Event management trends are constantly changing and can be tricky to keep up.

That’s why we listed the 15 hottest event trends for 2019 in South Africa and around the world.

From aesthetic developments all but guaranteed to leave your guests breathless, to improved security measures for high profile events, Aleit Events are always on the cutting edge, always pushing the boundaries and exploring new means of incorporating the latest technological and other innovations and trends into plans for your event.

This year has seen a rise in interest in new technologies, like facial recognition software, and virtual reality, as well as, conversely, a fine art renaissance and a renewed interest in mobilising events as a means to showcase a more traditionally refined cultural interest.

To learn more about 2019’s biggest event planning trends, and how Aleit Events can make the magic happen for you, just keep reading!

event management trends 2019 - aleit events


Trend #1: Facial Recognition

Technology is constantly evolving and trends and developments in the technological sphere inevitably end up influencing and filtering down into the event industry and our everyday lives.

That’s likely why 2019 has seen an uptick in interest in and the innovative use of facial recognition software in the events industry.

Thanks to Apple, facial recognition has become a household name, and more and more high profile clients are interested in utilizing this technological development to increase security at their events and to streamline the check-in process for exclusive, by-invitation-only events.

Not only can the incorporation of facial recognition measures greatly increase security at your next event, it can wow your guests as well!

Use facial recognition software to identify and automatically tag your guests in event photographs in real time, and enjoy the dual benefits of saving time and sufficiently impressing your guests!


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Trend #2: Time Travel

Successful events has always been about transporting your guests to another world which serves the interests of the host – but what if your events were no longer subject to the limits of linear time and space?

The use of AR and VR systems to create immersive experiences of alternate realities is becoming increasingly popular in the event industry.

Inspire your invitees by taking them on a journey into the future.

Show your what your client can help them achieve, instead of just telling them. Use AR and VR to show employees how far the business has come.

Immerse your audience in your vision for the future, or your reflection on the past, and make them a part of the action with the help of new technologies.

event management trends 2019, time travel - aleit events

Photographer: Henry Marsh


Trend #3: Group Tech

So your guests are unable to attend the event in person?

In 2019, that should hardly mean they need to decline your invitation outright.

One of 2019’s hottest event trends is group tech experiences which turn traditionally solo activities into shared experiences.

Under normal circumstances this means the increased ability for individuals spread across a vast geographical area to connect in real time, whether they’re watching a movie together or playing video games together while sitting on separate continents.

When it comes to the event industry, the increased popularity in and accelerated development of immersive group technology means that guests shouldn’t need to be present in three dimensions in order to attend your event.

Ways in which your next event could make use of group tech may include using 360-degree video to allow remote audiences and key invitees who were unable to attend due to geographic or health constraints an opportunity to attend your event virtually.

Also see our Portfolio Events


Trend #4: Edible Art

Thank the rise in popularity of visually driven social medium platforms like Pinterest and Instagram for this one!

Nowadays food can’t just taste good, it needs to look good too!

Edible art is big in the event industry at the moment, and is a great way to wow your guests and ensure your event gets some free publicity on social media as well!

Turning food into conversation and decor pieces is a great way to captivate your guests and to make your event styling that much more memorable. Gone are the days of separating form from function!

Great ways to incorporate food design into your event could include creating an ice bar; a functional ice sculpture-cum-bar that serves not only as a decor piece, but as a functional ice-box to chill your beverages.

Get creative in your presentation of things like dessert tables by designing backlit dessert galleries, or serving slices from a hanging cake.

Elevating your food to the level of art and displaying it accordingly is a trend we can’t wait to see more of!

event management trends 2019, edible art - aleit events

Photographer: Creative Emporium


Trend #5: Going Off-Grid

We did warn you that some of these trends are kicking it back to the old-school, and unplugged events have not only been trending this year, but they’ve upped the ante!

An unplugged event in 2019 may even mean going completely off-grid!

Do you need your guests to focus on the event without any outside distractions?

Does your business promote mindfulness, connectedness, introspection, or family values?

Then, an off-the-grid, unplugged event may just be the right choice for you.

Off-the-grid events are all about transporting your guests to a world in which the intrusion of modern technologies are kept to a minimum – whether this means literally transporting them into the mountains for a weekend conference in a rustic mountain lodge outside of cell signal range, or encouraging the surrender of mobile phones upon entering your event venue.

Off-the-grid events allow guests to experience an event in a completely different way – without the additional mediating presence of a cellphone screen.

Also see The 15 Event Challenges That Event Planners Needs To Deal With


Trend #6: One-upping

2019 is all about going big or going home – more is more this year and innovation isn’t just an over-promised, under-delivered buzzword.

A major trend in the event industry this year is standing on the shoulders of giants, taking big ideas and building on them to create something truly spectacular and unique.

But don’t be fooled, one-upping is not about innovating for innovation’s sake.

Instead, this trend is focused on creating truly memorable and impactful events for a new generation of corporate and private clients interested in hosting a memory, and facilitating an experiential event in the lives of their guests.

Bigger is better and so far 2019 has seen clients focused on exceeding guest expectations with innovative elements like larger than life living art installations or dedicated Instagram corners featuring sufficiently extra backdrops which promote the event, the host, or their aims.

event management trends 2019, one-upping - aleit events

Photographer: Henry Marsh


Trend #7: Creating Mystery

The beauty in magic lies in not knowing how the magician pulled off the trick.

In such troubled times the masses are increasingly disillusioned with life and events in 2019 will be all about re-instilling a sense of wonder in event-goers; giving them something, anything to believe in again and suspend the dark cloud hanging over 2019’s political, environmental, economic and even more spheres.

It’s human nature, we’re all intrigued by the unknown, we’re all titillated by secrecy and mystery, and injecting a little bit of that thrill into your events in 2019 is sure to go down like gangbusters.

Think secret, underground events with secret knocks or passwords to gain admission.

Not only does an element of mystery generate talk surrounding an event both before and after it happens, but inviting guests to step outside a bleak world for the duration of the event tends to render guests especially congenial and more susceptible to suggestion; making it easier to sway corporate clients, or hook investors at corporate events!

Also see The 10 Most Common Corporate Events You’ll Find


Trend #8: Exclusivity Is King

Nothing drives interest in an event like exclusivity.

Not only does exclusivity boost interest, but an exclusive event really does foster an intimacy between the event host and the attendees which cannot be otherwise achieved.

Events this year are increasingly exclusive, catering to smaller, more intimate groups of key guests who the host has truly gotten to know, and to whose interests and preferences these events tend to cater.

Our experience driven economy has also driven the move toward exclusivity in the event management industry, as venues shift from more traditional restaurants and hotel function venues to exclusive, limited capacity, experiential venues like yachts and temporary “pop-up” venues that are purpose-built for an event and torn down again afterwards.

event management trends 2019, exclusivity is king - aleit events

Photographer: Creative Emporium


Trend #9: Sustainability

We are growing globally more aware of the negative impact of the human race on planet earth, and so a key trend cropping up in the industry this year is a praiseworthy dedication to sustainability and eco-friendly events.

You can throw a green event by selecting an eco-friendly venue, who are themselves dedicated to sustainability, and corporations can even use this opportunity to generate some press around their events.

Sustainable events can even present unique opportunities for innovation – offer guests a complimentary carpooling pick-up service to reduce the carbon emissions of multiple vehicles; invite guests to take home and plant their seed-infused napkins or coasters; the sky’s the limit.

Also see 6 Private Event Types That Brings Together Family & Friends


Trend #10: Creative Spaces

Thinking outside the box doesn’t just mean thinking creatively anymore, it also means rethinking the box itself!

Your venue is your event’s “box”, and getting creative with your space has never been more important!

2019 has seen some unorthodox choices for venues, including the use of spaces like empty warehouses, rooftops, and public parks; and why not?!

Hiring a blank space venue that hasn’t been used for events before not only ensures that your event will be at the very least the first of its kind, but also means your event planners and designers have a blank canvas upon which to realise your vision for your event.

Wow your guests with an invitation to an aircraft hanger and take their breath away when they see the non-traditional space transformed into an elegant event backdrop that is 100% Instagrammable!

Not only are non-traditional event spaces a great way to make an impression on your guests, but they present your designers and coordinators unique and interesting opportunities to play up the natural ambience of the unusual venue choice through your decor and use of the function space.

Think running neon lights along the exposed steel girders in an old warehouse for a futuristic, TRON effect!

event management trends 2019, creative spaces - aleit events

Photographer: Henry Marsh


Trend #11: Network Facilitating Design

The spatial design and layout of your event is key to passively encouraging networking and guest connection, which is why the event layout is typically best left to the experts.

This year we have seen a big move toward spatial awareness and the manipulation of space in event design to foster guest connection and interaction.

Whether this means hiring and arranging additional furniture, or cutting harsh lighting – network facilitating design is all about using the event space to foster intimacy and minimise inhibitions in your guests.

Filling cavernous spaces and softening everything from harsh light to high ceilings, for example with floral canopies or draping, is increasingly minimising guest discomfort by helping them not to feel so exposed, thereby promoting networking and connection amongst guests.

The strategic arrangement of furniture only serves to further aid this cause!


Trend #12: Art Renaissance

Local is lekker, and there is a major art renaissance happening right now which has seen local art being foregrounded and used to style upmarket events the world over.

Not only can art create a focal and talking point at your event, but it offers the host a chance to display a particular cultural awareness and appreciation.

With sustainability and corporate social investment and responsibility becoming increasingly important to corporate event attendees, corporations that source local art for their events have the opportunity to meet guests’ expectations for company involvement in their immediate community, as well as the opportunity to showcase local talent.

Popular sustainable art options include urban graffiti installations, the exhibition of more traditional mediums, such as painting and sculpture, recycled art and more.

event management trends 2019, art - aleit events

Photographer: Creative Emporium


Trend #13: Quench Your Thirst

Quench your thirst for the cutting edge with innovative beverage service solutions at your next event.

An open bar is all well and good, but offering your guests something they’ve never seen before is bound to be more memorable!

Ditch the signature cocktail and think outside the box with mobile bars, offering healthy alternatives to alcoholic indulgences (like smoothies and fresh-pressed juices), or go for the entertainment factor with live flaring demonstrations by qualified mixologists.

Also see Public Event Types – 7 Most Popular You Can Attend


Trend #14: Babel Fish

Though Google Translate is notoriously error-prone, sometimes to comedic but, especially in the corporate world, more often to tragic effect, electronic translation services and technologies have come a long way since they first burst onto the scene like a veritable babel fish from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The incorporation of this steadily advancing and improving technology, especially in the corporate event industry, has become a critical component in bolstering communicative efforts and tearing down language barriers so as to help corporations effectively connect with a far greater and more linguistically and culturally diverse audience.

No more running around trying to locate individual translators for your foreign investors – technology is standing by to take your event from confusing and inaccessible to foreign-language speakers, to successful in the flick of a switch, or, more accurately, the tap of a touchscreen!


Trend #15: It’s All About Perspective

Playing with perceptions and using forced perspective to offer guests some fascinating photo opportunities has never been more popular.

Stunning visual effects can be created with oversized furniture, picture frames, chandeliers, candelabras and more!

Why not combine this trend with the move toward displaying local art by commissioning local artists to bring in some interactive art pieces?

This trend is not about form over function, but rather all about exceptional form serving its function.

Whether this means the use of perspex chairs shaped like balloon animals, or giant couches that dwarf your guests, but give everyone a place to lounge at the end of a long evening, going big means your guests won’t ever want to go home!


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No matter your event planning needs, Aleit Events looks forward to taking your event beyond the cutting edge to exceed your expectations and leave your guests gobsmacked.


For even more Event Trends – See 100 Event Trends for 2019, by Event Manager Blog