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Kristin Banta Forecasts 2024 Trends at CS+TSE

Kristin Banta rolled out her predictions in her annual "Design to Impact" Catersource + The Special Event session

Kristin Banta doesn’t want you to throw trends on a mood board and roll up your sleeves. She wants your designs to make an impact, which is why each year at Catersource + The Special Event, the 2023 Special Events Designer of the Year (Kristin Banta Events) discusses the previous year’s trends, predicts the upcoming year’s, and talks about how to mindfully incorporate these trends in events. 

First, Banta broke down eight facts about today’s attendees: 

  • They are connected, aka always with their phone 
  • They care about the environment 
  • They like to party, just because 
  • They are collaborative 
  • They are frugal 
  • They are techies 
  • They are nostalgic (especially for the 90s and 00s) 
  • They are gamers 

Trendy design needs to resonate with today’s event attendees. Not only that, the design needs to be created with these eight characteristics in mind. 

Next, Banta discussed trends that were all the rage in 2023—pink, disco balls, Western styling, serpentine tables, Negronis and espresso martinis, interactive entrances, and balloons, to name a few.  

Just because it’s a new year doesn’t mean these elements are out of vogue, however. We can still expect to see the hot styles of 2023 play out for a while longer. In the meantime, 2024 is bringing in new elements. Here is what Banta predicts we’ll see this year: 


  • Pantone’s Color of the Year: Peach fuzz, with earth tones or soothing pastels 
  • Chartreuse and brown  
  • Color drenching, or covering everything with one saturated color for dramatic effect 
  • “Aquatecture:” aquarium-inspired design, with fish in the design and decor, 
  • Ribbons and bows (technically, we could place this in the “theme” section below as coquette aesthetic is on the rise) 
  • Table lamp, to give the feel of a club environment 
  • Interactive lighting, which is responsive to touch and motion 
  • Fog projection: images projected on fog for a 3D effect 
  • Oversized florals. “Sometimes bigger is actually better,” said Banta. This floral style provides drama, theatrics, even a fantasy element 
  • Custom serving pieces: think patterns, LED, cane webbing, and a range of materials 

A logoed fog projection welcomed attendees to the Catersource + The Special Event Opening Night Party. Photo courtesy Ivan Piedra Photography/AGNYC Productions/SpotMyPhotos

Food & beverage 

  • Plant based and vegan: not mock meats, but high-end, completely plant-based foods (like mushrooms, tempeh, soy, etc.) 
  • Culinary fusion: blending global and biogeographical ingredients, often in unique combos 
  • Caviar bumps 
  • Mezcal Negronis: will continue strongly in 2024 
  • Paper Plane: this cocktail is the new It Drink, according to Banta. A variation on the Last Word, it contains equal parts bourbon, Amaro Nonino, Aperol, and lemon juice 
  • Functional beverages: think of drinking for wellbeing (e.g. turmeric lattes, kombucha, adaptogen-infused beverages) 

A caviar session was featured during this year's Art of Catering Food conference, with caviar provided by Haute Caviar. Photo courtesy Dana Gibbons Photography/AGNYC Productions


  • Gamification: scavenger hunts, interactive quizzes, and integrating AR and VR 
  • Vintage jazz: think dimly lit venues and lo-fi, in terms of both entertainment and vibes 
  • Spirit tastings and interactive beverages: beverages are a theatrical activity, with smoke, custom ice, liquid nitrogen, and smoke bubbles. 
  • Pop-up performances: entertainment comes off the stage and into the crowd 
  • Badminton is in! 

The Opening Night Party at this year's Catersource + The Special Event had a mix of atmosphere talent and dancers mingle with the crowd, from LED drummers, LED dancers, monochromatic neon cowboys, and drag queens. Photo courtesy Ivan Piedra Photography/AGNYC Productions/SpotMyPhotos


  • Fun fact: 1/3 of consumers prefer a theme 
  • Mixed themes, often paradoxical (neon cowboy, Barbenheimer, hip-hop rogue)  
  • Thematic attire: for event staff, servers, attendees 
  • Bohemianism: more eclectic than Coachella-inspired now, 70s folklore, Laurel Canyon vibes 
  • Preppy: stripes, corduroys, popped collars (they’re back!) 
  • Dopamine decor: bold, vibrant, whimsical colors and elements; joyful, playful, positive, pattern play 
  • Mob wife: inspired by the 25th anniversary of The Sopranos. Think: excess, baubles, cigarette candy, trashy, animal prints 
  • Chrome: replace disco balls for metallics 
  • Western gothic: a revised twist on the Yellowstone craze of last year; vintage Americana chic that’s sultry, moody, dark 
  • Italian grandmother: a departure from “Coastal Grandma” aesthetic while still celebrating “grandmacore:” European sophistication, marble, wood, collected ceramics, upscale 

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(Above) The theme of this year's Connect Social was trendy "Electric Bohemian," which mixed patterns, colors, and eclectic decor. Photo courtesy Ivan Piedra Photography/AGNYC Productions/SpotMyPhotos

(Below)The Opening Night Party was themed "Neon Spur" and attendees were thrilled with the mix of cowyboy and neon decor and entertainment, even arriving in themed attire. Photo courtesy Ivan Piedra Photography/AGNYC Productions/SpotMyPhotos
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Other elements 

  • Sustainability: focus on reducing carbon footprint 
  • Exclusive venues: hard to get into, the more interesting the better 
  • Multifaceted events: event/activity categories that touch a wide range of interests 
  • Micro and niche events 
  • Interactive and personalized favors: tattoos, audiobooks instead of guest books, tooth gems, permanent bracelets 

Don't miss next year's Kristin Banta's Design to Impact in 2025 session! Mark your calendar for Catersource + The Special Event 2025, to be held February 24-27 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.

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