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Trend Update

By Sandra Eagle

“By sharing everyone gets better.” That’s the sentiment of David Merrell, CEO and creative director of AOO Events in Los Angeles, who was in Toronto recently as the featured guest at an ILEA Toronto event.

His specific talk was about how he determines event trends for the year and what individual planners can do to create experiences that their client’s guests will remember. Merrell says, “Our buyers are changing as they realize the impact of live engagement events and the value and the worth of what event planners bring to the table.”  

Merrell starts his brainstorming with a team of five researchers to determine the trends for the coming year. For 2019, transformative events is a recurring theme. “My value lies in the transformation of an attendee’s thoughts and their new impressions of the event host,” says Merrell. To that end, interactive dinner theatre, installation art, immersive events and Instagram-worthy photo ops are game changers.

Merrell looks to art installations for inspiration, such as those of Yayoi Kusama to create instagrammable moments for guests. Mirrored floors, mylar fringe and balloons were utilized in one event so that guests could create their own artistic impressions. Merrell recommends harlequin floors for shiny vinyl flooring to create their own art installation.

Food and beverage trends are embracing cannabis cocktails, blow-torched artisanal doughnuts or savouries (check out the creations of Gastro Garage—they will fly to Canada), ramen stations, hummus bar buffets and plant-based probiotic foods, such as kombucha. Merrell is super excited for Water balls—they aren’t on the market yet, but it’s an edible seaweed material that encapsulates water—or any other liquid for that matter, just think of the possibilities for mixed drinks! 

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