Creating Event ambiance with nostalgia

Think back to the last event you attended, whether a craft fair or wedding or school picnic. How did you feel when you entered the venue? During the event and what were your thoughts after the event? Do you wish you could go back to this awe inspiring event once again or are you so glad its behind you? Or perhaps you feel nuetral. It was fine, not too memorable but not completely terrible either….much like the school craft fair in the badly lit cold gym I attended last week 🙂

The above questions are what I like to ask myself before I organize an event. Once the venue is chosen, event organizers have a responsibility to create a memorable event that customers long to return to. And while this can be achieved in any space, choosing a venue with rich history, architecture or large windows with natural light will naturally serve you better than a badly lit school gymnasium! You can work with a badly lit room with little ambiance, but the more decorating (time and money) you will have to put in to make the venue stand out more).

Choosing the right venue

I’ve organized events in both badly lit school gyms and venues with natural ambiance and rich history. I will argue that it’s ALWAYS been worth it for me to have my events in venues oozing with ambiance, heritage and charm! As long as you can work within your budget of course. After years of experience testing out various event locations, it was clear to me that customers have a subconcious drive to attend these historic charming venues and are much more motivated than attending something at a middle school gymnasium. When we attend a venue that is glamorous, we cant help but feel a little exciting and perhaps more attractive. This is the enchanting magic you want to create with ambiance.

Garden city soul club spinning all the nostagic 60’s tunes at my event in Victoria, BC

bringing nostaligia into your event

Nostaliga is defined as: a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.

For example, think about the vast array of pumpkin spice products you can purchase in the Fall. Psychology today suggests that we are drawn to Pumpkin spice nostalgia due to a vast array of constructs such as the association of Fall & coziness-think cardigans, flannel, and comfort.

When creating nostalgia within your event, think of a theme that will resonate with your customer demographic (young gen Z’s vs boomers, or all ages). The ideas can be as simple as choosing a decade to celebrate (70’s for example).


One of the most overlooked aspects of event ambiance is lighting. I have attended both venues that are too bright, and too dark. Great lighting will enhance the mood of customers and their experience. On a shoestring budget, this can be as simple as turning off bright gymnasium lights and renting string lights to hang from basketball nets. Asking vendors to bring their own table lamps (look into LED battery charged lamps) or check to see what amount of power outlets you are working with. Tell vendors in advance that they need to be prepared to share power with their neighbours and ask vendors to also bring extension chords. This will not only make the room feel more intImate but it will bring a warm and cozy feeling.


Decor will contribute so much to creating nostalgia at your event. If you choose a historic venue already oozing in nostaglia, you may not need to spend as much on decor. However a basic venue will really benefit from elements of decor throughout that fit the theme of your event. Once you have a theme, start a simple google search for decor ideas. Look at your budget-what can you afford to rent/purchase or create yourself?!

By adding nostagic elements to your event, you will be sure to create something memorable for your guests. The intrinsic value of adding nostalgia will be well worth it!

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