Wedding Planning, Styling & Design: The 5 Senses, Design & How to ‘Feng Shui’ Your Venue

image(5)The 5 Senses

The five senses are extremely important in the design of an event, especially first impressions for the guests. The guests can be captured through every aspect of the day, as long as they are fully drawn in with all five senses.

The colour palette is essential in creating ambience and evoking emotion, whilst creating the basis of your wedding theme. For example; in the design of a spring wedding, utilizing and playing with a select few pastel colours (eg: peach, lilac, mint) can create a soft, romantic environment that feels fresh, bright and happy without being overpowering. The use of light, menu, and type of décor can then stem from this colour palette.








The lighting and visual aspect of the wedding can also help with the flow of the event, by using varying intensities of lighting around the venue. For example, soft and romantic lighting in the area where your guests will be seated for dinner, contrasted by brighter, more colourful and intense lighting o the dance floor. An excellent way to set the mood with lighting is through hiring a professional, who can work in sequence with a DJ, band or musician, varying the colours, pattern, speed an intensities of the lighting in rhythm with the music being played. The event flow can also be controlled by starting up the more intense dance floor lighting when you would like guests to dance, or creating softer mood lighting for the Bride and Groom’s first dance. The use of candles can also create a calm and romantic atmosphere.



In theme with the lighting, the music will also create a very specific type of atmosphere. The energy of the music will depict the energy of the guests. When the Bride walks down the aisle to a very slow, soft and romantic tune, the guests reflect upon this with their emotions. If the Bride chooses a more modern tune, that may be upbeat and lively, the guests will also feel more upbeat and have fun with it. This also goes for the music throughout the event, and it is important to keep a nice flow of music; creating movement and emotions through the different styles of music, whilst encouraging your guests to interact and engage with the event (other elements such as: photo booths, games and performances encourage interaction as well).

Moving on to touch, taste and smell – these senses also help the guests to feel welcomed, comfortable and interactive during the event. The décor that you use to design the event will encourage the sense of touch. For example, a very chic and glamorous wedding may use silks and velvets to create that effect, and may have les seating, and more cocktail tables to encourage socialising between guests. Whereas a rustic beach wedding may encourage guests to attend barefoot, feeling the sand between their toes, with lounge seating in the reception area to create a more relaxed and laid back environment.


Finally, the taste and smell. The taste can be portrayed through the food and drink served at the wedding. Serving a signature cocktail before the ceremony, or canapes and champagne immediately after, to the menu choice for the reception dinner – every aspect that your guests will taste should be well balanced on their palate (a nice mixture of different flavours through the day, from salty and sweet, to bitter and sour) and this is also another opportunity to convey the theme of the wedding. A beach wedding may have a low key barbeque on the sand, whereas a more cultural wedding may have dishes from the region (ie. A Moroccan wedding may have a variety of Moroccan dishes, which can be exciting and adventurous for guests who haven’t experienced this before, allowing them to also get a sense of the culture).




Smell is very important, as it is a sense that is closely linked to emotion and memory, and it is nice to have something else that can remind guests of your wedding day, in the years to come. However, smell can also be very overpowering, so it is important that it is subtle and doesn’t interfere with taste. Something simple, such as the faint smell of candles as the Bride walks down the aisle, or the incense burning during the cocktail reception. As mentioned before, the smell of a suckling pig roasting on the beach, or the sweet scent of incense during a Hindu wedding ceremony – these are all smells that can be nostalgic and further develop the atmosphere for the guests.




Feng Shui goes hand in hand with the five senses. It is important that the flow of energy in a reception or ceremony venue is well thought out, allowing the guests to feel comfortable and at ease. Various elements of the interior and exterior of an area can be influenced by aspects of design (colour, lighting, arrangement etc.), and these need to be carefully balanced to have the perfect environment. The elements of Feng Shui that are utilised in wedding design include: Fire (representing passion, it can exude a glow of happiness portrayed through lighting and colour), Metal (it is elegant and allows a feeling of sophistication – i.e. diamonds, glitter, shiny materials), Water ( creative and sensual – it creates a flow timage(20)hat is relaxing and calming), Earth ( it is traditional, natural and conservative, allowing you to feel secure), and finally, Wood (active and youthful, this element is not traditional but creates a balance in the room and a vibrant energy amongst guests – introducing plants or wooden features can enhance this element).

In order to create the perfect balance of a venue, each of these elements of Feng Shui must interact which each other at an equal amount. At a wedding event it is important that a speaker is the centre of attention (the speeches are a large part of the reception, and should be fully focused upon), and that they are able to see all entrances and exits of the venue and never be in direct line of a doorway. The space within a room also encourages the flow; by having a main feature or attraction, a focal point can enhance the flow of traffic through the room, and the introduction of plants and furniture can help a large space feel smaller and more personal.

It is necessary when designing an event that the Feng Shui is focused upon in order to allow the guests to feel comfortable, and allow the event to flow smoothly and the energy to be balanced. All of the five senses (as well as design aspects) need to be aligned equally in order to achieve this balance.



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