Spring Event Decor


It's that time of year in the wine industry - big spring events to launch the release of new vintages. This past weekend was the Taste of Red in the Yakima Valley - I wasn't there for the event itself, but was at Hogue Winery on Friday to begin my part of a redesign project. And I can't even begin to explain the excitement around there for the weekend event - mostly because they pre-sold a slew of tickets, but also because the weather forecast was for SUN! The incredible staff had a great weekend, I am certain.

Event decor isn't difficult to do right - just think large. Large scale, large impact, and the fact that there will in all likelyhood be large crowds milling about the space. The photo above is of the entrance to an event at Columbia Winery last spring...the curtained doorway to the banquet rooms makes a huge impact as guests walk up. Large, tall flowers and hot colors are impossible to miss and start the event off on a festive note. The fabric curtains and pipe supports were rented from Grand Rentals, and I did the flowers, which are real branches of plum blossoms and hot pink peonies mixed with silk green viburnum. I want what I want, and if it's not in bloom, I go silk. (No one EVER noticed!)

Inside the event room, we created a 'photo spot'. In keeping with the theme of a Bacchanalian Celebration, we rented the columns from AA Rentals. I added a bust of Bacchus, a small fountain spewing watered-down wine that sat on top of a wine barrel, several silk grapevines, faux grapes, and some grape lights. Tucked behind was a section of a laurel tree (a very Roman/Greek plant!) that a winery employee donated after chopping it off the huge tree in his year. Decor props come from EVERYWHERE - and free stuff from nature is my favorite to work with.

More columns, and a vase also rented from AA, filled with more blooming plum branches. This adds a nice bit of height and drama to the buffet table. Hot pink peonies and more silk grapevines all add movement and interest. The sheer green tablecloth is actually curtain panels purchased inexpensively at Ross - they have tiny pink roses appliqued all across the fabric. It just whispers 'spring'. Behind it, more pink curtains for impact.

This closeup shows a styro ball covered with Kermit mums and a few pink carnations sprinkled in. These were the centerpiece for each round table (and why I don't have a shot of those, I certainly do not know!) and sat up on a wire frame, which was covered with a silk grapevine. Simple - but effective. Even a crystal vase or bowl with a floating hot pink peony would have done the trick - a splash of color. The important thing at the table is the people, not the decor. (And at winery events, we have to consider that no fragrant flowers or candles are ever used - it interferes with the nose & palate of the wine.)


One other note: This event was held on a Sunday evening. The day before was the Wedding Showcase event, where Columbia is open for brides-to-be to view the facilities and see a mini- trade show of vendors who provide rentals and services for weddings. Suzanne, girl wonder, organized that event. SHE ordered the pink curtains, and because the rental company wasn't coming to get them until Monday morning, we were able to 'piggyback' and use them for the wine club event. Saved us MUCHO bucks. SO, if you can ever set up events this way, do it. Half the work (one setup), half the money, twice the impact. Smart budgeting!

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my take on retail visual design:

"The thing is, retail design is driven by psychology. It is by manipulating space, visuals, lighting, sound, smell, and mood that we influence customers to enter, stay, browse, buy, and return. It is an endless exercise in change, endurance, growth, education, and imagination that enables retailers to stay on top of their game and at the forefront of their customer's minds. Yes, what you sell IS important - but even the very best merchandise won't sell at full price if it's presented in torn boxes on dirty shelves in a store that is too crowded to turn around in. Visual impact is a huge part of business, and utilizing the principles that have been proven to work can help you build a better business." ~ DWK