PLANNING: Celebrate the Joy of Just Being Engaged

January 8, 2016

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The holidays are behind us now and “engagement season” is now officially open! All kidding aside, we congratulate all the newly engaged couples out there and wish you, and your families, much joy during this precious time. But, please, if we could suggest anything to you as wedding planners who have seen it all and then some, PLEASE take the time to enjoy your engagement. Treasure the wedding planning journey for it is more than trying on gowns and tasting cakes. We love seeing happy couples and their families sitting around our conference table; couples who are thoroughly enjoying themselves instead of collapsing under the pressure of weighty expectations.

The careful planning of your wedding is not something to rush through or feel stressed out about. Embrace it. Enjoy it. Savor it. Look at it as a transitional time for you and your beloved to start working together as your own family unit, and for your families to work together as a team. Share your dreams with each other. Include your families in the conversation. Listen to each other. Acknowledge what is important to each of you in sharing the celebration with others. Be willing to compromise or offer realistic alternatives. Trust each other, as well as the experienced professionals you choose to work with on this milestone occasion. Honor each other’s individuality and treasure the unexpected creativity that springs forth during the process.

Being engaged alone is something to celebrate! Planning a wedding is amazing, truly. But marriage, well, MARRIAGE is a beautiful thing if you let it bloom.

{Photo courtesy of Michael Spain-Smith}

A Beautiful Ballroom Reveal for Janey, Andrew and Evantine

January 6, 2016


That’s what we want to create for our clients no matter what type of event we’re designing for you.

This moment of speechlessness and joy, captured so beautifully by David & Blonnie photo + cinema, says it all and speaks to our hearts as creative professionals. The Sneak, the Peek, or the Ballroom Reveal. No matter how you label it, it’s just a few minutes of privacy in an otherwise jammed wedding day. Wrangling our brides and grooms out of their cocktail reception and away from their guests is never easy, but as you can see, those few stolen moments are worth it! Seeing the ballroom in all its romantic glory is appreciated by all. Particularly after we’ve talked and dreamed about the flowers (and linens, and candles, and dance floor, and lighting, and chairs) for months!


But aside from the stunned amazement enjoyed by our clients, what a gorgeous moment for us at Evantine Design! As Janey and Andrew’s wedding planners, event designers and overall partners in crime, there is nothing more heartwarming than to share these moments with them. In addition to feeling that whoosh! of relief that the design is loved, we got just as blurry-eyed and mushy-brained as they did!

We thank Janey and Andrew, as well as their families, for including us in yet another family celebration.

Welcome to Camp MATTitou, A Summer Camp Bar Mitzvah!

January 4, 2016

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WELCOME to Camp MATTitou at The Ritttenhouse! A summer camp-themed bar mitzvah we designed last April for Matthew, a young adventurer who loves his summers at Camp Manitou in Oakland, Maine. Morphing the party into Camp MATTitou, we integrated special elements of his beloved camp experiences into the event décor and food styling of his milestone celebration while still maintaining a sophisticated tone.

{Photos courtesy of Susan Beard Design}

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SIGN UP FOR CAMP came in the way of warm, rustic, camp-inspired party invitations. The feeling and tone of the event was communicated to each guest, young and old, through whimsical motifs, logos, and typefaces that we carried throughout the entire event. In fact, just as campers would see as they arrived at the real Camp Manitou in Maine, the first decorative piece party guests saw upon arrival was our tall directional sign post. Emblazoned with the camp logo and positive, inspiring words representing party activities, the sign post was placed at just the right spot to help encourage guests to venture further into the party.

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INTO THE WOODS WE GO! The entrance to the event space included a weathered-wooden fence, a Camp Mattitou sign, low shrubs, tall birch trees, and dramatic lighting to set the “outdoor” tone.

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BUNK ASSIGNMENTS were given to the kids on a giant bulletin board covered with posters, camp announcements, photos of Matt with his friends, and clipboards.  Traveling trunks labeled with Matt’s name and his camp friends were stacked next to the bulletin board along with sports equipment and typical camp gear.

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PERSONALIZED LOCKERS were designed for the kids to stash their shoes, phones, and fun favors in as they collected them through the night. Old logs were placed around a faux bonfire in the center of the lockers to help kids get their shoes off and party socks ON!

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BUNK BEDS were placed near the lockers and were piled with camp gear, blankets, snacks, sports gear, towels, stickers, and personalized pillows.  At the end of the evening, the bunk beds became a part of our Candy Canteen.

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PHOTO FUNTASTIC! We provided the façade of a summer camp cabin to be used as a photo wall, complete with window frames for the kids to duck behind, hang out of, cramp into, etcetera as take home photo favors. Rustic benches, old guitars and fiddles, and other fun country props were placed on the cabin porch.

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FUNTOWN! Of course, you can’t have a successful summer camp experience without other games and activities for the kids, which is why we provided and managed MANY throughout the night branded Funtown “Splashtown” USA, a local water/amusement park near Camp Mattitou. Banners marked the entrance to Funtown “Splashtown” and we created a fun ‘park directory’ map/sign for the activities area that included summer favorites like Double Pop-a-Shot, Jet Ski Simulators,, White Water Rafting, and Skee Ball, to name a few.

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WELCOME TO VISITING DAY signage was placed at the entrance to the adult cocktail area.

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PEG BOARD SEATING. Our weathered white wooden peg board was used to display camp-themed “activity card” seating assignments for the adults.  Later in the evening we turned this same peg board into a fun, grab what you want, Doughnut Board!

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FOOD CABINS for the adults made sure all the kids at every age got to enjoy the playful theme. Starting with the Hot Dog & Artisan Beer Cabin, a rustic wood cabin façade with a selection of hot dogs with various rolls and toppings.

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LOBSTAH! Then, a huge favorite, the Mac & Cheese Cabin with adult-style interpretations of the Americana-favorite comfort food. Come on now, Lobster Mac & Cheese? Get in line, people. Get. In. Line.

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ALL LOGO’D UP! Of course, we had to use all Camp Mattitou’s fun summer camp logos and signs on the cocktail napkins! The matted natural colors and Native American/Western influences were PERFECT!

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ON TO THE BIG PARTY in the Grand Ballroom which we transformed into a magical, high-energy, outdoor celebration under the stars! Long wooden tables, gingham fabric tablecloths, raw wood cross back chairs, wildflowers, wheat grass, and lanterns of every kind were placed in a room dripping with stars and subtle details.

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THE MESS HALL aka “the kids tables” were a bit more stylish than what Matt usually experiences at summer camp. Long wooden tables with matching bar stools were placed together in the room. Keeping things simple and safe, we placed low arrangements of wheat grass, wildflowers and faux candles on each table.

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ADULT DINNER TABLES were designed with fabulous arrangements of natural elements such as moss, fern, succulents, flowering branches, wood, and other earthy things you would find on the forest floor. Combined with beautiful imported flowers of the season such as Narcissus, Lady Slipper Orchids, Ranunculus, Protea, Hellebores, Fritillaries, Amaryllis, Ornithogalum, Viburnum, Gloriosa, Peonies, and others. On the two longest wooden tables, we suspended wooden and wire mesh lanterns from stained wooden frame structures. Water gardens with moss, rocks, and flowers were placed beneath the lanterns for table top admiration. Flanking these were tall birch trees in leaf with under-plantings of natural designs of flowers and candles. Vintage lanterns were tucked everywhere into the designs. 

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LETTERS FROM CAMP with sweet, sentimental notes from Matt were created as memorable menu cards that blew the guests away! Quite possibly, our favorite detail of the event.

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RUSTIC BARS were custom-designed in our wood shop using re-purposed wood planks, moss and birch branches. Placed at the back of the ballroom for the adults to enjoy, our back bars with rustic wooden shelves and country lanterns added a soft glow.

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SHINING STARS in the form of fiber optic curtains were on every perimeter wall but that only drew the guests eyes to the dance floor! We installed dramatic lighting for Matt’s event, breathing life and excitement into the design of the room. Soft lighting was directed onto the tables in candlelit washes and pin-spots highlighted the floral centerpieces. And, of course, dynamic lighting was installed to move with the groove of LA Stars on stage!

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DRESSING UP the hotel’s parquet dance floor with a large Camp Mattitou logo just made sense. Up above the dance floor, to simulate dancing under the trees, we hung branches and lanterns.

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MULTI MEDIA may not be welcome at every summer camp in favor of activities out of doors, but it was at Camp Mattitou! Two 80” plasma screens were framed in faux timber and were used all night! Most importantly, the screens were used to share Matt’s photo montage. Then, the screens projected the Camp Mattitou logos as well as fun “camp announcements” inviting campers to join their bunkmates for hot waffles, or at the Candy Canteen, or to say it was time to pack up and head home, etc.

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THE CANDY CANTEEN was more than just obscene amounts of nostalgic old time and modern day candies displayed in metal baskets and wooden boxes. Oh no, it was so much more than that! It was a Waffle Station, Doughnut Board and S’mores Extravaganza! Branded burlap bags could be filled up with candy store favorites for the bus ride home while kids munched on freshly made waffles and adults devoured brightly-frosted doughnuts. Passed mini ice cream cones made sure even those guests unwilling to leave the dance floor could enjoy a sweet bite!

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WE’D LIKE S’MORES PLEASE! Can’t fight it, a campy reference was inevitable! But everyone loved the S’mores extravaganza we set up with table top camp ‘fires’, along with other vessels to contain the sticks, marshmallows, chocolate bars, and graham crackers.  The benches previously used during the cocktail reception were placed around the s’mores fire for a cozy fireside feel.

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PARTY ON CAMPERS! While guests danced the night away, our team of event managers were hard at work supervising the kids, collecting gifts and cards, changing over food stations, moving set displays, organizing the kids’ sweatshirt favors into their lockers, loading kids on and off buses, and packing up care packages of goodies for hotel guests to enjoy the next day. WHEW! Party on campers, party on.

Mazel tov Matt!

{Credits: Event Design, Lighting, Flowers, Furniture, Party Games, Artwork & Party Planning: Evantine Design; Venue and Catering: The Rittenhouse; Band/Entertainment: LA Stars; Photography: Susan Beard Design}

COMMUNITY: A Downton Abbey Evening Benefiting Breast & Prostate Health

December 8, 2015

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By Brian Kappra, Creative Director and Owner of Evantine Design

WHAT AN INCREDIBLE EVENING IN PHILADELPHIA! Last night at the historic Union League of Philadelphia, The Foundation for Breast and Prostate Health (“FBPH”) and Independence Blue Cross hosted an elegant evening of witty, insightful conversation, tasty cocktails and delectable bites with Downton Abbey creator and Academy Award winning writer Lord Julian Fellowes.

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First and foremost, we thank our guest of honor, Lord Julian Fellowes for sharing his talents, wisdom and Downton story with us all wrapped up with a delightful bow. We also thank CNN anchor Michael Smerconish, a big fan of Downton Abbey, for conducted a fantastic and entertaining interview with Lord Fellowes. Michael tried to get the dish out of Lord Fellowes on the last season of the show, but, to no one’s surprise, the show writer was tight-lipped on what’s up for Season 6. Frankly, that’s just the way we want it! Additional thank yous go out to Brian Toner of Eventions ProductionsEddie Bruce, and of course, a GIANT thank you to Stewart Mahan and his hard-working catering team at the Union League for rolling out the red carpet and holiday cheer for the festivities!

As co-chair of the event, I was overwhelmed by the support of friends, clients {and client-friends!}, and colleagues who joined us at The Union League for this fun outing benefiting The Foundation for Breast and Prostate Health. Even though it was a Monday night in the middle of the busy holiday season, the response and support was truly heart warming. Both me and my co-chair (and the founder of FBPH), the lovely Shelley Schwartz, as well as the rest of the dedicated FBPH special event committee, THANK YOU for your generosity.  Just a few photos from the event, from our seasonal decorations to the delicious food and superb company kept in the storied halls of The Union League. Enjoy!

{All photos courtesy of the always amazing Tyler Boye – thanks Tyler!}

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For more information about the event, jump over to Aubrey Nagle’s article in the Philly Voice

JOIN US! An Evening with Oscar Winner & Downton Abbey Creator, Julian Fellowes

November 6, 2015

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The Foundation for Breast and Prostate Health is partnering with Independence Blue Cross to host an evening of entertaining conversation, tasty cocktails and gourmet plates with Downton Abbey creator and Academy Award-winning screenwriter, Lord Julian Fellowes, on Monday, December 7 at the Union League of Philadelphia. This unique event will include a one-on-one interview with Lord Fellowes moderated by CNN anchor Michael Smerconish.

All proceeds from ticket sales go to support the Foundation’s breast and prostate initiatives. See below for more details about the event and to purchase your tickets. OR, click on this link to Buy Tickets to An Evening with Julian Fellowes.

Lord Fellowes is a celebrated actor, novelist, film director and screenwriter. His many many MANY achievements include his script for the film, Gosford Park, for which he was awarded an Oscar, as well as screenwriting for Vanity Fair, The Tourist, The Young Victoria, and the much loved television series, Downton Abbey. Julian Fellowes is a fascinating storyteller guaranteed to entertain guests with anecdotes about Downton Abbey, as well as his illustrious career in showbiz. Please join us and bring your friends…

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BUY YOUR TICKETS TODAY! Just click on this link to Buy Tickets to An Evening with Julian Fellowes.

MITZVAHS: Hank’s Hip Hang at Moulin at Sherman Mills

September 7, 2015

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Combining his desire for a fun party with his parents’ wish for a minimalist design, we created Hank’s dream BAR MITZVAH party at Moulin at Sherman Mills. An urban loft space able to host thousands was chosen for Henry aka Hank’s party of 200, but our design plan would incorporate a variety of white lounge settings, light up elements, a giant LED dance floor, and the latest in intelligent lighting into a smartly-designed event floor plan that would bring it all together perfectly.

So as not to fall into the typical category of another light-up mitzvah, and in deference to the industrial-themed location, we enhanced the all-white upholstery pieces with over-sized rustic wooden tables, high gloss white furnishings, contemporary and handmade artistic pieces, as well as architectural flowers and warm candlelight. Add that to the savvy culinary stylings of Brulee Catering and the insanely hot deejay/emcee crew from Norma Michaels Entertainment and the party CRUSHED IT!

But take a look at two things that are easily shown here in this #partystudy; first, the BEFORE AND AFTER photos of the event design that take you from daylight to full-scale event lighting transformation; and second, the clean, thoughtfully laid out floor plan our team produced for design and function.

{Photos courtesy of Pictures by Todd Photography}

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COMMUNITY: A Modern Garden Theme for Ball on The Square

July 7, 2015

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BALL ON THE SQUARE: Guests enjoyed a stylish summer evening of dining, dancing and entertainment under the city skyline.

Just a couple weeks ago we were honored to take part in producing and designing the 32nd Annual Ball on The Square in Rittenhouse Square Park. Hosted by The Friends of Rittenhouse Square and Arthur Wolk of The Wolk Law Firm (as well as sweet little Boo, the law firm’s resident canine mascot), this year’s tented gala broke records for attendance with over 400 well-heeled guests present for the occasion. All to celebrate the history and beauty the park provides the city, but also, to bring in some of the much-needed funds for its preservation and ongoing maintenance.

For this year’s Ball on The Square, Philadelphia’s most prestigious summer event, we were inspired to create a “modern garden party” vibe. Floating modern lamps, natural wood elements, textured linens, crisp white table settings, manzanita branches, hammered aluminum, contemporary iron, sculptural flowers, warm dappled lighting, and modern glass containers all came together for a light and airy outdoor soiree. As it always does, these kinds of amazing events take a team of dedicated professionals who are not only passionate about what they do, but committed to The Friends of Rittenhouse Square: Eventions Productions, EventQuip, Starr Events Catering, and the Eddie Bruce Orchestra.  Just a few photographs of the event set up to share. Until next year…

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