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Monday, February 21, 2011

Our house, your house

My mom likes to tell me stories of how, before I was born, she and my dad would frequently host “open houses.” They’d invite all their friends over one weekend afternoon, they could come and go as they pleased, sample the food and drinks (which my parents provided), wander from room to room and conversation to conversation, listen to the music (probably blasting from our wood-paneled, sofa-sized record player/stereo), and generally hang out with the purpose of escaping life’s drudgeries in the company of friends. It’s a fun story to hear and it tells me one thing about my parents.

They were a lot more fun before I came around.

But perhaps more important than my familial transitions, and definitely more relevant to you, is that open houses are a great time. Like the Miller-Ward open house the Emory Alumni Association (EAA) hosted on Saturday, February 19.

The open house was the first major public event announcing the Miller-Ward Alumni House’s availability as a center for weddings, receptions, business meetings, and other special events for members of the Emory community.

For more information about how to reserve Miller-Ward for your event or to schedule a tour, send an email to millerwardhouse@emory.edu or call 404.727.6400.

Like my parents’ open houses of years past, our friends (all of whom received a Miller-Ward gift/information bag for attending … if you’d like one of your own, email us ... again at millerwardhouse@emory.edu) roamed throughout, embracing the friendly atmosphere with every step. Our guests were diverse, too: prospective brides (and their parents) checking out the facility and how it would sparkle in photos; alumni scouting the roominess of our rooms—state-of-the-art yet elegant—mentally determining their functionality; and even a handful of students made their first trip to the house, which, upon graduation, will be their home away from home as Emory alumni.

The Will Scruggs Jazz Fellowship jammed throughout the two-hour event (no record player in sight), and a host of vendors kept glasses and plates full with a variety of tasty, nourishing samples, all of which are available to customers. They include: Affairs to Remember Catering, Atlanta Wholesale Wine, Big Boat Wine Company, Carole Parks Catering, Classic Party Rentals, Masterpiece Events, National Distributing Company, Nicole’s Events, and Peachtree Tents.

I staffed the registration table and did my share of wandering myself. I’ve worked at Miller-Ward for more than five years and am constantly amazed at how the facility transforms itself depending on what it needs to be. The house can go from elegant (fancy tablecloths and ornate flower arrangements have rarely looked better than at Miller-Ward) to businesslike literally in hours.

Sometimes, like on Saturday afternoon, it’s both. Governor’s Hall, the focal point of all the action, was the inviting, ornate-yet-comfortable centerpiece it always is, and our upstairs meeting rooms were both professional and stylish. Even our new upstairs bridal suite is a shining star. And I must admit that, yes, I stood in front of the bridal suite’s huge mirror more than once just to see if my shirt was tucked in right (one time, it wasn’t and the necessary adjustments were made).

All in all, it was a remarkably successful afternoon.

That evening, after I got home, I called my mom to update her on my weekend and I mentioned working the Miller-Ward open house.

“You know, your dad and I used to hold open houses all the time, I’ve told you that, right?” she said. It’s not that my mom has any memory issues, please don’t think that. She just likes family stories.

“You have,” I said. “But not for a while. What were they like?”

To see more photos from the event, visit our alumni photo page.

-- Eric Rangus, director of communications, EAA

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