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Tips & Tricks for Event Decor | Interview with Kayla O’Brien and Scott Connery of Exquisite Events Decor | Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast 

Today on Wedding Secrets Unveiled!, we have a special treat for you! Kayla O’Brien and Scott Connery of Exquisite Events Decor are here to teach you about the “cherry on top” of wedding planning! Exquisite Events Decor has been a powerhouse in the wedding industry for the past 20 years, and Kayla and Scott have tips and tricks about how hiring a bespoke decor company can provide you and your guests with a luxurious wedding experience and wedding designs! From drapery and aerial accents to custom escort walls, a decor company could be the missing piece between your vision and hosting a wedding beyond your wildest dreams! 

Tips & Tricks for Event Design: how to create personalized wedding designs with Exquisite Events Decor on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Meet Kayla and Scott.

Exquisite Events is based in Narragansett, Rhode Island. We work alongside florists, planners, photographers, and entertainment and other general wedding vendors that you’d hire. We like to consider ourselves the cherry on top! What we do is a little unique and niche in terms of a business. We create a design that’s personalized to our clients’ style and aesthetic, then come in to design and stage any space they’re in – from a tent, ballroom, gazebo, or the backyard.  Exquisite Events isn’t limited to weddings – in the last 20 years, we’ve dabbled in corporate events and other celebrations, too! The options are endless. 

When I say we enhance spaces, we transform them with items like draping lighting, specialty furniture and so on. While we’re not a mass rental furniture company, we do have unique pieces that can create memorable moments in your space. 

I love that you said you’re the cherry on top! The sky’s the limit. So, tell me about how this process goes. 

Of course! When we start with a new client, we bring them into our office for a brainstorming session. It allows us to understand their style and what they envision for their wedding day. It’s funny because some people come in and have a specific idea of what they want. Others have no idea. It’s okay either way – we’ll sit down and go over lots of photographers. We create specific designs from all of that brainstorming that allows their personalities to shine through and make their celebration into an event. 

But, as far as the process goes: first a brainstorming session then putting together a wish list. We then take the wish list and turn it into a design story. The design story isn’t just one specific element. It’s a whole cohesive design. It’s really about the process of getting to know the couple, their loves, and their wishes. As a designer, it’s fun to take all of those ideas and create something that the couple never dreamed was possible for their special day. 

Tips & Tricks for Event Design: how to create personalized wedding designs with Exquisite Events Decor on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

What makes Exquisite Events different from other decor companies? 

So I would have to say, with so much pride behind this, that over the past few years, we’ve really built a very impressive, hardworking, connected management staff. We have different levels of management – from sales to event managers and lead designers. It’s pretty impressive to me: there’s so many people you get to work with and we have received such great feedback about everyone. We’re working with clients for over a year sometimes, creating their designs – making them specific and fabulous. Then it gets moved to the operational sides of things. They help us really figure out the limitations, time requirements, and so much more for those events. 

That’s such an interesting and important point: the timeline! I didn’t even think about that. 

It’s not just us: it’s vendors that will now have to come in after us. We might create a structure for florists to then come in and add flowers to the design, which is time consuming. Tables have to be put out – we can’t be moving a 12 foot ladder around the space if that has to happen, you know? There’s just so many moving parts. It can definitely be a little chaotic. But, our team has worked out so many of those kinks over the years to create a very impressive order of operations. We’re not a click and buy company. We’re considered a luxury experience and we really provide that. 

Can you tell me about the trends you’re seeing this year with the designs you’re creating? 

One trend that is progressing more and more are escort walls. If you’re not familiar with that, it’s your place card display and how you present your seating arrangements for your guests. When I first started, a lot of the time, you’d just see cards sitting on a table. But now, they’re much more interactive. 

We’re having so much fun with that because we get to think outside the box! Some are double sides – and some are more involved, like ringing a bell and being handed a cocktail through the wall. It’s just really fun. As a quick tip: if you do something like this, don’t place it right in the doorway or entrance of your reception. It will cause a backlog of people waiting to experience the design! Creating these designs is interesting – it can highlight something special about the couple or match exciting decor elements of your party. Have it be personable and memorable. 

Tips & Tricks for Event Design: how to create personalized wedding designs with Exquisite Events Decor on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

It sets the tone and interactive is so fun! What else are you seeing? 

So I think something else that we’re seeing a lot of for the upcoming season is the simple fact that couples like to be different. Clients don’t want their wedding days to look like anyone else’s and they want them to be unique, which we totally understand. It’s also possible to find a trend you like and really make it your own, too. People are really getting creative when it comes to aesthetics – like adding wallpaper to a bar setup or mixing wicker chairs with an antique chandelier. More creativity is definitely trending! 

Clients of ours also want to bring in what’s not expected, like bringing the outdoors into the ballroom or making a tent look like their living room. It’s cozy and a photo opportunity. They want to bring in something fun and think outside the box. 

It’s amazing how lights or drapes can change a whole space. 

Absolutely. I mean, you could have the hottest day in July in a tent. But adding fabric drapes can give you what I call mental warmth. It’s soft and romantic. You don’t need the physical warmth on that hot day – but there’s nothing like feeling cozy and less like you’re in a tent. 

The other thing is that when it comes to tents – you’re getting a blank canvas, literally. Someone without a lot of design background might feel overwhelmed. They don’t know where to start or how to create things. We start with the bones and build from there. It’s all about enhancing the environment, softening the tent and adding the correct amount of lighting. We turn this tent structure into more of a venue.

Tips & Tricks for Event Design: how to create personalized wedding designs with Exquisite Events Decor on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Talk to me a little bit more about lighting. 

Well, as you know as a photographer, lighting is key. It’s key to any event because lighting can transform the entire event. We always want light to enhance the designs – whether it’s booster lighting, string lighting, or even just twinkle lights. When it comes to tent designs, we actually start with light and build off of it because it’s what people are going to be looking at. When it’s done right, you’ve got a beautiful warm feeling and well-lit space. 

So you feel like lighting can be a good starting point if someone doesn’t know where to start? 

It’s definitely a major starting point for event designs. There’s so much to consider with lighting – including the linens and what it will reflect or how it will brighten the space. It really just ties into the whole event, from day to night. Creating something special helps our couples get excited about lighting features! No one really thinks about or dreams about the light they want – but it does set a vibe, so it’s important to choose something that will make the couple happy and bring the space to life. 

I get that. We’ve walked into the same venue on the same weekend, but it feels like a totally different space because of how someone chose to light it. 

I agree – and think that lighting is a priority when starting your design process. The type of lighting matters. You don’t want to be in a tent with pitch black light in the evening. Lighting is functional. 

Tell us about color palettes you’re seeing right now! 

We do a lot of events in Rhode Island and Massachusetts – which lends itself to coastal weddings. I like blues and whites personally. But splashes of color can really make an impact. Sometimes people are afraid of color. But, if you just sit with us – you’re going to walk out the door loving color! I don’t think there’s a trend right now, but we’re seeing yellows and peaches. 

Tips & Tricks for Event Design: how to create personalized wedding designs with Exquisite Events Decor on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Pantone’s color of the year is peach, so that’s not surprising! What are staple colors that you use a lot? 

I think a lot of the staple colors for at least our location are a lot  of blue and white. We’re also getting a lot of greens and whites, more organic and natural. I think the blue and white evokes that coastal feeling. I see that couples do the blue and white in their attire and decor and then bring peach and pink tones in with the flowers. People are definitely loving color more and I love opening their eyes to different shades and hues to be excited about. Next thing you know, they’re falling in love with a lot of really fun colors they never imagined being used in their designs. 

I love it. Can you take me through the process of designing an event? 

When we’re creating an event and designing it, our whole process hinges on connecting with our client first. We want to learn their vision, aesthetic, and about their personal life. It’s important to us to bring your personality to the design. We look at photos together and decide what you like. We specialize in taking a vision and transferring it to whatever your venue is. So, we’ll start with the aerial design – lighting or ceiling installations you might want. How can we be a part of that or provide rigging options for your florist? Those kinds of things. 

We can also talk about your ceremony since we have arbors and benches that can be added to your layout. From there, we work on the flow for the rest of the evening. That’s how we like to set up our designs – to tell stories – and work from the ceiling of the tent all the way to the ground. It can be hard for clients to visualize what we’re speaking about, so it’s definitely a process that you have to trust. Use your imagination, get creative, and understand your space can be transformed. 

So, that’s why we like to set up those design stories as the flow of the evening because it translates these conversations that we have together. It gives them the visuals to kind of comprehend and digest. And then we typically set up a review call to start to comb through those items. We want to be sure you love every part of your design! 

So before the wrap up question, I have two questions for you all. First is: what excites you both?

What excites me is the first reaction that the client gives us when it comes to feedback on the design. When we put it into the story of the event, there’s so much excitement there. 

My biggest excitement is when we do our design checks and when we see the whole design come together. So you know what we’ll do as the event designers, after our managers are done setting up the design we created, we’ll go check it out and walk through it all. To me, it’s like the Super Bowl. It’s that moment that is like wow, this is exactly how I wanted to look for my clients.

What’s something that you’ve seen that’s stuck in your brain from a design standpoint?

I love when we create something, or build something that is specifically unique to the client. We love all of our inventory, but when we’re walking in and see something –  maybe it’s just a bar that we’ve transformed with a custom design or something, but I love those unique design elements. That’s what excites me the most. When a client takes a chance and lets you run with the design and build something, it’s exciting. 

Tips & Tricks for Event Design: how to create personalized wedding designs with Exquisite Events Decor on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

Wrap-Up Question

What are some key points that couples should be asking design companies when they are inquiring to make sure that they are working with a professional company to ensure that their wedding day is an absolutely perfect event?

Think about what is a priority for your day. What do you want the feeling to be? 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what services are included. Ask about lighting, furniture rentals, and staging. 

Do your research. Check out their social media and websites. Determine what you like about their work so you can talk to them about it! 

Tips & Tricks for Event Design: how to create personalized wedding designs with Exquisite Events Decor on Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

What We Discussed

Meet Kayla and Scott (2:19)

Personalized wedding designs (4:20)

Event trends for designs (10:00)

Lighting for weddings (25:12) 

Color trends for events in 2024 (29:48)

Wrap-Up Question (51:49)

Links Mentioned in the Episode

Find Exquisite Events at Website | Instagram | Pinterest | Facebook

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