Mermaids, Ariel & Under the Sea Parties

One of my absolute favorites, Princess Ariel and Mermaid parties are always an absolute delight to pull together for a stunning Under the Sea Adventure. The blue and sea-foam green color palette lends itself well to most color compliments. So, if your little princess is a fan of pink, or red or yellow, you can easily mold the party to meet her Royal Highness’s needs.

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The Centerpieces

Florals are a must for this theme, as all princesses require beautiful fragrant buds and blooms. You may incorporate appropriate color specific vases to tie into your theme or add on accessories as a throwback to the sea. I love creating handmade unique sea mermaid tails with glittered scales to stick straight up from the arrangement, as if the mermaid is taking a dive into the blooms. I also love using clusters of roses interspersed with balloon bouquets in between.

The Sweets

Sweets for this event are key to bringing the theme to life. You can be creative with the cake, cupcakes, candy and chocolate selections, choosing color-coordinated treats to match the blue and green hues, as well as including shelled-looking options for a more literal themed conceptualization. The cake may be a any number of designs- a tiered fancy with yet another mermaid tail, or ombre’ scales on the outside, or a simple round with some of your daughter’s very own figurines- it all really depends on your guest count and how elaborate of decorations you wish to include. Or you may choose to forgo a cake altogether for a cupcake tower instead!

The Accessories

The accessories are really how you customize your event to bring out your personal unique elements. I always try to incorporate specific wishes of the Princess-of-Honor, sometimes using her own purses, figurines, pictures in frames. I also try to make use of simple tokens that represent the theme at hand. A typical mermaid or under the sea party will include, water-like linens, blue vases or aqua platters, sea-foam cake stands, sea shells, crab props and pictures, sand, goldfish, and so on…

Have a wave of a time planning your own sea mermaid adventure!

How to Make a Rustic Setting Chic | Photography by araimages.com

 

I recently had the pleasure of working with this adorable young couple in love to style their engagement party at The Villa in Woodland Hills, California. The venue featured a beautiful rustic backdrop for me to work my magic and it was quite fun making this Rustic Chic Vision come to life.

Some of the elements you will need to consider in re-creating your own rustic chic event are the following:

FLORALS

The design of florals must be in keeping with the overall party color scheme. I recommend the selection feature more earthy garden-type flowers in their natural state. Sunflowers and Lavender are two of the types of flowers I used in this particular design, partially because to me, this is a classic rustic combination, not to mention, they were some of the bride-to-be’s favorites.

CANDLES

Candles are often ignored or underused so to say in awakening a party and breathing life into it. Candles are the fancy crystal studded sash added to a wedding dress- without the expensive price-tag… they’re beautiful on their own, but add a certain je ne sais quoi- a warmth that no other element can fill.

There’s so many types, styles, colors, scents and styles of candles that the combinations used can sometimes make all the difference in a party or a theme. Sometimes one type or style works better on its own, other times variations work best playing off one another. You may consider a uniform spread out look to create an overall ambiance, or choose to cluster and create impact. For this rustic chic look, I opted for simple floating candles in shiny glass vases, because I wanted to use the slight opportunity to bring sparkle to an overall cottage-y setting. The varying heights of cylindrical glasses with lit floating candles worked stunning against the unfinished barn crates. Also, given the smaller venue size, I opted for a cluster of candles to drive home the theme and command attention to the focal piece- the gorgeous NAKED CAKE!

LINENS

Linen selections are often pivotal in creating a theme and rustic elegance is no exception. What is important for this chic barn-like look to make sense is the attention given to texture in linen options. Generally, this type of theme requires a textured, refined burlap linen, which is the ideal combination of rugged fabric woven into a format of timeless versatility.  Moreover, the fine china plated onto such a textured buttery material really illuminated the entire space beautifully.

FURNITURE PIECES

I generally like to throw in a few unique furniture pieces into the mix to add my special stamps to the design. This event was no exception with the beautiful natural wooden block  farm tables- no linens here! The table was commanding without any fuss, just family style plating with cute florals arranged in none other than MILK BOTTLES. It worked perfectly!

Hope this helps you bring your special event to life. I welcome your thoughts and comments on how to achieve rustic elegance.

- Dona

How to Setup a Sports Theme Party | Boy or Girl

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When you’re looking to design a sports party for your little athlete, it really doesn’t matter if the guest of honor is a boy or girl. You will focus more on the sport of choice and the color scheme that is predominant for that sport or opt for favored team colors.

Typically, athletic events are chalk full of fervent bright color schemes to rev team spirit. Boy sports parties typically range from football, basketball, soccer, baseball or golf parties, while girl sports party options include ballet, dance, cheer or gymnastics themes. As long as you remember to stick to the color scheme and keep things clean and streamlined, your little athlete will be super-amped for his/her sports debut!

Here’s the planning process:

FOOD

Food options should reflect what is customary for game day, from snack selections to sports drinks. Sports venues and stadiums typically offer hot dogs, shakes, chips, hoagies and sandwiches. Some fun side snacks are jerky, peanuts, cotton candy and sunflower seeds. Drink options involve the same thought process- its always fun to incorporate sports energy drinks and custom labels onto water bottles or on Powerade bottles.

SPORTS MEMORABILIA

Showcasing sports memorabilia at a sports party kicks off the party to a fabulous start, because it brings an air of athletic accomplishment and weight to the event. Depending on the sport of choice, you could feature speciality uniform components, shin guards, cleats, baseball bats and gloves, showcase trophies, selections of trophies, wands and batons, point toe shoes, golf glubs, tennis rackets, various balls, etc. Always remember to carve out a unique space for this showcase piece, so that it stands out and acts as part of your decor.

FUN DECOR ITEMS

A sports party screams for fun and unique sporty decorations, including balloons and flowers. Essentially, showstopping pieces to compliment a cool showstopping venue selection or location. Floral arrangements are not just for girls, so explore the possibility for your little All-Star.

Enjoy your little athlete and do reach out to me with ideas of your own sports extravaganza!

I DID IT AGAIN! HWTM FEATURE!!!!

host2 Greetings Fellow Friends,

Just wanted to share my elation at having been chosen by Hostess With The Mostess for a feature, AGAIN! It absolutely never gets old for me, and each feature is more exciting than the previous.

My recent 5th Cup Soccer Party was featured as one of five last week. Check out number four!

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You may click on the image to link to Hostess with the Mostess blog, or click here.

Details as told my HWTM |

This awesome soccer extravaganza was styled by Dona Beglarian of Celebrating Life by Dona in Los Angeles and captured in photos by Ara of Ara Images, araimages.com.

This All-Star Soccer Bash was nothing short of athletic perfection, a true sports party complete with game day memorabilia, unique setup and florals, stylized sports drinks and snacks selections and a fun craft to match. But probably one of the most stand out elements was the birthday boy’s “Give-Back” element, in lieu of traditional party favors- to KICK FOR HOPE.

  • Custom Half-Time Refreshments
  • Hoagies & Game-Time Snacks
  • A display of soccer accolades! Team Pics, Season End Trophies, Publication in CalSOUTH Soccer Magazine featuring birthday boy!
  • Memorabilia Maker: Fan Autographs
  • PARTY FAVORS | KICK FOR HOPE DONATION
  • Fan Buttons!
  • Themed Arts & Crafts | “Always Earned, Never Given” Motto:: Personalize Your Winning Medal
  • MVP Trophies

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A Soccer Party | The 5th Cup

This awesome soccer extravaganza was styled by Dona Beglarian of Celebrating Life by Dona in Los Angeles and captured in photos by Ara of Ara Images, araimages.com.

This All-Star Soccer Bash was nothing short of athletic perfection, a true sports party complete with game day memorabilia, unique setup and florals, stylized sports drinks and snacks selections and a fun craft to match. But probably one of the most stand out elements was the birthday boy’s “Give-Back” element, in lieu of traditional party favors- to KICK FOR HOPE.

Hope you enjoy this studded affair!

Fun Pix to Take Note of:

  • Custom Half-Time Refreshments

  • Hoagies & Game-Time Snacks

  • A display of soccer accolades! Team Pics, Season End Trophies, Publication in CalSOUTH Soccer Magazine featuring birthday boy!

  • Memorabilia Maker: Fan Autographs

  • PARTY FAVORS | KICK FOR HOPE DONATION

  • Fan Buttons!

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  • Themed Arts & Crafts | “Always Earned, Never Given” Motto:: Personalize Your Winning Medal

  • MVP Trophies

A Modern Henna Bandoon

Henna Bandoon :: Hannabandoon :: Hennabandoon :: Hanna Bandun :: Hennabandun

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The Henna Ceremony, an age old pre-wedding tradition, has various names and presentations in spelling, including but certainly not limited to, Henna Bandoon, Hannbandoon, Hennabandoon, Hanna Bandun and Hennabandun, by popular accounts. Similar to its many names, the tradition of the Henna Ceremony bears a strata of meanings in its overall practice and form among different cultures, and sometimes even within a single culture. The history of the Henna Bandoon extends far into the past, into the ancient villages of Iran and many Middle Eastern nations, and while it seems to have lost its popularity somewhat over time, it still bears deep meaning in practice and preservation of a fun cultural tradition. It may take place a few days before the wedding or more modernly as a small part of the  wedding “morning-of” festivities. A look at the unique nuances and meanings behind the elements of this Modern Day Henna Ceremony preceding an Armenian-Persian wedding, will hopefully revive the symbolic ancient practice and give modern day brides, particularly those living in the Diaspora, a thread of commonality and foundation back to their roots.

The Components

henna2 Featured above  is a  list of the components most commonly seen in modern-day Henna Bandoons. Each element above is named in both Armenian and English, with its corresponding representative meaning listed.

HENNA

Henna, was and still is symbolic of beautification and a marker of beauty.  Many cultures share the use of Henna to display intricate patterned-decorations on the body, most commonly on the palms. Another common use of Henna for beautification is for application to the hair to achieve depth in color. In the case of the Henna Bandoon, Henna is housed and displayed in a paste form in jeweled container and applied by the mother of the groom into the bride-to-be’s inner palm, as a sign that she is the beauty of their choosing. Modern day applications of the henna tend to be streamlined in design and often times more of a symbolic dot.

SANGAK:: BREAD:: WHEAT

Sangak, is a popular type of a Iranian wheat bread often topped with sesame seeds. With deep Middle Eastern roots, it is often selected for inclusion in Henna Bandoon ceremonies for its beautiful colorings and as a marker of prosperity. This traditional wheat bread is typically shaped into a rectangular shape and baked using hot gravel stones. This makes it easy to rework into pretty shapes, sometimes hearts or flowers or petals, both in its dough form and after it has already been baked. Bread in general and sprouts of wheat have taken on the role of prosperity in the Henna Ceremony, in the sense that the couple to be married will never go hungry and will have ample prosperity in the symbolic fulfillment of their appetites.

POMEGRANATE

For Armenians, the pomegranate is one of the most recognizable symbols of the country and a staple in Armenian households and recipes. The Pomegranate represents bounty, an offering on behalf of the bridegroom and the bride-to-be as they prepare to embark on their journey together. Henna spreads may display fresh seasonal pomegranates in their solid form, or as individual seedlings or even sometimes stylized with crystals and glitter. In the display below, in addition to the real platter of ruby red pomegranates, Armenian wine in shape of a Pomegranate bottle is beautifully showcased.

NUTS:: WALNUTS:: ALMONDS

The inclusion of nuts in any form or shape is very important to the Henna Ceremony, as well as most Armenian sweets tablescapes, as they are not only a cultural delight, but allusive of fertility. Common types of nuts used in this ceremony are Hazelnuts, Walnuts and Almonds. As far as the presentation, displays truly vary. Sometimes they are washed and peeled and stacked in beautiful trays along side other sweets and treats. Other times, candied forms of nuts are used to beautify objects such as jewelry boxes and decorative pieces. In the pictures below, there are towers of Walnut and Almond Trees grounding the table in the form of tall cones.

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HALVA

Halva is an Armenian delicacy, a flour or tahini-based dessert, that may be molded into various shapes and seasoned with a variety of additives, including pistachios, saffron and rose water. Halva represents generosity and is not only displayed at  the Henna Bandoon table, but also passed around to guests in attendance to thank them for coming and a gesture of that same munificence. A staple during this tray passing of Halva and other traditional sweets to the guests in attendance is cognac to warm the palette and further welcome them to the home.

MONEY:: GOLD SEKKEH

Perhaps the most obvious symbolism as part of the Henna Ceremony is  the inclusion of money representing wealth. Wishing the happy couple to be a life of riches so that in said union, they avoid the struggles and stresses of going without. Money can be incorporated in endless unique presentations and often, Henna displays include more than one style. Pretty paper money flowers in the shape of delicate roses are a special touch and are made based on the same disciplines as origami. Gold coins, known as Sekkeh, are also incorporated by Persian Armenians into the spread. Also, a common practice upon the conclusion of the ceremony and just before seeing the church-bound couple off to get married, is to shower the happy couple with music, dancing and tons of DOLLAR BILLS! Its a literal showering of money. Often times, the bride and groom alike are also showered with gifts including precious jewelry in celebration of wealth in life and love.

HONEY

Raw honey personifies the natural pleasures in life and in the union of marriage. Its sweet natural form and its golden undertones lends itself as the perfect companion to the rest of the elements in the Henna Bandoon ceremony. Typically, during the henna ceremony, the bridegroom and bride-to-be simultaneously dip a fingertip into the honey, displayed in a festive bowl, and taste to sweeten their palette with the pleasures of marital unification.

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NABAT:: SWEETS

The symbolism of nabat and other Middle Eastern sweets are transparent in their blessings to the bridegroom and the bride-to-be in the sweetness of their future together. Nabat is a type of crystallized rock candy and the endless options for Middle Eastern treats needs no introduction! Both are pretty to look at and even sweeter to taste and the absolute epitome of the sweetness to envelop the happy couple embarking on a new journey together.

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CANDLES

As with any culture, candles are charged with deep-seated meaning, inward-looking emotion and piety. Similar to other passions, the breadth of candles infuse oneness and harmony conveying an inner sense of unity between the soon to be married couple. The Henna Ceremony may incorporate decorative candles with elaborate details, crystals, jems and jewels, and often become statement pieces all on their own, given the choice of candelabra or candlestick.

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I encourage you to drop a line and share your own Henna Bandoon experiences with me. I’d love to hear from you.

A SAFARI ADVENTURE FOR PRINCESS MILA

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Princess Mila’s Safari Adventure Birthday Bash was such a success, that I thought to share with you some of the highlights and add-ons that helped bring the adventure to life. It was all about the kids. From the crafting table where the kids got to sit down and personalize binoculars, to the masks and personal place settings, all the children had a blast embarking on our little Jungle Tour. This traditional “boy” theme was perfected to a more feminine taste, with the bright bold color schemes, fun zebra and cheetah prints and to die for organic jungle florals.

The main cake and sweets tablescape had a little something for everyone’s taste-buds, from sweet desserts, macarons, cupcakes, candies, cookies and marshmallows. A beautiful themed tiered safari cake donned the center of the scape, atop a custom cake stand that I made, anchored by a smaller version which served as a smash cake for baby Mila to go to town.

The food and drinks stations also carried over the theme, with large jungle centerpieces and safari trees everywhere, and cute themed-drinks for adults & kiddos alike.

I put together a darling little photo booth and custom photo props for parents and kids to enjoy and keep busy with DIY photos.

Let me know what you think? If you have any of your own ideas on how to take a traditional “boy” theme and put a girly twist on it, I welcome those thoughts.

How to Setup a Candy Station: Beyond Just Candy

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Sweets and candy tables have been popping up at a ton of parties everywhere, from birthdays, to showers to weddings and Christenings. They’re a fun little element to brighten any party and inject a bit of your personality into your event to take it simply over the top. Here’s a closer look at some of the Sweets & Candy table displays Celebrating Life By Dona has assembled noting the details…

COOKIES

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Cookies are such a fun surprise on candy tables, because everyone expects candy to snack on, but these little custom beauties are truly little gems and make such an impact. Not to mention, a really smart way to add to your theme and unify the different elements of your candy station.

SHOOTERS

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Mini Shooters are also a fun little surprise on your candy stations and really liven up any tablescape with something fresh. You can make or order shooters to suit your party needs. The flavors will be determined by the type of event, for example, kids’ parties generally have jello and pudding staples, KID APPROVED! The fancier events like bridal showers and weddings often feature flavors more suitable to the adult pallets, including Raspberry Bombers & Rum Chocolate Ganache. Shooters can be styled in endless creative displays from clear shot glasses, colorful plastic shooter cups or even wine goblets… and you can take creativity a step further, sometimes embellishing either the glass itself, adding a topper or a coordinating serving utensil.

Hope you enjoy the lil tidbits on how to take your sweets and candy stations over the top with custom cookies and shooters! Bon appetito!