Creating Meaningful Events with the Power of Ambiance

For nearly twenty years, El Gaucho has been creating experiences for our guest’s most important and personal moments. Our team of experts have gathered a list of the most common questions they’ve received and compiled a series of articles targeting every facet of the event planning process to help you plan a successful event.

By: Carly Geer, AQUA by El Gaucho Event Director

It may seem as though the most important factors of an event are the larger overarching elements such as the location or entertainment, but the simplest details can truly make or break the success of an event. Making a lasting impression on your guests all comes down to the way your event makes them feel. When all of the moving parts are thoughtfully put together, we create and establish an ambiance that will make a difference in the success and quality of the event.

Ambiance means the mood, character, quality, tone and atmosphere of an environment. We create this by catering to all five senses:

Keep the volume of music appropriate for the event – if there are discussions, the music should be kept at a volume that does not overpower voices. If there is a presentation, consider setting up a microphone so all guests can hear the speaker and presentation clearly.

The way the room looks is going to be the first visual impression for the event, and there are two major components to creating a great first impression:
1) Lighting – this is a detail that can be easily overlooked, yet it is so fundamental to creating mood and a visual experience for your guests. Turning the lights down and adding candles will make a room sparkle; this is a small and inexpensive detail that makes a huge impact. If the event is taking place during the day, strategically use shading with tenting or curtains.
2) Décor & Presentation: stick to a theme so the event feels unified. Present food and drinks in an interesting way (ex. ice sculptures, miniature spoons/dishes, nice platters, or on stations with a chef attendant), and in a way that makes things easy for guests. Make sure guests can reach everything and the plate size and utensils are appropriate for the food they are eating.

Cater to touch by focusing on the décor and setup of the room. For example, the feel and comfort of the furniture and linens. Again, stick to a theme so the event feels unified. Depending on what your goal is, consider rentals to accomplish your overall look.

Also consider interactive entertainment to accomplish the sense of touch. Is there a group project with take-aways? Maybe a photo booth – guests will never forget the event if you give them a picture to take home! Is there a small gift you can give to your guests as a parting favor or thank you for attending? A little token leaves a lasting impression!

One overlooked component to a successful event is the temperature of the room. This is harder to control if you’re outside, but in a controlled environment, the room temperature should be at anywhere between 68-72*F.

Smell & Taste:

In the case of special events, these two go hand in hand with food and drink!
1) Food – yummy food aromas should be the main smell for the event. Other smells, such as candles and floral scents, should be kept to a minimal. Too many smells can be overwhelming and distracting.
2) Beverages – keep in mind the flavor profiles of the food when making your wine, beer and cocktail selections. Make things interesting by pairing wines, having a wine/liquor tasting station, or offering an interesting signature cocktail that fits the theme of the event.
3) Sweets – there is always room for dessert! We like ours flaming at El Gaucho.

With a little bit of planning and forethought, you can create a big impact at your next event by ensuring your guests enjoy themselves by catering to their senses. Need advice or have questions for your next event? One of our Event Directors would be happy to help you achieve your desired results:

AQUA by El Gaucho – Carly Geer,
El Gaucho Bellevue – Whitney Twede,
El Gaucho Portland – Kate Arvidson,
El Gaucho Seattle – Pamela Rockwell,
El Gaucho Tacoma – Holly Bero,



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