Give guests a taste of their city at your next event!

Photo by Olive Photography

Whether it’s a bride-to-be who loves her hometown, a small business wanting to connect with the locals or a company planning a conference for some out-of-towners, incorporating a city into your event decor can make for an unforgettable event experience. Many people have emotional associations with certain places, so using iconic symbols from these places can evoke a sense of familiarity, giving your guests some talking points and the feeling of community. 

Stephanie and I absolutely love Toronto, so we decided to use it to showcase what we mean. Below are a few ways that you could incorporate your love for Toronto into your next event.

Table Names

Photo by Olive Photography

One of the easiest ways to showcase your favourite city is by using iconic locations such as buildings, parks or other attractions as your table names. I love using table names instead of numbers because it’s an great way to incorporate your theme into your table design. Here, we used favourite Toronto spots like Trinity Bellwoods Park, Gladstone Hotel, The Beaches, Molson Amphitheatre and The Skydomel. (Yes – we know The Skydome is now called The Rogers Centre) These signs were super easy to make and we used $1.49 Ikea frames that we spray painted silver as the holders. These frames work well because they are double sided, so the table names can be seen from any direction. You can apply these naming conventions to other aspects of your event such as naming your breakout groups at a conference or the various rooms that your event is taking place in.

Place Cards

Photo by Olive Photography

Often caterers request that you differentiate your place cards in some way to show what meal was ordered to speed up service. We stay away from the colour coded place cards as you never know what kind of lighting you will be dealing with during dinner service and some of the servers may be colourblind. Instead we opt for symbols. To incorporate Toronto into these place cards we used common Toronto symbols to represent each meal choice. The streetcar indicated they had chosen the salmon, the CN Tower was the vegetarian option and the Bautista bat flip symbol was used for the steak option. These symbols were all very dissimilar, making it easy for the servers to distinguish between them.

Photo by Olive Photography

Get your Guests Involved

Photo by Olive Photography

Involving your guests in some sort of activity during the event can leave lasting impressions on them well after it is over. We incorporated Toronto history into this activity using postcards. We created a guest book by setting up postcards of Toronto throughout the decades on empty picture frames and on the table. Guests were asked to leave advice for the bride and groom and “send” the postcard to them by placing it in the vintage style mailbox. For other types of events, you could ask guests to write feedback on a presentation, a favourite memory or simply best wishes for the guest(s) of honour. Guests will love looking through these “time capsule” images and picking the one that speaks to them the most.

Photo by Olive Photography

Other ways to stay with this city theme is to serve local craft beers from that city, traditional dishes and locally sourced food.

Want to focus on another city? Go for it! These ideas can be adapted to fit just about any city. Get creative and have fun with it!

-Melanie

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