Even though an event usually only lasts a few hours—that fly by once you’re in them—the planning and preparation can take weeks or months. The way the guests remember those events, however, can be determined within the first few seconds. That is why the first impression is so important and should be considered during the planning and design stages of the event, whether you are planning a baby shower for a friend, your own wedding or a corporate event with your company.
First Impressions Are Lasting Impressions
According to a study on first impressions shared in 2011, it is almost impossible to change a first impression.
When spending the time to plan and execute an event, you of course want it to be a lasting experience for guests. While the entrance and first impression will stay with your guests, it is also true that details matter, especially when it comes to a business event. Ben Nazario of Sparks explains:
“More and more attendees are absorbing the events by the smaller details in particularly forming an opinion, more so than the overall grandness of the event.”
As you plan the details of an event—from catering to photography to entertainment—you can use the space to make the grand entrance and then let guests take in the smaller details as the night goes on. That way, the first impression is the grand reveal of the space, with the new experiences throughout the event ‘becoming “bound” to the context in which that first impression was made’ (to reference the study above).
In simpler terms, if someone does not enjoy the space, but loved the food and the entertainment at your event, they could walk away saying that they didn’t enjoy the event overall. “I loved the food and entertainment, but I didn’t like how everything looked when we walked in,” could easily be their lasting impression. That first grand entrance sets the tone for the event.
How Spaces Set The Tone For The Event
You can learn a lot about setting the tone for an event—or space—from hotels. If you’ve ever been to the Venetian on the Las Vegas strip, for example, you may associate your walk through the hotel with the scent of roses. There is a reason for that. According to Bloomberg, there is a reason hotels use strong fragrances in their buildings: the first impression. The article shares that scent is the primary sense in children until the age of 10, making it the “superman of our senses.”
“According to Mandarin Oriental’s branding specialists, hotel guests remember what they smell two times longer and more vividly than what they see or hear.”
So the first part of that grand entrance? Smell. Setting an event—or the entrance to an event—in a garden, for example, is a great way to make a grand reveal. Not only are guests seeing the beautiful colors and taking in the landscape, but those fragrant flowers are helping to create a lasting memory, as well. If you think gardens are only for weddings, think again: sometimes thinking outside of the box and switching up venues can bring unexpected results (in the best way possible).
Another way to make a lasting impression on guests is by the color of the space. Going back to the senses, the sense of sight and certain colors have been found to affect our moods. Because our senses work together, Wexler Events points out that “some hues have an intense power to recall sounds, smells, textures, and other sensations.”
Using the psychology of color, we can see that blues and greens—back to those colors found in nature—are some of the most pleasing, especially for events. Using the natural space right outside of a building is great or, using flower arrangements at the entrance, can help boost the first impression. For an event with more drama, red and purple make great colors to utilize (in moderation) inside of the space.
It is important to not lose sight of the space itself in this process. Facility Manager Magazine shares that there is a psychology to the space, as well, and the size and shape of the room being used plays into that. “Put simply, if you want to impact positively on the emotional reaction of visitors to your venue then psychology suggests the curvy rooms and furniture are the way to go.” In the case of an event, finding a room that isn’t boxy and complementing the space with use of tables, chairs and other furniture—some events can even utilize bench seating or couches—can help make the room more visually appealing and create the perfect experience psychologically.
Whether you are planning a one-time event for a friend or event planning is in your job description, that first impression and the grand reveal should be part of your process. We created Spacesift for all of you.
With Spacesift, you can see photos and video of an event space so when you are looking at your options, you are able to get a sense of what it feels like to be in the space and can consider what the grand entrance will be like for guests. Thinking about that early on can help you make a final decision about a space so you know that guests will have a positive lasting impression.