I have always been a fervent believer in perfect alignments and connections and have come to accept networking as a normal part of establishing and widening those connections. A catalyst for such connections is the spaces we inhabit. Through my passion and purpose of crafting and creativity, I became inspired to start creating stylish spaces. Spaces in which connections and alignments are able to flourish and develop to a deeper level. This led me to start my journey as an event designer, incorporating all my interests and my gifts into creating elegant and beautiful ambiences out of any space, no matter how dull or drab. I've since come to have a somewhat spiritual connection with this part of me.
I view beautiful environments as an opening into something greater and deeper - much like reading the foreword of a good book that sets the tone for an amazing story piquing your interest to keep reading until you become completely enveloped in the story. If you're a reader, you know once you read the foreword to a good book; it becomes very difficult to put it down. A good foreword creates anticipation, causing a thrill to course through you and excitement to bubble over. When this happens, you know you're hooked; you're at the mercy of the book now, as you look forward to the next chapter and then the next.
I've always had a thing for elegant simplicity and class. When I think of designing spaces, I like to adopt a ‘less is more’ approach. I like the spaces I create to be welcoming. My first step in staging an event is to establish the narrative, or the story being told by the theme of the event. I do this by consulting with my client and embarking on a journey of understanding their vision, what it is that they are trying to establish, create or share. I have to understand the message they wish to convey to their guests. A great deal of the work of venue dressing and event staging is about bringing the client’s vision to life in the best way possible. The clearer I am about the client’s vision and their purpose for the event, the easier the staging becomes. Stepping into their vision requires stepping outside of myself. My role is to listen, understand and to suggest the best ways to bring that vision to life, but ultimately the decision comes down to the client.
I really believe simplicity and elegance speak for themselves - much like humility and gratitude. They do not need to be loud. They can be noticeably quiet and unspoken, but the silence itself, speaks volumes.” I strive to ensure that from the moment guests enter a venue, they connect with the décor, mood, and tone of the event. I like to create spaces that encourage enrichment, inspire upliftment and ultimately, create a memorable experience.
Through my creative journey, I have been fortunate to have opportunities such as dressing the sets for Shine Happy Hour Events, weddings, birthday parties, christenings and conferences. I particularly enjoyed dressing the venue of a global event called the Leap and Shine Conference earlier in the year, where the event organiser was confident enough to trust me with her vision by giving me total freedom with my design staging. This is an event organiser's best dream and I was grateful for it!
I was intrigued and inspired to see how happy my client's guests were, as they took in the colours and the overall ambience. I find it is the soft, delicate touches that really stop people in their tracks and cause them to draw in their breath in silent awe. Bringing a personal touch to the environment not only honours my client’s vision for the event, it makes it easier to strike the balance that helps me create the right ambience, and everything else falls into place.
I like to begin my decorating with delicate items and then injecting an element of surprise into my work. My aim is always to give something extra at the end of the event. This attention to detail often earns the appreciation and amazement of my clients. I believe it is the little things that allow my event staging to deliver such a big impact. I also believe in touching guests and attendees with the clever use of different textures and colours. From swathes of lush satin fabrics used for welcoming backdrops and official photo areas, to elegantly dressed seating plans, to glitzy diamond encrusted red carpets, diamond clasped seat covers, elegant table centrepieces, even shimmering gemstone table coverings. I set about ensuring every element of the décor is in complete harmony with the tone and theme of the event.
I totally believe in collaboration not competition, so I'm very careful about choosing elements that complement each other rather than clash. Experience has taught me that people buy into this because they are stimulated by visuals and textures, colours and sounds.
Inclusivity is also a very important principle. As a result, I strive to achieve environments of relaxation, calm, and ease, putting myself in the shoes of the guests, thinking about how I would like to be received and welcomed.
When staging any event, some of my key points of reference which I seek to establish are:
1. What are the 5 most important things for you in this space?
2. What is the mood you want to create?
3. What is the message you want to convey?
4. What is the ambience you would like to set?
5. How do you want to feel when you are in that environment, or how do you want the people interacting with you to feel when they are viewing the space?
6. What would you like others to take away after having been in this space?
One of the biggest hindrances is that people are afraid to play. They're afraid to mix and match colours and textures. The key is to introduce them little by little, piece by piece. Walk away, step back, look at it—but never be afraid to change. Nothing is finite. Nothing is set in stone. The space can be whatever you want it to be.
One of the biggest things that makes my work so original and impactful is the infusement of my essence. Embarking on my journey of dressing spaces has enabled me to walk in my purpose. Everything starts with 'The Essence of Me'. Without essence, what are we bringing? Once you get to the grips with whom you are—who you truly are, nothing is unachievable. This is my belief, and I apply this same philosophy to my business. “What is it you’re trying to create? What do you want your clients to feel when they look at your work? Once you can evoke an emotion and convey a feeling through your work, you’re halfway there.
When decorating a space, I'm never ever afraid to change my mind until I’m 100% satisfied with the space I've created! This is how I express my SHINE through my gift of transforming spaces and making them SHINE!
About The Contributor
Nadine Silas-Richards a.k.a “The Queen Whisperer” is a UK-based Writer and Entrepreneur who has devoted 28 years working across various specialties within the health services sector. After completing her First Line Management Certificate with the Institute of Leadership & Management, Nadine worked in a managerial capacity managing teams for a clinical practice, before she was headhunted as a Project Co-ordinator. Nadine is also a seasoned Paralegal. She is the Founder & Chief Designer at Lunar Orchid Event Planners, and host of her soon-to-be launched ‘The Essence of Me’ Podcast. Nadine considers herself an Encourager and Nurturer.