By: Bob Brichmann
Considering adding that lounge look for your wedding reception? It’s cool. It’s modern. It’s relaxing. It opens up that nebulous space for your guests between the seated dining area and the dance floor. It rocks!
It’s no longer a trend. It’s become a staple for many weddings. Obviously your guest numbers, room size, layout and budget all weigh in on whether the lounge factor can happen. But consider this: It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event and you want it to be a beyond memorable experience for yourself and your family and friends. It’s a show…and you should show off!
“It offers that night club or living room feel. It adds a conversation area…a transition between dinner and dancing…it keeps people hanging around and is a great addition to a party,” states Clint Griggs, President of Lounge Appeal. The lounge look is not new to special events, but it has gained great popularity with weddings in recent years. It appeals to the modern bride and groom who like to go out to clubs and dance, drink and chill with friends throughout the evening. Many clubs offer that relaxed living room atmosphere with cool ambiente lighting that trendy, hip couples gravitate toward.
It’s a visual décor aspect that also links that space between the traditional dinner table area and the dance floor. For those that don’t dance as the evening unfolds but still want to follow the action and party, it’s a good resting vantage point.
“It loosens families and friends up and helps break the ice. The setting helps stimulate conversation. It’s a great place to rest before dinner, between courses and throughout the dance time,” explains Karen Kluchonic, Sales Director with Plush Lounge.
It’s generally a clean, contemporary, modern look. Room size and space weigh in on the amount of furniture you choose. Of course, your budget impacts this, too. Experts agree, the generally recommended set up is either around the dance floor or the bar area. A smaller grouping might cover a 20’x20’ or 30’x30’ space. This might include a leather sofa, maybe a leather ottoman and a couple of cubed acrylic tables. You can increase the volume of seating based on your space. There are curved couches, lamps and various accessories to help make the area look more relaxed, yet cool. “There’s lots of potential with LED lighting. The clear tables can each have a battery operated, low power light inside that’s run by remote control. You can change the colors throughout the night or offer a more neutral option. Amber is most popular these days,” shares Haydee and Federico Alderete from Concepts Event Design. Sometimes the lighting matches the event colors. It could offer a soft, contemporary look mimicking an urban lounge. Couples will occasionally dial in on a theme for their event so the lighting matches the 80’s vibe or the 70’s disco feel. The LED units can have gels added to augment the standard red, green and blue offerings. Take advantage of the lounge furniture experts as you plan your room layout. Yes, your coordinator and hotel or catering manager can give good advice, but the people in the know are the décor people who do this every week. They know the latest trends and what’s most popular and efficient for events. They have endless sample pictures and some even have demo showrooms.
“The contemporary look is huge, but we’re starting to see a merging of looks with a vintage feel. We’re coupling with florists and adding florals into the clear acrylic end tables,” says Jack Weiner, owner of kool. Party Rentals. “Couples are asking for a mix of white and clear acrylics…furniture with upholstery, fabrics and vinyl appliqués. We’ve got great new candelabras that bridge the gap between the modern and contemporary looks,” adds Weiner. Many brides and grooms are remembering the vintage, antique look from mom and dad or their grandparent’s homes. This concept is now creeping into the lounge look, too. It’s reminding people of that postmodern King Louis XV period look. “The Victorian, antique feel is becoming popular. Couches with huge, wooden clawed feet…wooden tables and benches…tufted fabrics, buttons, whitewash…a shabby chic. It’s much warmer and I think more elegant,” share the Alderetes. There’s even talk of a waterfall trend being added to receptions. We’ve all seen it. It’s that stylish wall of water with almost a Feng shui feel to it…a calming effect and visual, not unlike the backyard fountain where you sit and read in the early evening. “Colors will be huge. White is huge now, but it’s been done. Watch for exotics like lime and hot pink suede…an out of the norm statement. Look for sectional seating and mixing and matching different designs…almost puzzle-like,” offers Griggs.
How To Budget and Shop For Lounge
The lounge look has almost become an expected fixture for events. On the low end, you might budget in the $500.00 to $1000.00 range. Again, your room space dictates how much furniture and lounge décor you can add. You won’t get much on the low end, but you can make a small splash. “You actually can see value with larger orders. The biggest expense on our end is the labor. Once they are scheduled to deliver and set-up, we can value-add to your package with additional items,” explains Kluchonic. As with many wedding vendors, there is stiff competition. How do you wade through the sea of choices? When you go to a wedding for a friend and you like what they designed for their décor, ask them whom they used. It’s pretty simple. Ask your coordinator or facility who they refer. The San Diego wedding market is very tight-knit. Wedding vendors often network together to build business and help steer brides and groom into making the right choices to help their event succeed. Tap into your wedding vendors and see whom they like. “Find companies who will work with your vision so it turns into the day you dream of,” advises Weiner. Be informed. Look at all the options. Plan ahead and visualize the layout. The lounge factor might just be the bow on top of your event!