by Kevin Dana | July 05, 2018
Today, engaging meeting attendees requires more than throwing together a PowerPoint presentation. Meetings and conferences provide attendees the opportunity to learn, connect, network and share with their colleagues -- and to facilitate this requires the right event space and furnishing. As a member of the CORT Trade Show & Event Furnishings team, I see this up close and how attendee demands are shifting. Here are a few summer event meeting trends we are seeing and to create a space that your attendees are sure to remember.  
1. Use furniture that blends indoor and outdoor spaces. 
Blend your outdoor and indoor event design seamlessly by using elegant and elevated furnishings that look like interior styles. Mix modular and functional furniture to fit any patio, lawn or pool deck. Offer your guests different seating options with dining areas and plenty of bar tables for drinks and food plates while they mingle. 

2. Color pallets are both bold and balanced.
Start with neutral, versatile furniture and use accent pieces to bring in the colors. Go beyond throw pillows and play up the seasonal colors with outdoor wire tables in summery colors like green, blue and white. Vibe cube ottomans provide vibrant outdoor seating in summer hues and can be easily moved around for casual networking. 

Play up color to keep your event feeling fresh this summer. Deep blues paired with green jungle patterns and palm accent pieces creates a funky and fun vibe for networking. Settings that need to feel more buttoned-up should opt for antiqued whites and blues. Add accents with clean lines and crisp summer linens for an airy, effortless feel. 

3. Mediterranean adventures inspire event decor. 
For international inspiration, make your event theme Mediterranean. Ornate foliage centerpieces are the perfect option for outdoor gatherings with a Tuscan-garden flair. Incorporate black and white with punches of color to provide simplicity against a backdrop of extravagant greenery. Channel the French Riviera for an easy, chic feel. Create casual contrast by mixing furnishings with wood tables and benches, and don't forget to finish with marble table tops. Define the space with faux boxwood hedges to create more intimate outdoor areas that are luxurious. Add florals to the hedges to bring in a hanging garden look for an old-world charm.

4. Bring indoor comforts outdoors. 
The most important trend is comfort. The summer months are a beautiful time to host an outdoor event but can leave guests hot and dehydrated. Provide water stations throughout the venue, offering guests water infused with citrus or fruits so they can stay hydrated. Guests can help themselves without lining up for the bar and the stations look gorgeous when paired with fresh linens. Be sure to place bug spray around the tables and have plenty of citronella candles flickering, adding to the ambiance and protecting your guests from mosquitoes. 

Kevin Dana is executive director of marketing and product development at CORT Trade Show & Event Furnishings. To learn more about CORT's exhibit and event rental collections or its Social Tables integration, visit www.cortevents.com.