Monday, June 7, 2010

Josh's Vintage Baseball Bar Mitzvah: Part One

I had such a great time working on this amazing Design Consulting project. I had produced a Bar Mitzvah for this family's older son three years ago so I was already familiar with their aesthetic and the more sophisticated vibe they like, so when Josh's mom said he liked baseball, but didn't want to go "over the top," I knew just where I wanted to go with the design.

I started the Style Story by offering two different theme choices: Vintage Baseball and Pinstripe Prep. The family flipped for the Vintage Baseball concept because it encompassed all of the key baseball elements that Josh loves but without being too overt with the theme. I wanted to style the party with color and texture rather than images as is most common with Bar/Bat Mitzvah decor so I picked tones that had an antique feel and materials with a rustic finish.

I'll start with the most thematic elements. My client had a great monogram from their save the date card that they gave to me to work with. The first thing was taking the monogram and finding the "kid friendly" manifestation of it so we could print it on favors and the like. My idea was putting the monogram as the insignia on a distressed baseball cap. So, my talented illustrator Heather came up with just the right hand-drawn image.

Next, my plan for keeping the party thematic, but not too "in your face" was to theme the escort card table, the bar and the sign-in area so that we could just make the dinner tables beautiful and elegant without too much theme-y stuff. First up was finding just the right vintage baseball imagery to use as a jumping off point for these areas. One of my great design assistants, Amanda, found a photo of an old-fashioned baseball scoreboard and immediately all of the pieces of the puzzle fell into place in my head. The icing on the cake was my discovery of brilliant stationery designer Carolina Della Valle of ModernPress's collection of wood escort cards, menus and table numbers.

This is the image that originated the idea, followed by my translation.

And.... the real thing.

For the sign-in area, I couldn't stop thinking about the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. It took me a while to put all of the elements in place, but once I found these Hall of Fame World Series plaques at a good price online, my vision finally worked itself out. The production team was not too happy about the wood paneling, but it had to be done! Guests signed the copper plaque featuring the Bar Mitvah boy, giving him a keepsake he'll actually want to keep.

The bar came together when I saw an image of a baseball dugout in which the batting helmets were stored in wooden cubbies while the players were in the field. I became obsessed with this image for some strange reason and couldn't sleep until I figured out what to do with it. Building this cubbie contraption onsite was no party, but the end result was exactly how I imagined it.

All event photos by Gustavo Campos

These thematic elements set the tone for the party without hitting guests over the head with BASEBALL!!! and JOSH!!! AHHH!!! Stay tuned for more images from this amazing celebration and see how the dining environment turned out.

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