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Confetti: Elegant Island

Quiet decor makes a loud statement

When she designed the look of a high-end, Hawaiian-themed bat mitzvah, event stylist/floral designer Kathy Whalen incorporated decor that matched the sophistication level of the 190 guests. Using unusual foliage, she transformed a tennis club in South Orange, N.J., into an elegant island setting.

Rather than use an abundance of brightly colored flowers commonly associated with Hawaiian events, Whalen, head of Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Nature's Daughter, adopted a more limited palette focusing on multitoned greens.

"The green objects made a very loud statement in that they were very quiet," she says. "The bananas were a brilliant green, while the leaves underneath were dark green," creating a dramatic contrast. Whalen used monstera leaves as place mats and banana leaves as table runners. She braided the tent poles with kentia palm fronds. "It was a color story," she says, "but an atypical interpretation of a color story."

Sand-colored tablecloths of slubbed raw silk covered 20 4-by-12-foot tables, providing a neutral background for matte-finish orange satin service plates. The matte satin finish "was much more fitting than porcelain," Whalen says. "It had an earthy feeling that blended - it became a decorative item on the table." She chose eggplant-colored glasses for the red wine and lime green glasses for the water. Party Rental Ltd. of Teterboro, N.J., provided rentals.

The decor wasn't the only tropical element of the party. With the area's average May temperature range topping out at a mild 72 degrees, an unseasonable hot spell came as a surprise. "We had fans for decor," Whalen says, "and it ended up being 95 degrees!" Consequently, the fans were on full blast.

"Every little piece added to the picture, and none of them was over-stated," she adds. "The sum was greater than the parts."


Planners looking to add the rich flavors of New England to their next event will appreciate the booklet "How to Host a Maine Lobster Bake." This handy booklet provides a list of required ingredients for an authentic lobster bake as well as recipes for complementary menu items such as Downeast Clam Chowder. A checklist of cooking and serving supplies and a list of point-of-purchase materials are included, in addition to a list of companies with related products. Visit the Maine Lobster Promotion Council's Web site at for a downloadable version of the booklet, or contact its Bangor, Maine, office at 207/947-2966 for more information about obtaining a booklet. A small shipping fee applies.

Toronto-based Ryerson Polytechnic University has joined with The George Washington University, based in Washington, to offer an event management certificate program. Ryerson is the latest university to team up with GWU. Other universities that have adopted the program are the University of San Diego, San Diego, and Universidade Metropolitana, San Juan, Puerto Rico. Core courses include Best Practices in Event Management; Event Coordination; Catering, Design and Coordination; and Internet Event Marketing. To learn more about the program, call Lorra Jean-Price at the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Ryerson Polytechnic University, 416/979-5041.

Balloon professionals the world over will be inspired at the 17th annual International Balloon Arts Convention slated for March 7-11 at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare in Rosemont, Ill. Last year, more than 1,400 people from 41 countries attended, the most attendees in the convention's history. This year, guests can expect to find more than 80 educational classes, including 54 new classes, with titles such as Combining Flowers & Balloons and Dazzling Dancefloor Treatments.

IBAC 2001 is sponsored by Wichita, Kan.-based Pioneer Balloon and is produced by Don Cheeseman and Marie Mandoli of San Francisco-based The Balloon Lady, Rocky Toomey of Honolulu-based Ballooney Tunes and Jay Erlandson of Columbus, Ohio. For more information, contact IBAC at 800/458-4222 or 614/840/0868 or visit

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