Special Events

Scene-Stealing Decor

Simple ways to create visual impact

IN AN INDUSTRY built around creating visually striking events, decor items are a must. From centerpieces to vintage props, the right decor items can add fanciful whimsy or romantic charm to an otherwise nondescript venue.

STAYING CENTERED

Bill Whidden, president of Orlando, Fla.-based Ice Magic, says planners are focusing more on themed table treatments than ever before. "If [planners are] going to spend the money, they want to put it right in front of their guests," he says.

"For a '60s party, we'll freeze `love bugs' and peace signs in the ice [centerpieces]," he says. Using laser technology, Ice Magic also can etch a company's color logo into its centerpieces.

Incorporating masquerade-type masks, Fancy Faces Manufacturing of Covington, La., fashions dramatic centerpieces for themed parties. In October, the company introduced its newest product - a spandex tower topped with a plume of feathers and lighted from within. This versatile item can be used as a centerpiece or as perimeter decor, notes Stephen Hamel, general manager.

PROP STOP

From the kitchen set used in the television show "The Honeymooners" to the crib from the movie "Rosemary's Baby," Eclectic/Encore Props of New York inventories a wide array of decor items, many with historical significance in the film and television industry. Manager Eliot Brodsky says the props are set up in vignettes, and a walk through the more than 85,000 square feet of warehouse space feels more like a visit to a museum than a working prop house. For an out-of-town client who had a specific theme in mind, Brodsky e-mailed digital images of possible decor items, which were approved and later shipped.

San Diego-based Dream World Events rents more than 850 room-enhancing backdrops, all hand-painted on 100 percent polyester. Sales executive Tamara Klein says, "Our concept is to drape the entire room so that you're sitting in a Tuscany vineyard, enchanted garden, African cafe or disco." The backdrops are easy to hang, she adds.

If a water effect is desired, Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Decorative Novelty offers a clear iridescent drape combined with an ice-blue drape. Though silver and gold are still the most popular drape colors, vice president Matthew Notine says the company has more than 40 colors in stock and can custom-create additional colors.

LIGHT THE WAY

Table Decor Inter-national of Marietta, Ga., offers event planners and designers specialty table lighting. The lamps break down for easy storage and use tea lights, fuel cells or rechargeable batteries. President Lynn Wells says a popular item for weddings is a shade that when placed next to ivory "looks ivory, and if you put it next to white, it looks white."

Resources: Decorative Novelty, 800/526-3668, 718/965-8600; Dream World Events, 800/737-9869, 858/452-4922; Eclectic/Encore Props, 212/645-8880; Fancy Faces Manufacturing, 800/752-3480, 504/893-2652; Ice Magic, 888/538-1200, 407/294-2007; Table Decor International, 800/265-5267, 770/432-1156

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