The journey, the detail, and the interaction: how Sarah Kay creates “other worlds”
There is something to be said about being the last to arrive at the party. Alright, alright we don’t mean the actual party (we get up far too early for that), we are talking about the wonderful world of event planning.
We florists, the providers of the finishing touches, often find ourselves presented with unique themes and impressive event briefs around which to create bespoke floral designs. It really does mean that no two events are ever the same. In the last few months alone we have created floral arrangements to accompany all manner of amazing themes including Vintage Circuses, Luxury Summers, Tiki Bars, Secret Gardens and Maritime Wonders but to name a few!
Now of course it goes without saying that choosing the right floral design can be absolutely key to creating impressive event. But in order to make these occasions truly immersive it calls for a crack team of events professionals from catering, entertainment and lighting to scent and virtual reality providers . All of these industry experts have one mission in mind; to come together and create an experience for the guests that will resonate far beyond the event itself.
Ask the expert
Sarah Kay is one of the most inspired, energetic and knowledgeable experts on the UK events scene. Through her company, The Edit, Sarah organizes and consults on a broad spectrum of amazing events which transport her clients’ guests to exciting new worlds. Ever eager to gain some exclusive insights from an industry expert, we decided to ask Sarah to some key questions on how to create an amazing corporate event. Enjoy!
What do you love most about your job?
What I love about events is that it’s creating another world for the day or evening. Guests step into a space and they’re transported – worries are forgotten and it’s all about having a good time, socialising and enjoying the moment.
Does an event always have to have a theme?
Themes certainly help to create ‘worlds’. Nowadays everything feels so fast paced and serious that a really fun theme that creates something so removed from your day to day life is hugely appealing and has maximum impact. But a ‘theme’ doesn’t mean ‘themed’. For example, we recently provided conference styling for a bank where the brief was black and white with the conversations of the day adding the colour. We added ideas that encouraged audience participation and created fun moments such as black and white balloons that were popped to reveal colourful confetti. It was about adding a fun touch without detracting from the concept of the day.
How do you create an engaging corporate event?
When you think about the journey, the detail and how guests will interact with the space. Just having huge props isn’t enough for people to feel that they’re in another place or world. It’s all about thinking how your guests will respond, what will make them smile, what would they Instagram and how will they walk away feeling. It’s more than a look, it’s a concept and should run through every element of the event from the invite through to the food, the entertainment and the atmosphere. We’ve even introduced event scents before as they evoke such powerful memories – that really helps to immerse people.
What are the three key aspects that you cannot neglect when working to a theme?
Detail, food and the journey. We design an event so that people walk in and think ‘wow’ but then as the event continues they notice the detail again and again. People remember the atmosphere and the detail. The food is something most events have and it’s missing a trick to not incorporate this into the theme. It’s such a small cost to do so therefore we think it’s essential to consider.
What has been your favourite corporate event?
My favourite event is definitely the festival theme we did at Sushi Samba with Story. It was such a fun brief and we totally transformed the space. Guests arrived and were given a lanyard with a stage schedule, wristbands and a phone charger. The journey saw them taking in four different bars, all styled to a theme, the main space which has been covered in grass, and if they were lucky enough to discover it, a secret garden (with Hybrid’s designs!) complete with liquid nitrogen cocktails and ice creams. The theme was so much fun and we really ran with it, creating a totally unexpected space at the top of a skyscraper.
Any predictions for future events themes?
I think immersive events will continue to be popular, so any theme or world but just totally all consuming, very theatrical and full on. People are exposed to so many stimulants that event themes have had to keep up and the immersive concept overtakes to create impact.
I also think natural. As the world becomes more digital people crave nostalgia, nature and relaxed atmospheres so I think we’ll see lots more of this.
Having said that technology is huge especially virtual reality which is definitely one of the event buzz words of the moment.
Any pearls of wisdom for the corporate events planner?
Always consider what you are trying to achieve. What are your goals? How do you want your guests to feel before the event, during and after? Thinking about the guest journey and experience as this really helps you plan. Also find the best suppliers as they help you create the best events – I couldn’t do it without them!