Monday, June 26, 2017

A Few Tips When Designing And Making Centrepieces.

Beautiful bat mitzvah centrepiece design by Tanya Joselowsky, CBA, of The Pop, and working with Gideon's Functions and Flowers, Johannesburg, South Africa.

What is a centrepiece?

 Design by Cam Woody, CBA,
Pioneer® Balloon Company

By definition, a centrepiece is a display that can be placed in the centre of a dining table. It helps to set the theme of the event and brings extra decoration to a room.

Just consider all the ways a well-designed centrepiece can contribute to your client's event space:
- Will be the centre of attention at the dinner table— guests have no choice but to spend most of the event gazing at the centrepieces!
- Creates a visual atmosphere that sets the mood for the event
- Ties together the theme of the event and helps bring it to life
- Acts as icebreakers for guests at events with assigned seating
- Provides an opportunity for individual expression
- Can be souvenirs for guests
Leaves a lasting impression—good, or otherwise!

Tina Giunta, CBA, of Shivoo Balloons in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, creates two fabulous complimentary centrepiece designs that work perfectly on this rectangular table.

Mixing Tall and Low Centrepieces - and those all important height rules.

There’s nothing worse than walking into a reception space that feels empty or under-decorated. Mixing short and tall centrepieces will help make a space feel vibrant and full.

For tall centrepieces, the added height helps to fill up a room. Just be careful to use them appropriately—you don’t want to block the line of sight for guests. You can put tall centrepieces on tables with less traffic (i.e., gift or buffet tables), or make sure guests can see through the centre of the design. Conversely, short centerpieces are great for accommodating conversation amongst the guests. You’ll want to make sure the centrepieces are low enough that seated guests can see over the top. As a general guideline, you’ll want to start your tall elements 24” (60.96 cm) from the table or higher, and 14" (35.56 cm) or lower is the maximum height for your short elements (the floral industry recommends a 12" height rule for a low centrepiece). When adding helium filled balloons to a centrepiece, ribbon is not considered a visual barrier; be sure to follow the 24" rule. Equally, when using products such as the Lomey Pedestal System or Plexipole, these also do not affect the visual line rule due to the fact that they are made from a clear perspex.

Centrepiece using the Lomey System

Don't Forget About the Shape of the Table

When designing centrepieces, you need to consider the shape of the tables at the venue. The most common shapes you’ll come across are round, square, and rectangular. Each shape will have its own considerations:
Round: This table suits a single centrepiece. You can definitely use tall centrepieces since the circular shape makes it easier to look around to the other guests. 

Square: Square tables have more space in the centre than other shapes. Design a more substantial arrangement to utilise this space and keep the table from looking empty.

Rectangular: A single centrepiece on a rectangular table will look lonely. Aim for multiple centrepieces (i.e., a larger middle centrepiece with smaller arrangements on each end). Keep them narrow to avoid crowding the table since you need to leave space for the place settings.

And remember that your centrepiece arrangement should be proportional to the size of the table.

The Design

When designing a centrepiece, we need to ensure that we create perfect harmony; ensuring that all the elements within the design give a sense of oneness or wholeness and that they look like they all belong together. Every element used should complement one and other and not compete for attention! 

To find out more about Unity and Harmony, check out my post - Part 6 Beginners Guide to the Elements and Principles of Design - Unity & Harmony

Fantasy Flower 
centrepiece design
by Sue Bowler, CBA.

If you would like to know more about Fantasy Flowers, check out my post - The Art of Fantasy Flowers.

I hope that some of you find this post helpful. I love to design and create centrepieces using different techniques and textures within my designs.  I would like to thank the very talented Tanya Joselowsky, Tina Giunta, and Cam Woody for allowing me to share their beautiful centrepiece designs with the Very Best Balloon Blog!

Happy Ballooning!


Monday, June 19, 2017

Balloons at Weddings — Elegant or Tacky?

Balloon Canopy by Sue Bowler, CBA.

There are divided public opinions regarding balloon decor at weddings. I have actually heard people calling balloons "tacky," and on occasions I can understand why people might think this.

When we walk into a traditional style wedding there is one colour that usually dominates the room — white! White table covers with white place settings or even a white marquee and often held in very neutral venues. So when colours are added into this very pure environment, it needs to be subtle and blended in carefully. 

So how can we make our wedding decor elegant? When I design wedding decor,  it is important for me to keep the decor very neutral. I like to create the majority of my designs using White or Ivory and Diamond Clear balloons. Today, silver is often used at weddings. This can also be considered a neutral colour.

Adding Accent Colour

So when a bride tells us the colours that she is planning to feature at her wedding, think of these as being the accent rather than the dominant colours. Consider using only 5" balloons when adding colour, and simply add just a hint rather than a big block of colour. Another tip is to offer the accent colour in tints, tones, and shades rather than just one single colour. For me, colour blending is more elegant than using one single hue.

To learn more about colour, check out my post: Beginners Guide to the Elements and Principles of Design - Colour.

We are very fortunate with balloons that we can create a multitude of colours simply by putting one balloon inside another to create new and unique colours. This is known as custom colouring, a technique that I love and use very often in my designs. 

These are columns that a group of students made as part of the Complete Wedding — Series 2 Course that I teach in the U.K. and around Europe.

The accent colour in this design is blue, but if you look carefully, you will see that the 5" balloons all vary slightly in colour. This was achieved by using the custom colouring technique mentioned above and therefore creating additional excitement and interest within the design, without the colour being domineering or overbearing.

Here is a chart that shows you how to create some very exciting colours. If you right click on this image, you should be able to save it to your computer.

Wedding Arbour by Sue Bowler, CBA.

Here are two more examples of wedding decor designs where the wedding colour has been added in as an accent colour and also using the custom colouring technique to create the tints, tones, and shades of a single colour. In both of these designs, I used fabric and greenery to add colour and texture to the designs.

Light-Up Wedding Column by Sue Bowler, CBA.
Today, there is a whole revolution of exciting new design ideas and concepts using balloon at weddings! Rose Gold is a colour that is becoming very popular, and in response to this, Qualatex® has introduced a fabulous range of Rose Gold Hearts, Round, and Star shape Microfoil® balloons.

To find out the full range available in this colour, click HERE.

We all love Qualatex Bubble Balloons! These are just perfect for weddings! Ruti Grodzinsky, CBA, of Designed by Ruti — Balloon Decor, Israel, recently created this fabulous decor, combining Bubble Balloons and asparagus fern for a beautiful, elegant wedding. I love the simplicity and elegance of Ruti's design, and I am really loving this Bubble and greenery look!

I recently published a post - Look at Colour Trends for Spring 2017. This shows some other great examples of this new greenery trend with balloons.

Keeping the colours subtle and reacting to trends is a great way to succeed in the wedding market.

I personally believe that balloons at weddings can be extremely beautiful and elegant. Just keep the decor neutral, light, and airy, and keep colours as an accent detail, rather than the main player. 

To promote your wedding services, ensure that you have a good social media presence, especially on Pinterest and Instagram, as they are both very visual and highly used by brides to be!

Happy Ballooning!


Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Happy Caterpillar - Step by Step Design

Some of you will know this fun design. I have made it a number of times over the years in different guises! It's one of those cute designs that can be used for a number of different occasions! I really liked making the Stand-Up Love Bug version as shown below.

Here is a step-by-step video that will show you how to make this cute little critter. I hope that you have fun making this design. By the end of it, you should have mastered the Apple Twist technique! I apologise for the counter at the bottom of the video clip, this was an extra design that I filmed when I produced my DVD - Balloon Decor 2, so instead of wasting it, I thought that it would be great to share it with the Very Best Balloon Blog.

The Happy Caterpillar by Sue Bowler, CBA.

Happy Ballooning!


Please note that the "Rose" Microfoil® Balloon shown in the Love Bug design is a discontinued item. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Chelsea Jungle

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show has been held on the grounds of the Chelsea Hospital in London, U.K., every year since 1913, apart from gaps during the two World Wars. It is considered to be the most prestigious flower show in the world. This year, Chelsea saw its first ever design that showcased Qualatex® latex balloons and greenery in the now very familiar organic style. The design was named the "Chelsea Jungle." This fabulous installation was the collaboration between two artists, garden designer Catherine Chenery of Catherine Chenery Garden Designs, and balloon stylist Fiona MacOwen, of Riot Balloons.

Chelsea Jungle 
Photograph by Nicci Rene


This year at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, as you walk through the tunnel which connects Main Avenue and Ranelagh Gardens, you will find yourself entering a jungle dream with a canopy of exotic leaves and colourful balloons. 

By immersing you into an imaginary jungle scene, the designers aim to embrace the lighter side of life and the importance of escaping reality every now and then, if only for a moment.

The tunnel gives you an opportunity to let your mind wander into a dreamscape, as though you have let yourself drift into a daydream of luscious plants and clouds of colour, 
before re-entering reality at the other end.

The installation encourages us to take our time, not rushing to our destination but enjoying the journey. 

Chelsea Jungle
Photograph by Nicci Rene

As with many projects like this, it takes a team, and through BAPIA - the Balloon and Party Industry Alliance, Nicci Rene, of Balloon Boutiques, London, jumped at this unique opportunity.

Nicci Rene (back second left) with designers Catherine Chenery, Fiona MacOwen and John Bowler of BAPIA and team!