Ideas and Inspiration


By William Fogler, principal and founder of WMEvents


  • “Put your money where it counts” - prioritize your budget based on visibility, interaction, and purpose.
  • Focus on entrance and front load events – get people excited about what they are about to experience.
  • Consider different catering styles and entertainment options for events.
  • Remember table décor and perimeter décor (drapery, plants, stage sets, step and repeats, etc.)


  • Think of the complete package to complement your entire event – linens, menus, programs, table numbers, gifts, etc.
  • For Georgia Tech, remember additional themes of innovation, technology, athletics, architecture, Atlanta, etc.
  • Always place logo behind/in front of speaker for photo opportunities.


  • Lighting can really make an impact for any event.
  • Consider washes, uplighting, gobos, candles, wireless battery-powered lights, etc.


  • Always create a run of show to ensure you are accurately forecasting the event.
  • Understand your audience – How long are their attention spans? Why are they there?


  • Search thrift stores or antique outlets for décor.
  • Shop locally – consider Ikea or Richard’s Variety Store.
  • Look online – Paper Mart or Asian Imports.

Ideas to Bring New Vitality to Traditional Annual Events

Let Your Caterers Get Creative

  • Caterers love to create and cook, so let them do what they do best. Ask if you can participate in a tasting where they create samplings of all their new spring creations.
  • Perhaps they can also tailor the menu to something specific to a current event or the event itself (i.e. farm-to-table fare, dishes germane to the region you are in or are special to the host, foods that follow a color scheme, etc.).

Experiment with Different Centerpieces

  • A bubble bowl of hydrangea or tulips can always be a go-to, but why not have an edible centerpiece serve as your dessert?
  • Or, a container filled with programs/goodies that can be given out at the event’s end?
  • You can also incorporate photos, mementos, and other visual cues into your centerpieces or tables to reinforce the purpose and goals of your event.

Add Audio-Visual Components

  • Could you incorporate a slideshow into your event to help recognize your guests or tell a story of how the winners were selected?
  • Perhaps you could show video clips of students, faculty, or staff thanking others.
  • Could you consider lowering the lights on the floor and illuminating the stage, creating a theater effect?
  • Can the event be webcast so family and friends can participate from afar?
  • Can you incorporate musical interludes into your event? Our student music groups would love the exposure, and this can create a wonderful ambience.

Create Social Media Components

  • For an annual student awards luncheon, perhaps you can create buzz on Facebook or Twitter by showcasing the students’ path to receiving the award.
  • You can upload videos of the students’ friends or professors discussing what it takes to receive certain awards and showcase the student recipients and their reactions to winning the awards.
  • Photos of the event can be showcased on Flickr afterward and easily uploaded by the recipients.
  • In addition, ensure your website is mobile accessible – most will gather info about the event from their smart phones.