The need to connect with nature lies within all of us, which is why humans often seek the refuge of green garden spaces, forests, beaches or parks to rest, rewind and recharge. Nature reminds us why we are here, why we should connect and what it means to be human.
Recent trends in sustainability and green architecture have made great influences on the way people are choosing to live in the world, but the idea of using nature-based design methods to elevate the overall guest experience may be the next big thing in event design.
Premiere Chicago event planner, Jennifer Anderson of Jennifer Anderson Events says she loves working greenery into her designs and agrees that no matter the occasion, there is much benefit to letting “Mother Nature” guide the way.
“Nature creates a wonderful feeling of freedom,” says Anderson. “It generates calm, peace and welcomes everyone into the outside world.”
Vince Hart, VP of Sales for Kehoe Designs has collaborated with Anderson on several events over the years and says the use of greenery is a trend he sees coming from the current generation of wedding couples he works with.
“I really think it’s a reflection of the farm to table movement and a real need to be different from what their parents and possibly older siblings have done in the past,” says Hart. “They seem to want a more organic and less structured sense of design for their weddings.”
Setting the tone for an event using bold colors and natural elements can bring forth positive emotions, enhance creativity, and even improve the overall mood of an event.
Six ways you can let nature serve as the backdrop for your event:
- Use Natural Elements
“Natural elements of wood, leather, sea glass, succulents and cotton fabrics all lend themselves to a peaceful and enveloping atmosphere in an event,” says Anderson.
Use real or faux boxwood hedgerows and plants can be used to create green backdrops, framed living walls featuring floral or green foliage, entranceways, and aisles, escort card treatments, and even bar fronts. Anderson suggests using moss as place mats, “rugs” in bathrooms or to even cover table tops.
- Bring The Outside In
Create natural spaces or mimic park-like settings like a formal English garden with rustic wooden gates, carved limestone columns and pillars or use indigenous potted plants to the feeling of outdoor ceremony settings, aisle treatments or lounge seating.
- Color By Nature
Events surrounding the Summer Olympics in Brazil are sure to echo the vivid colors of this beautiful country with peacock blues, orange, green and yellow. Even the patterns echoing cloud formations, ocean waves or tree bark or rings on a tree can influence the design and colors used in draping, linens, and furniture.
- Stimulate The Senses
Surround your guests with the sights, sounds and even smells of nature. Feature fresh herbs or fragrant floral centerpieces, indoor fountains that calmly trickle or incorporate elements of rock, sand and fire to give warmth and substance to an event.
- Let There Be Light
Hart says greenery is instantly elevated by the use of light, “It’s an easy and dramatic way to really transform any blank or ornate environment.”
Projecting tree or leaf patterns on ceilings, walls or dancefloors will envelop a room to feel as if guests entered the woods or enchanted garden. LED Smart lighting systems can be programmed to change colors, movement or intensity of light, setting the mood throughout an event.
“The twinkling of the lights feels like hundreds of stars in the night,” says Anderson, who suggests using lighting and mirrored tables to give rooms a magical, reflective quality.
- Dramatic Green Ceiling Drops
To create a dramatic chandelier effect, Anderson suggests suspending inverted floral tower gardens or adding green canopies with hanging crystals to existing lighting fixtures as a ceiling treatment.
Hart recently transformed the way a traditional Jewish wedding chuppah is made by hanging thousands of white hydrangeas upside down with ribbons to create a floral canopy over the ceremony!
So, dare to be inspired by the world around you, and consider the many positive benefits of designing your next event with nature in mind!