How to Host like Kevin Mignone of KM Productions
You may not know Kevin Mignone by name but you have most likely been to a concert, festival, or special event where he was the behind the scenes mastermind producer. Owner and founder of KM Productions, Kevin has built a business on creating awe and shock for every kind of event through lighting, music, video and set design. From working with big time musicians and DJ’s like Tiesto, to producing some of the largest festivals around the country, like Governor’s Ball, Kevin has honed his creative passion for partying through lighting, technology and all sorts of electronic magic like no one else in the biz.
After attending a fabulous evening under the stars for the Battery Park X Hermes charity gala, I wanted to get to know the tall, bearded man behind this and many other amazing evenings in NYC, and, of course, how he brings the party home.
As a someone who has been at the helm for the creative direction and production of some of the largest, most elegant events in NYC, what are three things you have learned to be true no matter the size of an event or reason for a get together? I.E. some tried and true tips for the at home hostess or host?
Lighting layers – Creating separate lighting layers in the room is always good practice but it is especially important for dinner parties. This means using light sources at different height levels, which can be as simple as using votives on the tabletop and dimming the overhead lights to a glow. Doing this yields the best results for moody ambience and depth in photos.
Music levels – Be aware of your music levels. A party is only as good as the people there, so make sure everyone can hear each other easily. You don’t want your guests shouting at each other over the music.
The wow factor – Always have a wow factor at your event. This could be fireworks or revealing a beautifully set dinner table after cocktails in a separate space. Guests remember experiences so make sure to leave a lasting impression with something unexpected.
You make a living as a party expert, what is your favorite kind of get together to throw for yourself and loved ones?
Honestly, when it comes to personal parties my philosophy is the simpler the better. I focus on the core elements, such as good food, cold drinks and great conversation.
What is one drink or dish you always serve at home?
I’m a bourbon on ice kind of guy but I realize that not all my guests share the same predilection. Since I keep it on hand in the house, I created a Bourbon Lemonade cocktail, which is a combination of ginger beer, lemon, grated ginger and bourbon. It has been known to turn non-bourbon drinkers into fans!
If there is one thing that is a must for any party, what would it be?
Good music has been and will always be the number one “must” for any event, whether it comes from a playlist or a live band.
You’re known to friends and family as bringing in a very personal, thoughtful touch into your own personal party planning. Tell us about the recent engagement party you threw?
My partner and I recently hosted a Stock the Bar party for our newly engaged friends. We wanted the event to stand out from the usual onslaught of engagement parties as fun, rather than obligatory, so we went with a less serious theme. We served home cooked bites in family silver, we went to the flower market and made the arrangements and we had catering keep the wine and “His and Her” signature cocktails flowing so we could enjoy the party. I personally installed the bistro lights outside and managed the playlist.
The biggest hit, by far, was the gif booth. I know a lot of people will dismiss this as an option out of their price range but there are ways to reduce cost. First, we asked the company to come down in price if we agreed to pay in full upon booking, which saved us $350.00. Then we elected to design the graphics, an option that anyone with knowledge of Photoshop can do, and saved an additional $200.00. Lastly, we saved another $250.00 by creating our own metallic silver backdrop by hanging foil streamers from Party City.
Tell us a little more about your favorite ways to personalize and make any kind of event a little more unique and special for guests?
As an event producer I tend to focus more on the technical side of DIY elements. While I wouldn’t advise a large light install, anyone can drape bistro lights over low-hanging tree branches with lights from Home Depot or Amazon to create a beautifully simple, yet elevated ambiance.
Another technical DIY hit is a personalized SnapChat geo filter. There are many websites dedicated to helping the technically challenged to help create a beautiful and completely personal filter for their event. My favorite is www.pepperfilters.com. Once you have your filter you submit it for approval via the SnapChat website. This never fails to impress guests.
If you could party with anyone dead or alive who would it be and why?
Prince. Hands down. It would be incredible to be around someone so musically gifted. Secondly, the man knew no boundaries, creatively or otherwise – you know he knew how to have a good time.