Events in Color: Choosing Ideal Color Schemes to Create Memorable Special Events

How important is the role of color when planning a wedding or special event?
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How important is the role of color when planning a wedding or special event? What dynamic do the colors used in table linens and décor create for the success of an event? As an event planner, not only is it necessary to stay on top of the current trends in special event planning, but one of the first questions you should ask any client is what colors will play a key role in the their function. Equally important is asking what colors are inappropriate -- for example, a Chinese New Year party should never incorporate the color white!

Color can dramatically affect moods and emotions as well as influence certain physiological reactions. Interior designers and artists have long understood the feelings that certain colors evoke personally and culturally. "Colors, like features, follow the changes of emotions," as Pablo Picasso once said, so as an event planner if you are aware of color psychology, you can certainly wow those social and corporate clients!

Generally, brides will choose their favorite colors for their special wedding day; however, when it comes to corporate or social clients, they may or may not already have a certain color theme in mind.

Consider cultural traditions and life experiences when discussing color-scapes with your clients; this information adds to the human experience. Think about who is giving the event, the type of event and the guest profile. Not only are colors important for table designs, décor and lighting, but with flowers and menu choices too! Knowing the seasonal availability of certain flowers and food choices will be appetizing to the palate while working with the palette of the event theme!

The Psychology of Color

White: Pure, clean, innocent in western cultures; mourning in eastern cultures; creates a sense of space so consider draping a small or dark room in white.

Black: Sophistication, power, elegance; in some cultures it represents death or mourning but in others it can mean life or rebirth; appropriate color for high-end, black tie events.

Red: Excitement, passion, intensity; creates very strong emotions and attention-grabbing; causes blood pressure and heart rate to rise; great color for themed events where guests are encouraged to move throughout the venue.

Orange: Vibrancy, energy, excitement; creates a playful environment for your guests.

Yellow: Cheery, warm, alert; this color can also create frustration and anger and is fatiguing to the eye; probably best to use with another color or as an accent and not as a major backdrop, for example, or focal point in a large room; increases the metabolism so a good choice for a breakfast or brunch event.

Green: Natural, healthy, tranquil; creates a calming effect, relieves stress and helps heal; hence, the symbolism behind the term "green room" as a place to relax prior to going on stage to perform.

Blue: Peace, trust, loyalty; a popular and neutral color on a global level; lowers pulse rate and body temperature and creates productivity.

Purple: Royalty, wisdom, wealth; an exotic color that is associated with luxury and extravagance but also a spiritual connection; can be used in creating special effects with lighting, for example, when designing a lounge area.

Trends in Color

Don't always count on your client knowing their color inspiration and even if they do it is in your benefit as their professional planner to be on top of the current color trends. "I spend countless hours every year discussing colors, styles, fabrics and textures with a design specialist so that I am current with trends," says Zack Felix of Giraffe, Inc. "This information is an integral part of my event design process and key to the success of our events!" Event design follows fashion and home décor trends so knowing what color palettes are hot each year will keep you ahead of the game with what is trending forward for weddings and special events.

Each fall and spring, Pantone, the leading authority on color, comes out with the following season's color trends and announces the hot color of the year in early spring. This year's color is the vivacious Tangerine Tango, a fiery reddish-orange hue that we are already seeing on the fashion runways, in cosmetics and in home décor. The event industry will see it this year as well as moving into 2013.

"Knowing what colors are hot and complimentary can really help an event planner excel in their business," says Kate Kovalick-Patay, Executive Director of Sales & Marketing for Creative Coverings. Industry-related forums and blogs are an excellent way to find hot color trends and to mix and match color palettes. Here are a few to consistently follow:

Don't be afraid of color! It is a fabulous way to evoke emotions and to set the tone for the mood of an event. Think outside of the box when it comes to the design process and choosing the appropriate color palettes for table linens and overall decor. This will set you apart and leave a lasting impression on your clients.

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