Where to Find Event Planning Trends and Inspiration
Like any creative industry, event planning is influenced by seasonal trends. One year, your clients might want gourmet cupcakes instead of a full cake for their toddler’s birthday because they saw the idea on a ‘mommy blog’. The next year, parents might gush about the ‘cake smash’ pictures they found on Pinterest instead. Event planners can keep track of popular trends in many different ways. Your clients will be happiest with an event that is unique and exciting but also keeps up with the latest craze. Staying on top of new trends, or even predicting what will be popular before it catches on, is essential for success.
Using the following resources can help you organize events that are both stylish and unique. These resources can help you determine which decorations, themes, foods, activities, and venues are ‘hot’ right now, which ones have become passé, and which might be the next big thing.
Websites, blogs, social networks, and online ‘pin boards’ are convenient for tracking trends in event planning. You can access these electronic resources anywhere that you have a wireless or data connection and a smart phone, tablet, or computer. For most planners, online resources are the most useful tool for seeking inspiration and tracking trends.
Most online resources used by event planners have subscription or notification settings, letting you track posts related to specific trends or event elements. Have you noticed a particular party theme rising in popularity? You can track how often posts about that theme are made. You can also use hashtags to search particular event elements to see which ones are ‘in’ right now and get inspiration. The ideas you gather are accessible any time to show your client or refer to while you plan. Check out these online resources and think about how they might be useful for event planners who want to stay ahead of the times.
Online ‘pin boards’ like Pinterest are useful for seeking inspiration, organizing your ideas in one place, and keeping track of trends. Search categories let you look at which event elements are posted about most often, giving you an idea of what’s in style. Picture browsing and links let you see examples of other events to get inspiration or avoid trends that are ‘over done’. Pinterest lets you save pictures and information into categories by saving websites that you find into a specific ‘board’. Remember, however, that Pinterest itself is quite trendy, so some ideas there are recycled and have been done many times.
Check out this pin board for baby shower ideas by catchmyparty.com to see how useful Pinterest can be! Not interested in planning a baby shower? Try Martha Stewart’s board for wedding hair ideas instead. Try your own Pinterest searches and see what you can find!
There are hundreds of event planning blogs, many of which are well respected. Reading a reputable blog can help you track which trends other planners have tried, liked, or disliked. Pay attention to which things are posted about often, which things are rarely posted about, and what seems to be making its way into popularity. While searching blogs, however, be sure to verify the information in each post. Remember that anyone can write a blog, whether they’re a professional or not.
Do a search for event blogs and see how many different resources are at your finger tips. While you’re at it, check out The Endless blog and Preppy Chic to see how event planning blogs can differ greatly but still give you inspiration and a good idea of what’s trending.
Online even planning magazines are accessible from all over the world. You might find a neat new trend that is popular in the UK but hasn’t caught on yet in North America. Many reputable event planning magazines have online issues that can be accessed from anywhere. Keep in mind, however, that online magazine subscriptions cost money.
Take a look at the online content posted by Special Events magazine. You can already see how a subscription to their full electronic issues can help you track trends in a very accessible way.
Facebook groups or planner’s forums
Social networking groups and forums can be extremely useful for seeking feedback from and exchanging ideas with other event planners. You might consider serving a trendy new appetizer at your next event but then see a post on a forum where another professional recommends against it. Because social networks are interactive, you can engage with that person to learn why their experience was negative and make an informed decision. You might also seek advice and support about staying inspired and keeping ahead of trends, or provide support to others.
Local newspapers and magazines
Local magazines and newspapers from your area can give you a good idea of the types of events happening in your community. This will help you track which trends local planners are following. You can then assess what your clients might like based on their neighbor’s events and also what you can do to make their event unique. Printed magazines are available on an international scale, but they cost money to subscribe to and order. Local publications might be available for free and will give you a “home grown” perspective.
Workshops and conferences
Attending workshops and conferences gives you amazing networking opportunities. You’ll be able to network with other professionals and gain some insight into where they seek their inspiration and how they deal with rapidly changing trends. Workshops and conferences are a chance to learn and improve your skills.
Tradeshows are an opportunity to network with vendors from your area, or from around the world if the show is very large. You can browse the different products and services being offered to gather new ideas and get a feel for what types of food, decoration, activity and so on are ‘in style’. If you are the only professional from your area who attends a tradeshow, you might be the first to try something new in your area that other planners haven’t thought of yet!
Curious about tradeshows? Read this: The best tradeshows for event planners.
Local events or events you attend
Professional event planners seek inspiration and gather ideas wherever they go. Even when you are an attendee, you can use that experience to inform your next planning process. Which parts of the event inspired you that you’d like to try? Were there variations on a popular trend that you enjoyed? Were there things that you would avoid? Try not to spend your leisure time concentrating on work, but remember that you can learn from any event.
If you keep an open mind about your planning process, you’ll find that inspiration can come from just about anywhere. This outlook, combined with a good idea of current trends, will help you stay creative in your planning.