As the holidays approach for what feels like the first regular holiday season since the pandemic began, you might be wondering about how social gatherings have changed. Are there any rules or trends that you missed between remote work, isolating and canceled plans?
COVID-19 hit the event planning industry hard, but according to local event planners like Christine McFarlane, gatherings are back—and different. McFarlane is a Baltimore-based event planner who specializes in weddings, showers, private parties and other social gatherings. She plans events all over the DMV and Baltimore.
Since starting out in 2013 and launching her own business five years ago, McFarlane has become a local expert on the party landscape.
“Covid’ slowed everything down. With the restrictions for gatherings, full-scale events no longer means 150 plus people. An event can still be full scale with for a guest count of 40,” McFarlane says.
But, according to McFarlane, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The pandemic caused people to strip events down to the necessities, and more importantly, zero in on the meaning behind the event. While people were deciding to forgo the party favors and skip the fluff, they were focusing on why they were there. For weddings, this meant more focus on the couple themselves.
If you’re ready to jump back into planning holiday gatherings or weddings, whether large or small, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind.
Skip the Favors
“People don’t care about favors,” McFarlane says. “Guests will forget them of chuck them in a drawer in their house.”
Instead, couples or hosts might opt to donate to a charity or cause that’s close to their hearts, making the day more meaningful and personal.
“Escort boards and paper goods are becoming more standout pieces for guests to show off their personalities. Paper goods no longer have to be paper,” McFarlane says.
Paper goods are any paper items or signage. This includes place cards, member cards, table numbers, escort boards, handkerchiefs and more.
Dress codes have changed. More hosts are opting to have a little more fun and get specific with their guests’ attire. Some hosts have even moved to include the color palette in the invitation itself, according to McFarlane.
Rule of 7
The Rule of 7 refers to using seven different colors, textures or patterns to create the best unique design altogether.
“With a tablescape, we bring in different patterns for the table cloth, for the napkin; different textures for chargers, the candles, votive [and] vases for the flowers,” McFarlane says. “Not restricting yourself to one shade of blue, a multitude of different hues really enrich and make a well-rounded look.”
One way to use this trend is by using a mix of tablecloths for the tables themselves, having different cloths for round and long tables. Bring wood, metal and glass tables into the mix.
“Not every table has to have the same thing going on. It’s a little ‘wow factor’ when the guest gets to their table and they have something different than the table next to them,” McFarlane says.
While it is possible to put everything together yourself, there are a number of advantages to having someone else to sort the details out for you.
Event planners have access and relationships with vendors and are often able to secure better pricing. They are also aware of the latest trends, venues and styles that will make your event one to remember. When planning your own event, a lot of time can get sucked into the details, the stress and the organizing, which can take away from your overall enjoyment.
Here are some local event planners you can call on this holiday season.
Heather St. Clair Events
304-290-6632 | [email protected]
selecting a venue, vendors, design;day-of planning; weddings, social events and public celebrations including launch parties and award ceremonies. heatherstclairevents.com
Taylor Made Event Planning
410-989-3785 | [email protected]
consultations via teleconference or email, selecting a venue and vendors, menu tas
tings, music recommendations, day-of management, flower arrangements, candles, tablescapes, genuine moments, rustic holiday décor. taylormade-eventplanning.co