Do you know what the secret is to a good story? Or, at least to a story that’s going to be retold for years to come? It’s making sure it has a good beginning … one that hooks your audience from the start. The same goes for wedding and events. I am always thinking of ways to make the first impression an unforgettable one—something that draws in the guests and kicks off a story they’ll want to keep reliving, and retelling. We do that by creating incredible drama as soon as an event begins, with a grand entrance that allows us to set the tone for what’s to come.
I love unexpected moments that get your guest’s attention, especially when it puts a modern twist on otherwise traditional moments. When this adorable ring bearer was too young to walk down the aisle by himself, we placed him in a remote-control car steered by his father to create an entrance that immediately got our guests reacting. They couldn’t wait to see what came next!
What comes next is the wedding reception—the space where the guests of honor get to celebrate a lifetime to come with the people who mean the most to them. I want the room to be something that means just as much. This scene sparked my favorite guest reaction ever. They told me when they walked into this room, they felt this must be how it feels to walk into Heaven! I couldn’t ask for better feedback.
I’ve said it before—infusing meaning into event design is my secret sauce. By creating custom grand entrances that are personal to the guests of honor, I can impress guests with unexpected uniqueness right off the bat. At this milestone celebration, I knew our birthday girl loved roses, so we designed an entrance using lush garland overflowing with vibrant pink and red roses. The result was elegant and romantic—as gorgeous as the woman of the hour herself!
The formula I try to follow when designing corporate-style events is one that blends function and drama with meaning into something unique for the guests to experience. One of my favorite examples is from a fundraiser where we created a step and repeat under a sunflower drenched doorway—the client’s favorite flower and her stamp on a picture-perfect spot to grab photos during the event.
Personalizing those party details is one of my favorite elements of planning a Southern event. For this baby shower, we created a subway-style Number 6 train entrance to symbolize guests walking into our fairytale version of the Bronx, NY. It colorfully highlighted a vital piece of our mama-to-be’s personal story while writing a completely new chapter for her guests to celebrate the bundle of baby girl to come.
I’m always setting the bar higher and higher when it comes to making moments unforgettable. This brand launch helped me capture the ultimate grand entrance—one that got our guests talking before they ever even entered the party. In fact, we had to remind them to keep going once they arrived, because they couldn’t stop taking photos of the entrance! When the goal is to create something that will get people talking and posting about (and never forgetting) what they experienced, choosing elements that will strike a chord with guests is how to do it.
The best part about a great start to any story is that you know it can only get even better. It’s always my goal to make every event I design something beautiful, but the best part is showcasing the heart behind them. Those personal touches are the essence of modern Southern hospitality that allow me to distinguish each event from the next, and inevitably kick off a great party that builds upon something that’s already pretty incredible.