Famous writer Hans Christian Andersen once said, “To travel is to live,” and if that’s the case, thirteen-year-old Shayna Indyg has been living and living well! She has traveled all around the globe with her parents, each new place she visits filling her with fresh wonder and fascination. As strong as Shayna’s taste for travel is her passion for fashion, so when it came time for Kristin Barse of Bel Momento Weddings and Special Events to plan her cousin Shayna’s Bat Mitzvah, a fashion and travel themed celebration was the one way ticket! Held at One Atlantic in Atlantic City, New Jersey, each quarter of the ballroom was decorated to represent a different land or country, a food station set up in each section to offer the cuisine of its region. Various artists displayed their talents at the event, including fashion sketch artist Brooke Hagel,who created the drawing of Shayna featured on much of the party’s printed products. Catch a flight to a truly out of this world celebration with these photos by Marie Labbancz!
Can you give us an overview of the event?
I have been planning events through my company, Bel Momento Weddings and Special Events since 2005. It was such an honor and exciting time to be able to help my cousin Shayna with the planning of her Bat Mitzvah! This would be the first full scale event I had the pleasure to work on for my own family and so it meant so very much to me to create this event to be all she dreamed it to be and more! This celebration was a three day weekend long event. The theme the entire weekend was fashion and travel. It began on Friday evening with Erev Shabbat Service and Catered Dinner with a Vintage Parisian decor and details for 60 guests. Saturday was the Bat Mitzvah Service and Kiddush Luncheon to follow, tables were dressed in bright pink linens, dress forms, and florals, and tables named for some of Shayna’s favorite designers for approximately 150 guests. These two events were held at Beth Israel Congregation in Vineland, NJ. The caterer and florist for these events (which were not photographed due to restrictions) were different then the final evening event – the celebration. Sunday Dec 2nd was the celebration event, hosted at One Atlantic at The Pier at Caesars in Atlantic City. The goal for the event was to invite our guests to experience a night full of special moments and entertainment that surprised not only our guests but also our guest of honor Shayna.
Was there a specific theme or style?
The theme was Fashion & Travel Around the World. Guests first received a glimpse of the event that lied ahead when they received their invite highlighting the 3 day long event. The invite featured a fashion designer inspired logo – Shayna Reisella – International House of Couture – with major fashion cities highlighted and shadowed in the background. As guests arrived to the main event they were welcomed to enjoy the talents and custom gifts created by our talented artists brought in to represent the Fashion and Travel theme. Miyuki, a Japanese candy artist traveled in to create edible art through her amazing talents – everyone walked away with several pieces from her…Brooke Hagel, fashion sketch artist, was also a huge hit! The plasma screens in the cocktail reception also highlighted photos of Shayna through the years with family and friends and on her many travels across the globe. The ballroom was designed to feel as though you were traveling the globe as you walked the room. Each quarter of the ballroom featured a different country or region – Latin America, Italy, France, and Israel – the guest tables in each section featured a distinct centerpiece to represent each region and tables were named after cities in those countries/regions. Guests enjoyed stationed dinner and each section of the ballroom guests found a food station to highlight the same area as the dining tables. Each guest place setting featured a custom designed fashion inspired magazine with a fashion sketch by Brooke Hagel of Shayna on the front cover. This magazine included a “letter from the editor” Shayna, followed by the menu for the night by country, the entertainment for the night, and photos of Shayna and her travels around the world.
What inspired the theme or style?
I think Shayna’s welcome letter in her custom magazine which was highlighted on each guests place setting explains the selection of this theme best – “Welcome, I want to thank all of my wonderful guests for coming today to share in the celebration of my Bat Mitzvah. After thoughtful consideration, I decided the most fitting theme for this event would include fashion and travel – my two favorite things! First, I chose travel, because for as long as I can remember, I have been traveling with my mom and dad to interesting places all around the world. So far I have enjoyed traveling with them to six different countries and many states in the US. With each new destination, I am always fascinated by the diverse cultures and interesting customs of the people who live there. Secondly, I chose to include fashion into my Bat Mitzvah because I have a passion for fashion! I just had to incorporate the concept of fashion into my Bat Mitzvah. So I blended my two favorite things to create one fabulous party theme: Fashion and Travel Around the World.”
What were your playful twists that made the event unique?
The amazing decor from Beautiful Blooms that highlighted all areas of the event space, the custom Magazine and all the printed details from Just Be Design Studio, the Reveal Film showing Shayna traveling the Globe by CinemaCake, and our unique artists making custom fashion and travel inspired take home gifts all enhanced the theme and in a unique and playful way that still has guests talking about all the highlights this event provided…it was like no Bat Mitzvah they had been to before.
Did you DIY any of the details?
We did not, we had so many talented artists to work with that truly helped us pull the theme of the weekend long celebration together with many personal touches and details.
What was the most memorable moment?
Shayna is a huge General Hospital fan. Her favorite characters on the show are Jason played by Steve Burton and Spinelli played by Bradford Anderson. We arranged to surprise Shayna and all the guests with a special visit from the two – it was the highlight of the event! Jason is known for wearing a black tshirt and jeans,it is his signature look, after dinner Shayna’s parents Barbara and Charlie changed into this look and took to the mic to share Shayna’s love for the show and these characters with the guests…they then shared they had a special message for Shayna…the large screens in the ballroom highlighted a video message from Steve and Bradford saying they were in California filming but thanks so much to Shayna for watching, sorry they couldn’t make it but congrats on her Bat Mitzvah. As everyone clapped and Shayna thought that was the surprise, Charlie announced that the General Hospital guys came through and welcomed them into the ballroom to a standing ovation of very excited guests! They serenaded and danced with Shayna, and spent the rest of the evening dancing and talking with guests and posing for numerous photos. It was by far the most memorable moment of the event!
Tell us about the food and desserts.
The three day event was entirely prepared as Glatt Kosher style. We worked hard with the talented chef at One Atlantic to design a menu that would taste amazing and highlight the global theme. So much wonderful food from cocktail hour to dessert, but here are highlights of the “Around the World Stations” at dinner: 1) ITALY – Fussili and penne pasta, choice of Marinara, pesto and herb cream sauce, sautéed vegetables, chicken & pulled veal, panko crusted chicken tenders with ketchup, honey mustard, and bbq. 2) LATIN AMERICA – Fajita bar, beef & chicken, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, guacamole, Spanish rice and black beans. 3) FRANCE – Osso Buco, carved leg of lamb, herticot verts, roasted red bliss potatoes. 4) ISRAEL – Moroccan beef cigars with cilantro aioli, roasted salmon, smoked tomato sauce, and a grilled assorted vegetable platter.
What kind of energy did your entertainment give the guests?
Cocktail hour began with the very talented Brian Fitz, electric violinist – playing everything from Justin Timberlake to Adele. Dinner reception introduced Elan Artists band – Rhythym Collective – they were able to play all the traditional Jewish dances, every song requested by Shayna for her candle lighting, and they had everyone dancing all night. We also had two party dancers from La Luna Dance Studio to dance with guests and give mini salsa lessons.
If there was one thing you could change, what would it be?
It was a wonderful three day weekend and it made the event feel even more special since it was celebrated over three days. If anything perhaps it would have been great to have had the event last a little longer, but isn’t that the sign of a great event? You don’t want it to end!
Event Planner: Bel Momento Weddings and Special Events | Photography: Marie Labbancz | Video: CinemaCake | Venue and Catering: One Atlantic | Linens: The Total Table | Chairs and Mirror Tables: Party Rental Ltd | Floral: Beautiful Blooms | Transportation: Atlantic Limo | Invitations and Printed Details: Just Be Design Studio | Band: Rhythym Collective through Elan Artists | Cocktail Hour Music: Brian Fitz through Brandywine Valley Talent | Candy Sculptor: Miyuki |Fashion Sketch Artist: Brooke Hagel | Green Screen Photos and Step and Repeat: Classic Photo Booth | Dancers: La Luna Dance Studio | Hair and Makeup: Kis Bridal