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Event Designers Share Which Trends are In and Which are So Over

Event Designers Share Which Trends are In and Which are So Over

Trends are cruel. The style that once looked so fresh now looks forlorn, what sizzled has fizzled. Here, five top event designers share which trends are still in and which are so over.


Event Eleven, Los Angeles

What's In

Hanging interesting light fixtures from the roof of the event space, “especially if they didn't already exist in the space.” Schubert did this for the “Star Trek” movie premiere party.

Putting large, customized props in large open spaces. This “sets the tone and makes a statement,” Schubert says. This technique added zing to TV Guide's 2009 Emmy Awards after-party at nightspot Kress Hollywood in L.A.

LED technology

Video curtains

Anything that makes your environment welcoming and comfortable

What's Over

Backlit bars and buffets that glow

Logos on pillows



Kehoe Designs, Chicago

What's In

Color, color and more color

Stylish eco-events that look “uber cool yet have a meaningful purpose and a clear message of sustainability,” Kehoe says.

Creative theme events. Think “Old Havana — an ultra-sexy environment that makes you want to dance!” he says. “It's escapism — we are looking to new social clubs popping up all over the world as inspiration.”

Giving with a cause. “Again, it is all about having a worthwhile purpose and embracing it with fun, whimsical props and branded decor,” Kehoe says.

What's Over

Frivolous events. “Nothing is more annoying than to attend an event with meaningless objectives and uninspired event decor.”

Water tables and cylinders with submerged flowers

Manzanita trees or branches as centerpieces


AOO Events, Los Angeles

What's In

Designing a room primarily in one color, then adding one “pop” color.

Less is the new more. “Or at least the appearance of less is the new more,” Merrell says. “I know of clients that will actually spend more on things just to give the perception of spending less. I'm seeing clients spend more money going to an inner-city venue, just because doing an event at a luxury resort has the perception of opulence.”

What's Over

Strongly themed parties. “Everyone wants to appear to be ‘responsible’ in their spending,” Merrell says. “Most clients I talk to want the party to either be an enhancement of the location they are already in or an extension of their own personal or corporate image.”


MGM Mirage Events, Las Vegas

What's In

Natural world meets upscale chic. The big trend toward eco-friendly events is “admirable,” Dahl says. “However, there are limits to the sophistication and elegance that is possible from the likes of recycled paper cups used in a ceiling chandelier. Recently we've been playing with a new aesthetic we have branded ‘Gilded Earth.’ Stunning, shimmering metallic gold and platinum finishes are incorporated into actual tree stumps, adding new life to woodland forms. All wood is reclaimed from the forest floor during fire clearance with zero environmental impact. We have infused ‘Gilded Earth’ into several events over the past few months. The result is organic and opulent — as timeless as it is modern, as familiar as it is imaginative.”

What's Over

Black and white brocade


The Meetinghouse Companies, Elmhurst, Ill.

What's In

Stylish minimalism, which Halsey describes as “beautiful contemporary pieces that are easy on the budget, or at least appear that way.”

Theme decor with a purpose. “These are high-quality decor items with the ability to be interactive, such as vignettes with living decor or buffets and bar stations decked out to enhance a guest's experience. How fun is that!”

What's Over

Opulent abundance. “Excessive, conspicuous spending that appears over the top in design and budget is so 2008.”

Wastefulness. “Wasting time, money and product … enough said.”

One-dimensional, poorly maintained decor. “Clients are more informed than ever and will not tolerate, subpar equipment or service — nor should we!”


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