These days, so many of the experiences we encounter in our everyday lives have been customised or personalised to suit our preferences and behaviours. So, when it comes to organising or hosting events a bit closer to home, there's no reason you can't create highly tailored experiences for friends and family, too.
Whatever your next event is, perhaps a birthday party, baby shower, engagement party, christening, end-of-year function or Christmas lunch with friends, personalised touches will make your guests feel incredibly special. Making it individual will leave a lasting impression and have people raving about your event for years to come.
A personal touch doesn't have to be homemade or look unprofessional… and they definitely don't have to cost a small fortune, either. Particularly for intimate events, planning creatively, using your budget wisely and thinking through each aspect and how you'd like people to respond, will help you form a lovely, cohesive feel to your special occasion.
So, how do you add personal touches that won't feel overwhelming or forced? It's all about creating a multi-sensory atmosphere. See, hear, smell, taste and touch. Easy to remember and so important to every aspect of your event. Here are some ways to add beautiful, unique touches when planning your next event using every sense.
What you see is what you get
From the second your guests arrive, whether it's 10 people or 50, the first thing they'll notice is the room and how it's set up. Talk to your venue organisers about the style of event you're having and consider things like lighting, room layout and decorations such as candles, flowers or balloons.
Adding whimsical decorations around your venue is a lovely way to personalise what people can see. Use photos and props for styling to create your own unique look and feel – suitcases, maps, vases or even things like a jukebox, retro arcade game or foosball table will add to your theme and sense of fun. Your decorations can also be beautiful gifts for guests to take home – perhaps a photo of you and each guest with a personal note on the back, a hand drawn image of something special to you used on the event invitation or menu, or a custom flower arrangement from the table, boxed for special guests to take home.
After we see, we hear, so it's important to consider the ambiance and atmosphere of your space. Do you want background music playing throughout the event or will you have a band, DJ or soloist performing? Have a chat with your venue about acoustics and make sure you get the sound levels right – you don't want your guests leaving with ringing ears and a hoarse throat from having to yell over the music all night!
A personalised playlist is a great way to involve your guests – ask them to share their favourite songs for the event and later access them on a music sharing platform anytime they like. There may also be a moment during your event when you or your guests want to say a few words. Talk to your venue organisers about having speakers and a microphone ready to go. If you have a speech prepared or a memorable song to play, you might like to have the words printed for your guests to follow along with during the event or take home as a keepsake.
When you think of hosting a party, the last thing you probably consider is smell. But if you want to create an event that's memorable and personal, smell is actually one of the most important senses, because it's so linked to memory.
There are lots of ways to use scent for your special occasion – beautiful candles on tables and throughout your venue, diffusing essential oils, the smell of the food you'll serve and, of course, stunning flowers. Any of these can be given to your guests as a welcome gift or present at the end of the event. For small occasions, you could even consider gifting each person a signature perfume blend, essential oil roller, corsage or posy.
Nobody ever forgets the food
Whenever you talk to a friend or colleague about the last memorable event or party you attended, the conversation most likely turns to food – it's the thing so many people remember – especially how good (or not!) it was. Selecting a recognised venue for your special occasion and working with a chef or caterer committed to creating unique, seasonal dishes will ensure food full of flavour and vivid colour is served up to you and your guests. Having a personalised menu also puts your special touch on these details and shows those elements you truly value.
Try putting together a considered menu reflecting who you are, add in a signature cocktail, and think about how your food will be served. Maybe even incorporate a sense of fun for your guests, such as personalised chopsticks if you're serving sushi, an engraved cheese knife and crackers for the fromage fiends or, if you love an espresso martini, perhaps a classic cocktail glass to use then take home along with a bag of coffee beans.
A touching reminder
And finally, the most personal sense of all – touch. It's worth considering the more subtle tactile aspects of your event and chatting to your venue about things like linen, glassware, chair covers and special carpets that you can use to create a cohesive tangible experience for your guests.
Keeping each of the five senses in mind while you plan your next special occasion – whether it's a big party or an intimate gathering – will help create an event your guests, and you, will always remember. So… get organising – it's going to be the most memorable one yet!