Selecting the right decor or theme for your event can go a long way when it comes to first impressions.
Upon arrival at the event, you have seconds to make the right impression on your guests. Your guests will either be excited at what the night holds or make the decision to just make it through.
While you can certainly theme your gala, it is not necessary.
What is absolutely necessary is an incredible first impression.
There are multiple ways to achieve that goal and I am going to give you just a few things to be on the lookout for.
Entrance. How is the entrance to your event marked? Make sure you have clear signage on where the event is being held so all guests have an easy time locating the event.
Foyer/Lobby. This is where your main first impression occurs. Consider this your "wow" moment. You can achieve this through special lighting, signage, balloons, flowers and more.
Event space. A really fun way to launch the evening is by keeping the ballroom doors closed until 15 minutes prior to the start of the event. Have the servers open all doors at the same time to boost that feeling of anticipation. You can have a string quartet or pianist playing upon entry if you really want to take things up a notch.
Stage. A large floral arrangement on or next to the stage can give the event a very classy appearance as well.
Uplights. Uplighting can be used to bring in your school colors while allowing the house lights to be kept at a lower setting.
Here is a special tip... take a tour of the hotel public spaces. If you see plants or decor in those public spaces that would be perfect for your decor... ask to borrow it! Many times, hotels are more than willing to share what they have for free.
Hopefully these thoughts generated some ideas for you. Happy planning!