brilliant bash

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Brilliant Bash: Vibrant Bat Mitzvah July 5, 2011

And we’re back!

Well, the move from Toronto to St. John’s is still in progress, but I’m finally settled in enough to start the blog up again.  And this is a lovely event to help me kick off the summer party season.

Event planner Angela Zaltsman and event stylist (owner of Hazlitt Vintage Rentals) Selena Hazlitt sent along the details of this fabulous bat mitzvah that took place just a few weeks ago in Toronto.  This event is stylish, creative and inviting – what more could you ask for?

Welcome to the party!


Vibrant Table Settings

Gorgeous Spring Flowers

Candy Bar

Sweet Sweets

Pretty Pink Cupcakes

Stylish Refreshments (Straws from Brilliant Bash)

Marley’s family wanted to host her Bat Mitzvah somewhere unique and memorable, so they selected their very own backyard.  Inspired by Martha Stewart’s creativity, the team designed a fun, chic outdoor luncheon for 140 friends and family. 

A few notes from Angela and Selena on the bash:

A custom-built barn board directional sign greeted guests and welcomed them into the home. Hot pink and white balloons filled the front yard.

Touches of vintage decor set the relaxed, casual tone.   Clear vintage canning jars were used for the flower arrangements of Festivus Maximus peony blooms and table numbers.  More than 85 jars were over-flowing with peony blooms scattered throughout the tables. 

Place cards were attached to small jars of homemade strawberry-rhubarb jam for guest favours.  The jam, from a local farm, was homemade and fabulous.  The place cards were displayed on a pine harvest table stacked with wood soda crates and wicker picnic baskets. 

Guests were treated to signature drinks of lemonade from the “ol’ fashioned lemonade stand.”  The lemonade stand featured a custom sign with Marley’s name on it, a soda case for serving drinks and galvanized tubs for holding ice and wine.

White tents with white floors and linens looked crisp while gorgeous magenta table cloths brought the tent to life.  Marley’s Aunt Paula and mother pulled together a fabulous array of candy that was presented to guests.  There were line-ups to fill their magenta polka dot bags with goodies! 

All in all, the party was the talk of the neighbourhood!

Bash Location-  Backyard of Family Home in Toronto
Bash Planner – A to Z Event Management
Caterer- Encore
Decor Sources- Hazlitt Vintage Rental, Balloon Boutique and Brilliant Bash
Flower Sources – Lilium
Photographer – Hudson Taylor
Videographer – Redstone
Rentals – AdvancedExclusive  and Around The Table
Cupcakes – Short and Sweet
Entertainment – Mysterion
DJ – Magen Boys Entertainment
Gardens and Planters – Josh Martin


Vendor Spotlight: Cynthia Martyn Events April 10, 2011

One of my favourite wedding magazines is WedLuxe Magazine.  Their gorgeous photo shoots and real weddings are out of this world.  Time and time again, I noticed that events styled by Cynthia Martyn were popping up in the magazine and online.

Cynthia Martyn is a Toronto-based event designer with an exquisite style sensibility.  Cynthia and her team touch on every element of each special event, from the initial budget planning, venue selection and vendor management, to the styling and design of stationery, flowers and decor, and then expertly manage the dozens of suppliers, family members and friends to ensure the big day proceeds flawlessly.

Cynthia’s style is lush, romantic, and vibrant yet soft.  Her events are distinctive and magazine-worthy.  Just a few selections of beautiful event styling from Cynthia Martyn Events:


Breathtaking Table Setting


Fun, chic styling


Golden Goddess




Creative (and tasty) Centrepiece

You can follow Cynthia’s work on her blog or Facebook page.

Photos courtesy of Cynthia Martyn Events.

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The Latest: Interactive Refreshment Stations March 27, 2011

One of the trends that is gaining quick popularity this year is the presence of interactive food and drink stations at special events.

Not only can these stations add visual interest to an event, they also add a participatory element to your guests’ experience, inviting them to “make their own” cupcakes, fondue, bagels, cocktails, etc.  Interactive refreshment stations allow your guests to customize their food/drinks to their own personal tastes.  And who doesn’t love that?

Some fabulous examples to inspire you:

Custom Bagel Bar (via Luna and Chloe Weddings):

Bagel Bar: Guests can make their own breakfast bagels

Fondue “Fundo” Party (via Amy Atlas Special Events):

Fondue Party: Fun and tasty for your guests

Smoothie Bar (via Hip Hooray Blog):

DIY: Smoothie Bar


Art Birthday with DIY Food Palettes (via Hostess Blog):


Art Party: Make your own food "palette"

Brunch Birthday (via The Sweetest Occasion):

Interactive Pancake Station

Customized Pancakes

Baking Party Birthday (via Amy Atlas Events):

Baking Party: Fun for all ages

S’Mores Spectacular (via Cookie Creatives):

Decadent DIY S'Mores Station

DIY Ice Dream Parlour (via Eat Drink Chic):

Pink & Pretty Ice Cream Parlour

Choose your own toppings!

Champagne Bar (via Eat Drink Pretty):

DIY Mimosas & Bellinis

These interactive food/drink stations are so much fun.  If you plan to try this concept at one of your events, make sure you have the time/staff to clean up the station periodically, as guests can often be very messy.  It would also be wise to have a helper nearby to assist small children and older guests who need help with the station.

I can’t wait to see the new ideas that come with spring and summer entertaining this year!

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Brilliant Bash: Night Owl Pajama Party February 27, 2011

Anj Snow of the Snowy Bliss blog recently designed an out-of-this-world birthday for her daughter.  The theme of the bash was “Night Owl Pajama Party” and the amount of creativity and detail in this party is outstanding.

Check out this fabulous, functional table setting, the remarkable cake and decor, and the warm and fuzzy guest favours that Anj made all by herself.  She even created “adoption” cards for each of the pet owls she made for the guests – adorable!

Dream Birthday Table

Dreamy Details

Handmade Chandelier Ornaments

Vibrant, Personalized Table Settings

Owl Theme Cake

Fabulous Favours

Owl Adoption Cards

Movie Time with New Friends!

What Anj says about her party planning process:

I start with an idea about three or four months ahead.  I don’t make any specific plans at first; I just stick the theme in my brain and let it marinate for awhile.  Eventually, I work through the problems and new ideas start to come. I keep a folder in my car, in case inspiration suddenly strikes and I can jot it down.  When there are about two months to go before the party, I write down a party plan.  I give myself deadlines, etc.  I started the owls for this pajama party about three weeks before the celebration.  A big portion of the time was spent just coming up with the 13 different owls, their designs and what to write on the adoption cards.  I was even picky about the felt color combinations.  But that is the fun part of the creative process for me.

Way to go, Anj!  Your daughter and her friends are very lucky girls.

For Anj’s full blog post about this bash, including a link to a tutorial for the felt owls, please visit her blog here.

Photos Courtesy of Snowy Bliss

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Valentine’s Day Inspiration February 9, 2011

Over the past few weeks, I’ve seen some adorable ideas for Valentine’s Day weddings and home entertaining, so this is a round-up of my favourite heart-shaped inspiration:

From One Charming Party

Valentine's Pizza

From Martha Stewart Living

Heart-Shaped Cuteness

From Audrey’s Edible Creations

Pretty, simple way to use a heart on your wedding treats

Heart-Shaped Table Numbers

Creative Touch

And from The Sweetest Occasion

Lovey Dovey Whoopies

These are all very simple projects to create at home.  Please post your Valentine’s project pics on our Facebook page and share the love!

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Brilliant Bash: Game Night February 6, 2011

Last night, we hosted a Game Night for a small group of friends.  I had so much fun planning this one, as I didn’t get too crazy with the details.  For decor inspiration, I looked to one of my favourite entertaining books, InStyle Parties, which has a great section on game nights.

Game Night!

Stack 'o' Games

Cozy Times

The colour scheme was red, black and white, with a black and white polka dot motif throughout (inspired by dice).  My husband’s grandmother gave us a beautiful vase from Pottery Barn for our wedding that has a small vase within the vase, which allowed me to jazz up the flowers while incorporating the party theme.  I placed dice and domino tiles inside the outer vase, while flowers and water were inside the inner vase.  Strategic placing of Scrabble tiles, playing cards, poker chips, and black and white polka dot cupcake wrappers helped to pull the theme together throughout the room, without creating too much work.

Poker Pedestal

Fun & Prizes

We wanted a casual, laid-back atmosphere, so I didn’t go so far as to include any hot items on the menu.  Most of the food was purchased from a grocery store, with the exception of the gluten-free domino brownies that I baked and decorated.  I also decorated the chocolate-stuffed shortbreads with red cookie icing in order to tie in the game theme.

Tasty Delights

Queen of Candies

Treat Tower

Cookie Close-up

Chips & Dips

Doughnut Tower

Poker Chips & Polka Dots

From the Top


Domino Brownies


More Brownie Action


Cheese Please


Even the vases are in on the game action


Treat Table

My husband created a cocktail menu with a die next to each beverage listing.  Guests rolled the die to determine which cocktail he would create next.  Very cute idea.  He also mixed a hot drink of apple cider and Pimm’s Winter, garnished with a dried apple slice.  As a non-alcoholic alternative, we offered milk in cute little milk jugs with black and white polka dot straws.  Yum!


Polka Dot Milk

Fun Times!

Game Night was not a lot of work to design, but was so much fun to plan and participate in.  It’s also seasonally appropriate, as the weather in Toronto is brutally cold and snowy right now, so it’s a great time to cozy up by the fire and enjoy a few cocktails and boardgames with friends.  Hot toddy, anyone?

Photos by Brilliant Bash

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Brilliant Bash: Big Balloon Birthday January 27, 2011

Kori from Paper and Pigtails recently designed a gorgeous balloon-themed first birthday for her son Holden.  Wow.  What a fabulous party she created!

The cool blue hues, show-stopping desserts and huge round balloons make this a party that could work for children of many age groups and could be done at home – with help from Kori’s paper designs, of course.

What Kori had to say about her bash:

“I really wanted a sweet, simple, and traditional theme. You can’t get much more “traditional” than balloons, but I knew I should stick with a few colors to keep it sweet and simple. I created the invite first and built the whole party around it! I found large 36″ balloons online in our colors [you can find them here], used white and light blue table coverings, and did simple decorations throughout the house.  We cut large circles from scrap booking paper and added yarn to make it look like balloons sticking on the walls, and used yarn as the “balloon strings”.

It was mid afternoon, so we were able to keep the food to a few young age snacks and desserts (mostly). We played a game of pin the string on the large balloon circle cut outs and the kids loved it!

All in all, it was an amazing day with amazing friends and wonderful family and we have plenty of photos to show my little guy as he gets older.”


Photography – Courtney Vickers

All Paperie Designs – Paper & Pigtails

Large Balloon Cookies – Bees Knees Creative

Small Sugar Cookies – Better Bit Of Butter

Large BalloonsBalloon Dealer

Table Runners – Straight Stitch

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