From Scent to Sight: Learning to Entertain the 5 Senses

Studio 5 contributor Katie Bell shares how to throw the perfect event by using the five senses as your guide.

When throwing an event an important thing to remember is that people have five senses – not just taste and sight. Learning to entertain everything from scent to sound ensures a richer and more full experience for your guests.

Pick a theme: It’s not always easy to think of ways to entertain all five of the senses but you can make it simpler for yourself if you pick a theme. Themes make it easier to decide on a scent, sound, taste, display and even touch. For example if you pick a beach theme you could have a tropical candle burning, the sound of waves playing, pineapple and pork shish-ka-bobs, tiki torches and tropical flowers and have people go barefoot on a hot rock walk.

After you have picked a theme make sure to have all five senses covered.

Sight: This is the most common sense that people think of when throwing an event. There are several simple ways to create a visually appealing display – centerpieces, tablecloths, lighting, dishes, and food are all must haves and easy to make look good.

Sound: Play either music or nature sounds that match the theme of your event. Make sure to not pick anything too ostentatious or distracting and also keep the volume at a level that your guests can hear but that they don’t have to talk over.

Scent: Smell is the strongest sense in recalling a memory so it is important to ensure that your event isn’t going to be tainted with a memory of an awful scent. Fortunately this is one of the easiest senses to entertain. If you are cooking a fragrant food that could serve as the scent of your event, or if you need something a little more there are plenty of room sprays, wallflowers and candles available in a huge variety of scents to match the theme of your event. Be sure to keep the scent under control – if it gets too fragrant guests can get headaches and potentially lose their appetite.

Taste: A fine picked menu is crucial to any event. Even if your event is stimulating to all the other senses taste is of the most importance. It doesn’t have to be a five-course meal, it could be as small as a dessert table, but be sure that each item is picked with care and has good flavor.

Touch: This can be the hardest sense to entertain at an event. Some ideas on how to do it are: have an activity that includes touch in some way, i.e. anything barefoot, something with water, or a change in temperature, having items with a specific feel. Another idea is take away gifts – an idea would be to send your guests home with any type of pampering product i.e. lotions, head massagers, stress balls, or homemade bean heating pads. Or find an item that fits in with the theme of the rest of your party that would stimulate touch.

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