching for people they know and a place to lay their belongings. A live swing band or troubadour band is a fun way to get the party started at the door, whereas a huge chocolate fountain with tons of dipping options is great for putting a smile on anyone’s face. The choice is really yours, so have fun with it.
Introducing snippets of different themes throughout an event can really be a showstopper that guests will love. There are many ways to capture their attention, from tables of varying themes to interactive food stations. My company once put together a Roman-themed space with Italian cars and music, an all-white lounge that was dripping in crystals, and a rainforest room – all at one event. The décor and themes would not have blended well together, but by separating them and making them distinctly unique from one another, we were able to wow the guests throughout the night as they made their way through the event.
Décor is the most visible part of any event, so it should come as no surprise that taking it to the next level is a surefire way to delight guests. Think over-the-top details that are unique to the event and aren’t seen very often. Going vertical with hanging gardens or using extravagant lighting options like a gobo wash or ornate chandeliers are just a few ideas that will have guests talking for years to come.
When planning an event, always keep in mind that the goal is to create a memorable experience for the guests in attendance. The question of how that is achieved is entirely up to you, which is what makes our industry so wonderful.
Fabrice Orlando is the CEO of Cocoon Events Management Group, a luxury event planning company based in Marrakech, Morocco that specializes in high-end weddings and special events worldwide.