How to Plan an Upscale Event

How to Plan an Upscale Event

When you plan an upscale event, you want guests to feel the luxury from beginning to end. How do you do this without your event feeling tacky or like you’re trying too hard to impress? Here’s your guide to planning an upscale event.

What Is an Upscale Event?

When you want to make an event feel luxurious and valuable, there are certain things you can do to give it a sophistication that your guests will feel and remember.

Upscale is a look and a feeling recognized by clients and friends. It’s the kind of event people dress up for and plan to spend the night mingling and enjoying various offerings. The key to designing an upscale event is to appeal to each of your guest’s senses.

1. Sight

Seeing is one of the first experiences your guests will have at your event. You want to make it look luxurious.

Why It Matters

In any scenario, certain visuals are universally considered upscale and valuable, and ones that are not. From the moment your guests walk into your event, they will experience the sights you offer them.

You don’t want to have areas or items that seem cheap or lackluster to the eye. However, it’s also important not to overwhelm your guests with too many things to view at once.

How to Implement It

When you rent an event venue, it’s doubtful that you can change the walls or floors, but that doesn’t mean you can’t transform their looks. There are two main categories to focus on when creating an upscale appearance: Decor and lighting.


Even the smallest spaces can become upscale with the right decor items. For tables, you want to consider three things:

  • Cloth tablecloths or runners: These items add a personal touch to your event while feeling deluxe and protecting the table.
  • Chair covers: An easy-to-forget item, cloth chair covers with bands or ribbons elevate your seating setup.
  • Centerpieces: You can play with different centerpieces. Glass and crystal elements help them feel luxurious.

Consider adding artwork that represents your brand or event theme for your walls. Framed artwork helps immerse your guests into the event without being overwhelming. Lighted artwork is also a solid choice for most events.


The lighting of your event can also affect how your guests perceive it. Warm white lights in glass globes or crystal fixtures are classic options for any upscale event.

Many people associate luxury with darkened room lighting and clear or white lights that are pleasing to the eye. You can also sparingly use colored lights to add some edge to your event.

2. Smell

Another thing your guests will notice is the scents they experience during your event. When a scent isn’t there, it’s not a big deal. But if it’s unpleasant, it will negatively impact your event.

Why It Matters

You want your event to smell good. Some buildings can smell musty or unpleasing, making it seem like you don’t care about the experience your guests are having. These smells can even cause people to think of your event as outdated or dirty.

How to Implement It

You want your event location to have no discernable scent or a pleasant scent associated with your brand or event theme.

If you’re hosting a dinner, you want the room to contain the pleasant aroma of the featured meal. Fresh floral scents that reflect wedding vibes work well if you’re hosting a bridal event.

3. Sound

Along with their eyes and nose, another thing guests use right away at your event is their ears. Sounds are an important part of making your event upscale. Soft background music is vital for any luxurious event to fill the silence and be an excellent backdrop for conversation.

Why It Matters

Without music, there could be awkward silences throughout the event that bring down the elegant atmosphere. Music can also impact how your guests feel and turn an anxious bystander into a relaxed participant.

How to Implement It

Classical music works well for background music, or you could use music related to the event. As for volume, you want to play the music from a centralized location that can fill the room without making any single area overwhelmingly loud.

4. Taste

Every upscale event should have food, whether a nicely packaged snack or a full meal.

Why It Matters

The tastes your guests experience will be something they talk about when they leave, so you want to ensure each guest enjoys the food.

Whatever you or your client decide, you’ll need to ensure the food is presented in a way that’s pleasing to your guests’ eyes and taste buds.

How to Implement It

Consider catered appetizers that guests may enjoy but not frequently eat, such as crab cakes, bruschetta, and shrimp cocktail. A well-done fruit and cheese platter can still be elegant for pickier guests.

Caviar will give your event a fancy, upscale feel if you can afford it. You can even get creative with its parings. Guests also associate gold-flaked foods and desserts with luxury experiences.

For drinks, consider high-quality spirits while also offering fresh water and teas.

Whether you choose “simple” or “fancy” foods, you want the food you serve to taste good and get prepared well. Choosing the right caterer is essential for this process.

5. Touch

The last sense to focus on when planning your upscale event is touch.

Why It Matters

Your guests will inevitably touch things throughout the night. Their hands may brush the food tray when picking up an item, and their hands and arms will touch tablecloths and napkins. They will use dishes and cutlery and may even touch the centerpiece to check it out.

How to Implement It

You want to ensure your items don’t feel low-quality. Thicker fabrics and decor items give the illusion of value, even if you got them for a deal.

Be sure to budget for some high-quality items. Fabrics like silk and velvet may be more expensive, but they add glamour to your venue, making it seem upscale.

Planning an Upscale Event

Preparing for a luxurious, upscale event can be intimidating. The small details differentiate an upscale event from a plain gathering. By focusing on your guests’ senses, you can plan an event that clients and guests are sure to remember fondly.

Cora Gold

Author Bio: 

Cora Gold is the Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine Revivalist, and she enjoys keeping up with the exciting world of event planning and hospitality. Follow Cora on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest for more life, style, and home inspiration.