Sonia Sharma enjoys the freedom that tents provide when designing unique celebrations.
Event planner Sonia Sharma specializes in intercultural and high-end ethnic events, and it’s not unusual for her to be asked to take the flair and style of cultures from around the globe and blend them artfully into a single event.
“Social events, whether they are kids’ parties or weddings, bring me the most satisfaction,” the Los Angeles, Calif.-based event planner says. “There is a level of emotion when celebrating with your loved ones that makes the experience more fulfilling.”
Sharma graduated from UCLA in 2001 with a degree in women’s studies and spent a year in Asia before pursuing a career in event planning. About a third of her business involves tented events.
“The fact that walls are optional and you can make the canopy clear gives my clients the option of being connected with the natural surroundings,” she says. “Tents can be as open or exclusive as you want them to be and that freedom is wonderful.”
One trend she sees among her clients is more colorful weddings, and she says culturally themed parties—Bollywood, China, Morocco—are gaining in popularity. To stay fresh, she finds inspiration in fashion and interior design, taking trends and color schemes from the runways and modern decor magazines.
“Florists are also an inspiration for me,” she says. “I always loved floral design and enjoy working with artists when designing my events.”
One of her favorite tented events was a colorful circus tent for a child’s party—the outside of the tent was turquoise with gold and the inside featured black and white stripes.
“We hung red chandeliers and created a chic circus feel,” she says. “I also had mirror-top tables so that the intricate ceiling reflected on the surface of the tables. Our china was all mixed and matched with gold, black, white and red. We also alternated two different types of chairs to create a mixed-matched look. The event was colorful, stylish and chic.”