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Life Boost

Thu, Mar 14, 2019

How to Make Your Next Party Great, MAH Style

Sure, everyone wants a tiger at their birthday party. Stilt-walking firebreathers are an obvious pick, too.

But sometimes, a great party comes down to a signature MAH approach: The Little Touches™. (Just kidding, that is absolutely not trademarked.)

We plan a lot of events at the MAH, and these ‘little touches’ are the central way that Creativity Catalyst Jamie Keil brings the perfect amount of thought and warmth to an event.

Take notes: these are the perfect way for you to level up your next book club gathering, kid’s birthday party, or wedding.

What are Little Touches?

Simply put, these are the little things you do to make the event feel pulled together. They’re the decor boosting, ambiance shifting, experience transforming ways you bring an event from great to unforgettable, Instagrammable goodness.

“By focusing on the little touches, no area of the party is not a part of the party,” says Jamie. “It’s really special to guests in small heartfelt ways. Little touches aren’t essential to the event, but they make all the difference.”

How Inspiration Strikes

Just after Jamie has an event’s twinkle in her eye, her very first planning step is to create a Pinterest board. She starts with the theme of the event, but doesn’t stop at the basics. By collecting images you wouldn’t expect– like outfits, ambiance, and colors – it helps to spark ideas that translate into little touches.

“Go beyond pinning pictures of objects or things,” says Jamie. “Even grab pictures of people dancing or pictures of what you want it to feel like.”

Leveling Up Our Annual Fundraiser Bash

Sure, this all sounds great. But what do these look like in practice?

Here are some lessons Jamie took away from our annual fundraiser bash, The Red Ball. The 2019 theme was ‘Express Yourself’ and leaned towards a 70’s disco-era vibe. Read on for five strategies we used to create little touches that made this event unforgettable:

Give guests something to play with. During the live auction, every table had its very own rainbow slinky. This fun toy from the 70’s became perfect fidget fuel for guests to get nostalgic about. “None of them made it through the night,” said Jamie. “Everyone stole them!”

Consider every transitional space– like a staircase or hallway– part of the party. Every inch of the museum felt like it was part of The Red Ball experience– even the elevator, which was decked out with a cocktail table and mini-chandelier. The best part? Some guests even ate their dinners in there, moving between floors as they went.

Create an entrance that wows. Tinsel + Bubbles = Best Entrance Ever. “The most important part of the party is the first thing you see and feel. You want a ‘WOW’ right when people enter,” says Jamie. For The Red Ball, this looked like transforming the museum’s Xylophone Alley walkway into a disco paradise with glittering tinsel curtains and bubbles.

Add thoughtful party supplies in unexpected places. When guests stepped away from The Hustle for a bathroom break, they found glammed out disco boxes packed with essentials like Advil, bobby pins, and hand sanitizer.

Transform everyday spaces by changing up the lighting. If you’re hosting a party in a familiar, well-loved space like your garage– or in our case, the museum– it’s important to transform the venue so it doesn’t feel like an everyday experience. One tactic The Red Ball squad took was to place pink, purple, and red gels over lights in the Garden Room. “Guests literally saw the room in a different light, and it made it feel special even though it was so simple,” says Jamie.

Rent the MAH For Your Next Party

Bring your own little touches to your next birthday bash or gathering at the MAH.