In simple terms, an experiential event is one that seeks to immerse guests in an experience. It’s not an event you simply attend and observe. By engaging all the senses, it can be experienced on several levels, creating more impact and making it more memorable for everyone involved.
There are five senses:
Some of these might feel easier to engage than others. For example, taste. Chances are, you will feed your guests and serve a few drinks. Sight is another one. We tend to give a lot of thought to how things will look. The others might need more consideration. Here are a few ideas to help you engage the senses and elevate your guest experience:
When it comes to wedding music, people often focus on three things – the music during the ceremony, their first dance and the evening entertainment. These are important, but there are also plenty of other opportunities to use music throughout your celebration. For example, while people are arriving, during a drink reception or throughout the wedding breakfast. Live music engages both our sight and hearing. There are other ways to incorporate audio visual elements on your wedding day too such as screening a film or sharing a slide show of photographs.
In some venues, you can use music to ‘zone’ the space and create a different atmosphere in each area. For example, during an evening reception, you might want to have a more peaceful, chilled out spot for people to relax while people are dancing to the louder, more upbeat tunes in another room.
Scent, emotion and memory are intertwined. A familiar smell can immediately transport us back to a particular place or time in our lives. As well as choosing your own signature wedding perfume or aftershave, you might want to consider scenting your venue with candles or diffusers. You could also give scented wedding favours to your guests.
Jane at The Scent Styling Company can help you pair a scent to your wedding day and offers "Talking Scents" sessions to help couples wanting to scent their wedding. She has also designed an 18 month wedding planner that incorporates how to scent your own wedding and that is available on Amazon.
Alternatively, Jo Malone offers a Wedding Consultation in their boutiques where you can discover and explore the different ways to scent your wedding using their products.
As I said, taste is quite an easy sense to engage on your wedding day as serving food and drinks is usually a given. However, you can add impact by incorporating personal touches that tell a story. Think about the inspiration for your menu. Maybe you could serve a dish you originally sampled on your first overseas trip together. Or perhaps your signature cocktail could evoke where your proposal took place.
Mixing textures within your wedding styling not only engages touch, but it also adds to the overall look and feel of your day. Wedding Stylist Nikki Sherriff of Knots & Kisses has a great blog post about how to add texture to your wedding.
Although I’ve focussed on weddings throughout this piece, my advice can be applied to all kinds of events. Whatever you’re planning, focussing on the senses will ensure you create something truly special for your guests.
Still not sure where to start? Benessamy can help! We have plenty of experience planning immersive, experiential events. Discover our Wedding Planning Services, Party Planning Services or get in touch to arrange a consultation. You can also read more about creating an incredible guest experience via the links below:
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