When I was asked my by building’s landlord to help plan and execute a fundraising event in our building, I was very excited. When I said, “Yes,” I had no idea that the event was only 10 days away and in an unfinished, unfurnished space. Long hours, late nights, and tons of help from Maggie at detailsbymaggie, we were able to execute a gorgeous gala. I would like to share with you some of our challenges, and how we were able to, in Tim Gunn’s words, ‘Make It Work!”
BEFORE: When we first walked into the empty room, there were unpainted walls, dirty concrete floors, a basketball hoop, and no electricity.
AFTER: The fundraiser was a big success for the Alzheimer Association.
The decor was our final touch. (To read more about our challenges and solutions, please read to the end of this post). The Alzheimer colors, white and purple, were draped from the ceiling with just enough lighting to be functional yet cozy and intimate. Candles and fresh flowers added the right amount of color to the tables. Maggie’s final touch- the Gobo light with the Alzheimer’s gala theme “An Affair to Remember” was the cherry on top!
They were kind enough to send Maggie and I a few Thank You notes:
“Dear Jan: Without you and Maggie the Art Gala would have been less a gala and more just another function. Thank you for your generous spirit, hardwork, and sharing of your talent. On behalf of the Alzheimer’s Association, it was truly appreciated.” – Barbara (Alzheimer Assoc.)
“Dear Jan & Maggie: Many thanks to both of you for an outstanding job pulling together a remarkable event space for our Gala. It was a pleasure meeting and working with both of you and I look forward to working together.” – Estella (Alzheimer Assoc).
“Dear Maggie: One of my favorite moments when producing a play is that pause before the door is open- the house is ready- the stage is lit- and all is ready and you know the enjoyment that others will have because of what you have done. I hope you and Jan shared that moment after all the draping and stringing of lights, and moving of tables… Thank you for all that you did!” – Barbara
Here are some of the specific challenges and solutions associated with this event. I hope they help you with your next party or special event.
THE CHALLENGE: Create a floor plan that worked. We had two silent auctions, passed and stationary hors d’eourves, a wine bar, guest speakers, a sign in table, and a string trio. We wanted people to come in and move through the space, bid on the auction items, and enjoy the entertainment and refreshments.
THE FLOW: To help with the accoustics of the room, we located the string trio in the middle of the space, against the wall. The mic and podium were also in this centralized location to ensure all the attendees could see.
Putting the bar and a stationary hors d’eourves table at the rear of the room encouraged people to move entirely through the space.
A combination of tall cocktail tables and short small tables and chairs ensured a great mix of conversation and comfort. Having the two silent auctions set up in different locations, one at the front of the room, the other in the middle, gave participants a chance to breathe between bids, and relieve the possibility of a traffic jam.