Holiday Decorations

This month’s question: “Dear SUES, with the holidays coming up, what tips can you offer for me to decorate my event space?”

Denitsa:  Begin with deciding what your event will be –Is it related to Thanksgiving?  Perhaps it’s in celebration of the winter holidays?  Thinking of your audience will help you determine what is most appropriate for your event.

Rachel:  Starting with guest and display tables, linen is a key item for decoration.  It is a great way to add color and play up your theme as it comes in many colors, shapes, designs, and fabrics.  Consider reds and yellows for fall-themed events and blacks, blues, and silvers for winter themes.  Do a solid color like red, with a shiny, gold lace overlay for a Christmas-themed program.

Sheila:  And don’t underestimate centerpieces—they tie in the event’s theme to where your guests will spend most of their time (at the food table).  Flowers and trees are beautiful but can be expensive, so consider alternate ideas like filling glass bowls with pinecones, holiday ornaments, or string lights.  Sites like Pinterest have lots of creative ideas for a variety of budgets.

You can even use luminaries (a light within a paper sack or bag) on guest tables.  An electronic tea light is best to be used inside the bags to ensure the safety of all at the event.  Different color bags and lights can create a variety of effects to match your event décor.  In addition to being centerpieces, luminaries can also be used as a guide or walkway leading guests to your event or on existing shelving or furniture in the room.

Denitsa:  Speaking of lighting, a common theme with the holidays is warmth.  Check with your event venue to see what they have to offer from built-in lighting, windows, and other equipment.  Using existing lighting is a great cost-effective place to start.  Adding in string lights and up-lighting (to light up walls from the ground) will transform the space and set the tone of the event.  In the Student Union Ballroom, for example, there are three sets of room lighting (chandeliers, can lighting, and wooden coves around the perimeter) that can be set at various levels which create a variety of feels to the room’s ambiance.  Add in LED lighting on lighting trees or pipe and drape, you can do a variety of things with lights.

If your venue has windows, be sure to factor in the time of day your event will take place. If you’re going for a darker, more intimate feel during the day and venue has exterior windows, you may need to look into window coverings to shield out some light.  On the flip side, using the natural lighting can work well for a day or night event with a winter wonderland feel with bright blues, white, and silver tones.

Cody:  If it’s in your budget, gobos can add a personalized message or image in certain spaces.  They’re typically metal or glass pieces that are placed in front of lights to illuminate a shape or design.  Consider snowflakes with blue or white lighting for winter and leaf shapes with red and yellow lighting for fall.  These can be placed in front of stationary or movable lights.

Another easy way to create a visual at your event is to project a film or video clip on a bare wall.  There are a ton of classic holiday-themed movies to choose from; be sure to focus on your overall idea, audience, and tone to determine what is best suited.

Rachel:  Whatever the theme or the decoration, remember the key to any memorable holiday party is to celebrate with friends and family, near and far. Determining your color palate, adding a few key pieces of décor, and mixing in some music will make for an unbeatable holiday celebration!

Other Resources
The Magic of ColorArticle
SUES Centerpieces Pinterest Board

Each month we’ll be answering your questions!  Ever wonder what microphone to use for a musical performance?  Don’t know how best to select a catering menu?  We’ll assist you with some of your event planning quandaries and get you on the road for a successful program.  Message, tweet (@UNLV_SUES), or comment here to send us your questions!

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