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Bienvenidos a Miami

The city of Miami has a style all its own in everything from linens to food, and everything in between.

In the immortal words of Will Smith: “Party in the city where the heat is on; All night, on the beach till the break of dawn; I'm goin’ to Miami.”

Those are exactly the vibes we’ll be feeling this week in Miami for The Special Event + Catersource Conference & Tradeshow. But what exactly can we expect from a city that has gone through various style evolutions over the years? In a word: Fun

"Miami has a feeling of fun, it’s never a serious setting and it’s always about a good time,” says Miami-based caterer and personal chef Elgin Woodman. “And who doesn’t want to be in Miami?” 

But Miami is so much more than just a sense of fun, the city has a style all its own in everything from linens to food, and everything in between. So, let’s break down how to truly encapsulate Miami during an event.

“Miami is all about the experience,” says Jeniffer Bello, Miami-based event planner and chair for The Special Event’s Opening Night Party. “It’s all about that funky energy that comes through. There’s this light vibe, neon, bright energy to it that makes Miami unique.”

Bright & bold

“All things that are cliché about Miami is true of Miami,” says Heather Rouffe, Managing Partner for Atlas Event Rentals and The Special Event + Catersource Show Ambassador. “That whole Miami vibe still stands true, it hasn’t changed; it’s still what people think of all these years later.”

Whether it’s through brightly colored florals, neon lighting, or boldly printed linens, Miami style is all about making a statement and embracing the liveliness of its culture. 

“There’s no such thing as too bold in Miami,”Rouffe says.

In addition to the striking décor, Miami events also embrace bold flavors through the incorporation of Latin-inspired dishes, and the robust and lively musical melting pot. When embracing what it means to have a Miami event, you must think about it from all perspectives: colors, magic, taste, smell, sound, and textures.

“Miami affects all of the senses, and it overwhelms you,” Bello says. “That’s just want Miami does.”

Clean & classic

Don’t be mistaken, though. The bright and bold often associated with Miami isn’t the only trend in town. 

“There's this misconception that Miami is all Cuban, tropical—and it’s not that anymore,” says Woodman, who will be delivering a session entitled “Miami Styled Food Stations” during The Special Event + Catersource. “You can really do anything in Miami.”

One trend that can be considered very traditional, but also more modern, is the classic white art deco style accentuated with unique lighting. 

“It’s about being more modern, more glamorous,” Woodman says.

Miami Here We Come
Attend Elgin Woodman and Ashley Deoleo' s session during The Special Event + Catersource titled “Miami Styled Food Stations” on Wednesday, July 21 at 4:00 p.m. where they will show you how to get "the 305 experience" through food and decor. Learn more

This Miami style focuses on the materials by incorporating metallics, stone, acrylics, and Lucite to offer a clean, sleek, modular look. Mirrors are also a popular addition to help bring in the modern vibes. 

“I call Miami the plastic capitol of the world,” Bello jokes. 

Palms & pastels

Another very quintessential design element is the incorporation of pastels, such as pinks, corals, teals, tans, and of course the classic Miami white. These softer colors evoke more of the beach and tropical aspects of Miami. 

These color palettes often go together with an added importance on natural elements, such as florals, palms, and bamboo. 

“Even something as simple as a passing platter with a palm on it, you get that vibe right away,” says Ashley Deoleo, Miami-based event stylist and Woodman’s co-presenter. 

The Special Event + Catersource Show Ambassador Bill Hanson, owner of Bill Hanson Catering, says he’s also seeing cascading bouquets that use a lot more greens than flowers, tables being set with a mix of china and glassware, and couples giving out signature scents as take-home favors. 

“What better way to remember a wedding than a tropical scent from Miami?” he says.

Tradition & textures

Lastly, a Miami event is all about tradition and nature. For example, by using a lot of lightweight, natural textures such as bamboo and other woods, you can evoke the more rustic elements of the city. “Even when we’re doing more neutral tones, the Miami feel is going to come across in the textures,” says Oniki Hardtman, Owner & Creative Director for Oh Niki! Occasions, and chair for the Event Experience, the Wednesday evening Showcasing Event. “The décor doesn’t have to always be so over-the-top, and in your face, anything natural and from the earth that’s grown in the tropics feels like Miami.” 

Tying in with the traditional textures, other décor elements that evoke a feeling of tradition are cigar or mojito bars, and vintage cars.

“We’ll definitely be bringing all the Miami magic [in July],” Bello says. “You never know what’s going to happen in Miami.”   

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