Creating Meaningful Events with the Power of Ambiance

By Angie Lowrance, El Gaucho Portland Event Coordinator

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

Ambiance is defined as the mood, character, quality, tone, and atmosphere of an environment. El Gaucho creates this by catering to all five senses:


Sound is a key component in making your event successful. 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 your guest voices. If there is a presentation, consider setting up a microphone so all guests can hear the speaker and presentation clearly. When hosting a formal dinner and you want to set the mood, the element of a live instrumental band.


The way the room looks and feels is going to be the first visual impression for the guests, and there are two major components to creating a great first impression:

  • Lighting – this is a detail that can be easily overlooked, yet it is fundamental to creating mood and a visual experience for your guests. Dimming the lights and adding candles will make a room sparkle; this is a small and inexpensive detail that makes a significant impact. If the event is taking place during the day, strategically use shading with tenting or curtains.
  • Décor & Presentation: Décor can be as simple as floral centerpieces and candles or include elegant drapery. Sticking to a theme will help the event to feel unified. Presenting food and beverages in a creative and interactive way can also be part of the ambiance.  You can arrange for ice sculptures, small bites served in miniature spoons/dishes, or have chef attended stations.


Cater to touch by focusing on the décor and setup of the room. For example, the feel and comfort of the furniture and linens can make your guests feel comfortable and at ease. You can accomplish this through textured linens for the tables, adding drapery for a softness and trendy furniture rentals that will help set the mood of the event and space.

Also, consider interactive entertainment to accomplish the sense of touch. For example, adding a photo booth would give your guests a little piece of memory that they can take home and look back to long after the occasion is over. Consider a small gift or parting favor you can give to your guests as a thank you for attending; a little token can leave a lasting impression!

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

Smell & Taste:

In the case of special events, these two go hand in hand with food and drinks.

  • Food – delicious food aromas should be the main smell for the event. We recommend using unscented candles and muted floral scents, so you don’t overwhelm your guests.
  • Beverages – When choosing beverages for your event focus on the profiles of the food that will be served. 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.
  • Sweets – there is always room for sweets and there is no other way to conclude the night than with dessert. At El Gaucho, we prefer our desserts to include a flaming touch.

With a little bit of planning and forethought, you can create a significant 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 professional Event Directors would be happy to help bring your vision to life.

Aerlume – Caitlynd Davison,
AQUA by El Gaucho – Kristina Thorne,
El Gaucho Bellevue – Whitney Twede,
El Gaucho Portland – Greg Dills,
El Gaucho Seattle – Kristina Thorne,
El Gaucho Tacoma – Merica Oscan,
El Gaucho Vancouver – Kate Carr,
Witness Tree – Kate Carr,