How can I be a good event decorator?

Event decorating takes creativity, organization, attention to detail and strong communication skills. By following event decorating best practices and developing key skills, you can create memorable events that wow attendees.

How can I be a good event decorator?

Gather Inspiration and Define Your Vision

The first step to being a good event decorator is defining the mood, theme and aesthetic for the event. Consider what will make it special and memorable. Research decor ideas on blogs and social media using relevant hashtags like event decor, eventinspo and tablescapes. Create an inspiration board with images, fabric swatches, color palettes and other visual elements representing your vision. Share this with the client to align on goals, budget parameters and priorities from the start.

Plan Ahead and Communicate Frequently

Event decor requires extensive preparation and planning. Review the event details including date, time, location, expected attendance and type of event. Develop a detailed decor plan outlining everything you intend to provide – linens, centerpieces, signage, lighting, rental furniture etc. Create a realistic timeline working backwards from event date, factoring in design, ordering, delivery, setup and breakdown. Overcommunicate with clients throughout the planning process to ensure proper approvals and manage expectations.

Know Your Budget

An important key to success as an event decorator is creating a realistic budget and tracking it carefully. Get quotes for rentals along with estimated labor and get approvals in writing. Factor in taxes, fees and tips. Leave a 10-15% buffer as a contingency fund to cover incidentals. Providing clients with a detailed budget breakdown and managing the agreed upon budget demonstrates your financial responsibility.

Choose Versatile, High-Quality Materials

Whether purchasing or renting, select decor elements that are well-made, durable and versatile enough for reuse. For example, avoid very ornate items or overly trendy styles. Opt for neutral colored linens, glassware, chargers and centerpiece vases that can work for a variety of events and color palettes. High quality materials photographed well so images can be used in your portfolio to showcase work for future clients.

Embrace Elegant Simplicity

Resist overdecorating! Well-designed spaces allow each element room to shine without competing. Follow the less-is-more rule and avoid clutter. Ensure decor aligns with the event purpose and guest expectations. For example, corporate events demand more simplicity than a non-profit gala. Follow existing architecture, remove non-essential items and style sparsely for an instantly elegant look.

Layer Lighting Strategically

Lighting can make a tremendous impact on the aesthetics and ambiance of an event. Use a combination of fixture types at varied heights including strings lights, lanterns, lamps, track lighting or votives to add depth and dimension. Up lights placed strategically wash walls in color. Ensure adequate visibility for activities like eating or viewing presentations. Program color-changing lights to transition the mood from cocktails to dancing.

Style Tables with Functionality and Flow

When decorating tables, ensure a balance of aesthetics and function. Select linens that are long enough to cascade off edges and determine appropriate overlay placements so elements don’t impede guest interactions. Calculate a centerpiece height and diameter that provides sightlines across and down table. Candles must sit below eye level to avoid distraction during meal service. Place cards neatly organized alphabetically. Lastly, clearly indicate assigned seating arrangements using visible signage.

Incorporate Meaningful Personal Touches

Find special ways to customize decor to be unique. Display couples’ wedding photos in ornate frames on tables. Project baby photos as part of a milestone birthday slideshow. Scatter silver or gold confetti matching anniversary years on linen. Showcase table assignments using homemade cookies iced with guest initials. Infusing personal mementos makes the event extra touching for attendees.

Expect the Unexpected with Backup Plans

Despite extensive planning, some details will invariably go wrong, like florals that don’t arrive on time or furniture getting rained on. Successful event pros always have backup plans, extra materials and decor pieces that can pivot as needed. Identify what can realistically be fixed or replaced if damaged last minute. Inform vendors so they can support creating decor adjustments. Handle any issues positively keeping the guest experience seamless.

Properly Manage teardown and Vendor Relationships

Just as much effort goes into post event tearing down decor properly as the initial set up. Create organizational systems like numbered table layout charts indicating exactly where each rental item belongs for smooth return processes. Conduct final walk throughs ensuring vendors deactivate lighting, pull drapes neatly, and handle fragile decor gently to avoid damages. Express thanks for hard work and capture photos of final room designs from multiple angles for your portfolio. Follow up within one week to handle billing finalization, overtime fees or damages. Providing professional and pleasant experiences means they will want to work with you again in the future.

Key Takeaways

Here are key tips for designing dazzling, flawless events as a decorator:

  • Visualize unique event aesthetics aligned to purpose, audience and location
  • Meticulously project plan all decor aspects with vendor orders, rentals, and labor
  • Provide clients exceptionally detailed budgets and quotes for approvals
  • Invest in durable, versatile high-quality decor that photographs well
  • Edit minimally embracing elegant simplicity over clutter
  • Use layered, color-changing lighting to create cohesive ambiance
  • Style tables with guest experience functionality balanced with beauty
  • Infuse personal touches and customize elements meaningful to the attendees
  • Prepare contingency plans, backup items and decor adjustments
  • Professionally manage vendor relationships before, during and post-event


Event decorating requires artistic vision paired with rock solid organization, communication and problem-solving skills. Establishing processes and relationships help events run seamlessly behind the scenes leaving flawless decorative designs guests admire. With thorough planning and preparation along with embracing inevitable mishaps positively, event decorators can deliver truly wondrous, memorable experiences attendees connect with on a deeper more personal level beyond aesthetics alone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What tools and supplies should an event decorator have on hand?
A: Basic toolkit essentials include a tape measure, level, zip ties, binder clips, scissors, picture hanging supplies, batteries and chargers, gloves and cleaning products. Stock blanks signage, vases, easels plus industrial items like utility hooks, drop cloths, extra lighting strands and extension cords.

Q: How much should I charge as a new event decorator?
A: Evaluate labor and time realistically plus materials. Research competitors’ price lists for equivalent services as a guideline plus add value with personalization. Bill consultation/design, sourcing, site visits, setup/teardown and sample showings separately. Charge rush order or major revision fees.

Q: How can I find event decorator jobs?
A: Create a website, post online portfolios and list with local wedding vendors. Promote photo gallery on social media geotagged to the area using keyword hashtags. Provide gift certificates to local bridal boutiques or event spaces offering free consult. Attend industry networking events to connect with planners needing decor talent.

Q: How do I transport decor to events?
A: Invest in packing items securely in clear lid plastic storage bins stacked on rolling carts or shelves that collapse fitting most vehicles. Load in carefully sequenced order of use and return. Add shelving racks to securely transport framed items. Carry specialty tools, cleaning items plus emergency kit separately as needed.

Q: What is the most profitable type of event for a decorator?
A: Weddings provide the highest profit margin given number of design elements clients purchase plus venue fees earned. However, steady corporate event gigs renting items repeatedly offer more consistent cash flow without gaps between infrequent weekend wedding periods.

Q: How much turnover or staff is needed to scale an event decor company?
A: Start solos doing everything initially when smaller then transition to outsourcing installation/teardown labor plus speciality fabrication as demand increases. Hire an assistant then office admin prioritizing sales plus senior designer before general team members. Provide extensive training checklists documenting all best practices.

Q: What education is required to become an event decorator?
A: No formal education only portfolio is required. However, degrees in interior, graphic or floral design, provide beneficial aesthetics training. Volunteering venues, shadowing experts or interning studios gives experience plus connections that jumpstart credibility quicker when independent.

Q: How do I upsell additional products and services?
A: Casually mention enhanced options like chargers, specialty linens and uplighting when meeting about proposals. Highlighting unconsidered upgrade potential piques interest, boosting order values. Avoid hard selling but rather position extras as natural elegant complements to planned designs.

Q: When should I arrive to set up event decor?
A: Standard minimum window is four hours for DIY assembly of creations on site. However venue specifics like kitchen access timing, scheduled deliveries that dictate order of install or weather contingency plans may adjust optimal timing.

Q: What questions should I ask event clients initially?
A: Request event purpose, attendee demographics, desired aesthetics, colors, overall vision goals, key focal points, lighting needs and ambiance plus room layout, timing, rental vs purchase budget, the event flow/agenda and technical considerations like audio visual.

Q: How do you stay updated on modern event decor trends?
A: Follow influencers on Instagram and Pinterest showing latest tablescapes or solutions plus attend national conferences of associations like The Dressage Foundation. Subscribe to blogs, publications, browse rental catalogs and note what repeats each season adjusting your offerings accordingly over time.

Q: What skills make a good event decor coordinator?
A: Artistic vision, customer service excellence, budgeting prowess, negotiating rentals, spatial design talent, staff oversight abilities, contingency planning, problem solving instincts, managing on-site issues in real time positively along with tracking orders, billing, inventory etc.

Q: How do you make corporate event decor exciting?
A: Inject unexpected interactive elements like taking polaroid guest “selfie” photos displaying them on a memory board, provide personalized DIY drink stir sticks or let attendees write well wishes on linen napkins they take home for resonant memories beyond expected meetings.

Q: Why is lighting important for events?
A: Lighting instantly shifts ambiance between daytime business conferencing to elegant cocktail party to vibrant late night dancing due to impact on color perceptions, visibility, safety and highlighting central focal points appropriately from specific angles.

Q: What are trending wedding reception decor ideas?
A: Interactive food stations vs plated dining, bold colorful linens or table runners, marquee light installations, greenery organic elements, suspended decor overhead, shared appetizer styled grazing menus and creative signage like painted slates, fresh florals, bold neon, or bright up lighting ambient washes.

Q: What should you do with excess event decor and leftover materials?
A: First offer unused items to the host venue for donation transactions benefiting their community events. Otherwise local women’s shelter party supplies, nursing home craft resources, school theaters prop wardrobes or community theaters gladly reuse extras still in good condition.

Q: What skills from other industries transfer well into event decorating?
A: Retail visual merchandising showcases products advantageously. Hospitality customer service ethic and problem solving when issues arise. Technical event production people managing seamless operational logistics and inventory. Design ability to envision aesthetics, spatial layouts and creative focal points. Organization to map detailed plans then adapt flexibly.


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