Corporate and Special Event Planning

Finding Your Inspiration

Finding Your Inspiration
To many of my friends and people who don’t know me I may appear to be creative but the reality of it is that I am just really good at stealing other people’s ideas. In scrapbooking it’s called scraplifting. In event planning I’m not sure what the formal name is for it other than “stealing a great idea and making it better”. 
When I am asked to plan an event I do my research. I read a lot but most importantly I look at pictures. I love photographs. I am inspired by photographs. When I put together a proposal for a client I include a page of inspirational photographs, ideas I have found while doing my research that I am using to inspire the look for their event. It doesn’t mean we are going to copy the images we found, it just means we are using those photographs to give us ideas. 
In the wedding industry brides are using inspiration boards to create their dream day. Brides have actually done this for years but it used to be in the form of a binder, a binder busting with magazine clips and images. Now brides are encouraged to post their vision up on the wall so they see it all the time and stay focused on their vision.
Pinterest is a virtual inspiration board. Brides use it to plan their weddings; event planners, like me, use it to research new ideas and every day “Joes” use it to come up with DIY ideas for their home. 
I have so many friends who say they are not creative. I used to think I wasn’t either until I started scrapbooking. I quickly learned that it was ok to borrow an idea and make it your own. Look through magazines for ideas you love and then study it. Look in the background, look at the colours, look at the overall concept and think about how you can recreate it for your own use.
Let’s use an image as an example. I’m going to use event decorating as an example. My weakness as an event planner is decorating. I can organize just about anything in my head. I can run schedules, know where everyone has to be at any given moment for something to work but to come up with a creative decorating idea…that’s almost impossible for me without an inspiration piece to work with. So let’s see, I have a soft spot for garden parties this year so let’s use one of those.
Here is an image I love that I found on Pinterest. If I had been asked to plan an event in an apple orchard I would not have thought of this in a million years. I probably would have thought about putting up a tent near the entrance to the orchard and just having the orchard as a background or used it in activity for the event. Instead this photograph shows us how to use the orchard as the event. Set up a table or 10 right down the middle of the orchard. 
One of my problems is that I never push things far enough. I love simple and clean. But here in this image you can see how adding an old pot of flowers gives the area more colour and an added punch. And I certainly would never have thought to hang anything from the trees. If I had I would have hung lanterns. It looks like they hung quilting squares which are the perfect feel for a fall apple orchard event. What a warm and cozy feel that would give it. You would feel like you were wrapped up in a warm quilt lying on your couch.
Did you notice the log or barrel the flowers are sitting on? I would never have thought to raise the flowers. I can guarantee I would have placed the bucket on the ground. Now when I am placing flowers around an area, even at home, I am certain I will think about how I can make it more dramatic by placing it on something instead of just on the floor.
What other details make this event perfect? The wooden table instead of a plastic one, mismatched chairs, cushions on the chairs. What about the huge bouquet of flowers on the table or the blue glasses? Did you notice the apples perfectly placed on each place setting, with the leaves still on them?
Which piece of this inspiration would push you to set your dinner table differently?

Julia O’Grady has big vision, fresh ideas and a proven track record in the events industry. She and her team work hard to exceed client expectations and push ITM Events to achieve greater heights. A driven entrepreneur, Julia also manages the business side of ITM Events including human resources, finances, marketing and writing grant and sales proposals. In taking a high level approach to event management, Julia is able to visualize a project from inception to successful execution. She attracts valuable sponsors by offering meaningful opportunities to engage with participants. Julia uses her keen analytical mind to create incredible events that maximize the available budget. When Julia isn’t planning unforgettable events, she loves travelling the world with her family, staying active, and enjoying fine food and martinis.

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