ME Trends

November 22, 2011


Planners have a reliable set of tools for incorporating a theme into an event – food and beverage, music, graphics and décor. However, sometimes the traditional just doesn’t cut it and something dramatic is required. Few things deliver a theme like incorporating professional actors into an event.

Actors in costume bring an event concept to life in front of guests’ eyes. To keep costs down, planners should look for reputable, local production companies that have recently staged a play close to their theme. This often will mean costumes have already been created and actors may be readily available to reprise their roles. If a local company doesn’t have the theme at the ready, it is still worth consulting with them about actors and costumes.

Once you have the actors signed on, ask them to prepare very short vignettes that can be done with minimal to no amplification. Ask for simple interactions with guests that can occur throughout the event. To use the drama to its fullest, map out the evening making note of when each vignette should happen, where actors should be and what types of guest-actor interactions are ideal at various points throughout the evening. Acting during an event and not on-stage can present some challenges. However, the fun of drama is sure to be the highlight of the event.


The holidays bring out the kid in all of us. However, event planners are finding that bringing out the kid all year long is an increasingly popular event strategy. Planners can free the inner child through activities, venues, menu choices, graphics and more.

Consider asking the caterer to prepare a menu of grown-up versions of your favorite childhood foods. Items such as mini-burgers with creamier cheeses, sloppy Joes with Kobe beef, macaroni and cheese with lobster and milkshakes with a kick are a good start. For dessert, consider a candy cart or bar filled with an assortment of retro candies or fresh cotton candy in exotic flavors.

Venues also can bring out the kid at heart. Planners should consider locations they loved as a kid, such as science and transportation museums; whimsical spaces such as the City Museum and Magic House in St. Louis or the Wonderscope in Kansas City; or fun-for-everyone spaces such as amusement parks. Almost any venue can work if a planner takes the time to see it through the eyes of a child. The inner child will happily come out with the right décor and activities. Something as simple as vases of crayons, Legos or matchbox cars can engage guests. If you need inspiration or something custom created, check out Jellio (, a design company that brings the whimsy of childhood into everything it creates.

Parties in the arts community have found fun ways to bring out the budding child artist in guests through various activities. Paint-by-number murals can be outlined on walls, canvases or even buses, allowing guests to channel the inner finger-painter.  One of the most outrageously fun be-a-kid-again activities is the World’s Largest Rocking Horse. This fully functioning rocking ride, built with family fun and holiday spirit in mind, will have guests in awe as they rock the night away. The World’s Largest Rocking Horse is available nationwide through Artificial Ice Events, and makes an amazing photo op for every adult who is ready to be a kid again.


Spend more than five minutes on the Internet and chances are you will see a great idea for an upcoming event. Perhaps it is a center-piece you want to share with a client, an image to show a graphic designer for an invitation, or a food that you want a favorite caterer to recreate. Or maybe you are a visual thinker and have an event concept that is stumping you.

Pinterest could be the answer. Pinterest is a virtual pin board. It is a great complement to the numerous event planner and vendor blogs that are available across the Internet. Pinterest allows members to save and share the various visuals they find online. Best of all, it allows members to organize these items into pin boards for each topic. Event planners can have pin boards for centerpiece concepts, food, favors, ways to display place cards, trade show booth designs or whatever their specific needs may be.

Once on Pinterest, members also can search through other members’ boards. It is an amazing way to find inspiration and ideas for overcoming an event challenge.  Also, by inviting various team members or clients to join Pinterest, once you find possible solutions for event challenges, they can be shared via tagging to get a brainstorm session rolling.

Pinterest is free and growing rapidly. Its organization, sharing and research options have many becoming Pinterest fans. Visit for more information.

About the author

The MEET® Family of Publications

The MEET® Family of Publications produces regional and national publications that keep corporate, association, medical, education, independent, and religious meeting and event planners informed about relevant industry suppliers, news, tech innovations, and resources that impact and influence how and where they plan their upcoming company function(s).