Sunday, May 23, 2010

From the Vault: Adam's Bar Mitzvah

As I am putting the finishing touches on a Bar Mitzvah for next weekend, I was thinking about one of my very favorite Bar Mitzvah design projects from a number of years ago. Adam's celebration was at the legendary Tavern on the Green, which closed at the end of 2009, and while it was a phenomenal place for any celebration, it was not without it's share of serious design challenges... particularly when the Bar Mitzvah boy wants a Homer Simpson theme!

Whimsical escort table was placed outside the ballroom on the patio where cocktails took place. The colorful flower balls and wheatgrass hinted at the decor to come.

Tavern's decor was colorful and busy and just plain over the top - that's what made it famous. But, unless you intended to do something pretty simple there, it is quite a challenge to "blend," shall we say. In addition, most of the rooms had to be joined to one another, thus achieving an ideal layout was tricky. So, I had my work cut out for me. Not to mention... HOMER!!

If you've been reading for a while, you know how I feel about foam core centerpieces, so I wanted to come up with something that conveyed the theme clearly, but wasn't quite as overt as literally cutting Homer out of foam would be. I wanted it to be whimsical and fun, but still appropriate for adults since they made up more than half of the guest list. So, in one of my "wouldn't it be cool if..." rants, I thought it would definitely be cool to cut the characters out of colored acrylic. Their shapes are so recognizable that even without details it would be easy to identify the Simpson family and the acrylic would work with the best asset of the room - floor to ceiling windows - and allow light to pass through.

When I use so many bright colors, I like to do what I call "color blocking" so that tables are zoned mono-chromatically. This allows me to use a lot of color without making the room look too busy. For this party I used all of the graphic cartoon colors for the linens and the flowers and then kept the "Simpson Blue" reserved for the acrylic pieces.

The only place where foam core was a must was for the bar. We wanted to pay homage to Homer's favorite hang-out, so there was no way to go except to build a Moe's Tavern facade for Tavern's existing bar. Guests got drinks in glass beer mugs with a custom-made "Adam and Homer" logo (Adam's face was Simpson-ized!) and faux "Duff" cans were part of the display.

Because it is really not a party without a cool cake, the talented Cynthia Peithman of Cakeline designed this tiered confection featuring all of Homer's signature favorites... bowling balls, remote controls, Duff beer and, of course, donuts!

All photos by Lotus Photographers

Having never really been much of a Simpson's fan, I had to do some serious homework for this party... calls to old college friends and friends-of-friends helped quite a bit as did hours of tireless internet searches on everything Homer. You never know what sorts of interesting things you'll learn in this line of work...

Have a great week!

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