At the celebration of Chelsea Darnell becoming a Bat Mitzvah, a significant rite of passage when a Jewish girl turns 12 and is recognized as an adult, it was all about fun—from the moment the guests picked up their escort cards tucked inside clown noses.
That was our thinking when we dreamed up a “Carnival in Candy Land” for Chelsea, set at the Los Angeles-area’s Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, California.
Stilt walkers, jugglers and clowns entertained guests throughout the festive celebration. Parents and children alike enjoyed making action flip books, playing arcade games, and munching on Menchie’s Yogurt and Tommy’s burgers and fries. But the biggest hit of all was the carnival tent: games, prizes, candy bars, a popcorn machine, Karaoke, fortunetellers and henna tattoo artists.
When the doors to the dining room opened, the guests were ushered into a dream world of sweets and whimsy: with candy tree centerpieces, aerialists performing acrobatics and a liquid-fusion dance floor. The party rocked late into the night, and the crowd went wild for the duet performed by Katie Stevens and Casey Abrams of “American Idol” fame.
Judaism teaches its youth to take an active role in healing the world. For her Bat Mitzvah, Chelsea decided to help children fighting cancer by supporting Caps for Kids, a non-profit that distributes baseball hats signed by celebrities to children with cancer.
Not only did guests get a ball cap to raise awareness for the cause, but also, with the help of her parents, Chelsea secured coveted “American Idol” signatures for extra-special caps that put smiles on many children’s faces. And after the party wrapped, many guests donated stuffed animals and carnival prizes to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and other organizations dedicated to healing kids. Welcome to the grown-up world, Chelsea!
Event planning and design: Moments by Wayne Gurnick
Photography: Evan Guston Photography
Film: Doug Brannigan, Envision Productions
Wayne Gurnick is the founder of Moments by Wayne, a wedding, event planning and design company based in Los Angeles, California. With a passion for design, a sensitive eye for detail and a calm and organized demeanor, Wayne works closely with those planning a celebration to help them realize their vision. Recently chosen as an A-List Planner by Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, he has been featured by The Huffington Post, Destinations I Do, The Knot and Grace Ormond Wedding Style. Wayne was voted Best Wedding Planner in Los Angeles, Best Wedding Planner in California and Top 10 Wedding Planner Worldwide by Wedding Industry Experts 2012 Awards.
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