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New York bar and bat mitzvah party planners

In bloom

for The Brooklyn Paper

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Does the idea of planning a large party bug you? Let Damselfly Designs a full service, New York-based party and event planning company, fly in and swat away all your worries.

“I look at the parties like they’re my events,” says Brenda Lamanna, the president and founder of Damselfly Designs. “We’re all working together as a team.”

LaManna’s process always starts with a chat with the tween-of-honor in order to get sense of he or she wants. After the bar or bat mitzvah looks through designs and photos, LaManna chats with the parents and then goes back to her six-person team and creates a customized plan for the simcha.

“The most important thing is recognizing the child,” says LaManna. “Bar mitzvahs bring families together.”

Damselfly’s personal approach to party planning has made it a favorite for b’nai mitzvahs and for large organizations. Over the years, Damselfly has organized dozens of events with corporations such as Morgan Stanley, Estee Lauder, and Emirates Airlines. Damselfly has also put on hundreds of weddings across the world, from Indonesia to California and Connecticut.

The secret to Damselfly’s success, says LaManna, is a natural take on a simple party decoration: flowers. LaManna is an award-winning flower designer whose arrangements have been featured on parade floats at the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena. For every client, LaManna hand selects the freshest lilies, daisies, and peonies and buys them directly from suppliers all over the world. The beautiful blooms are then sculpted to create works of art.

LaManna recently helped a family execute a black and white-themed bar mitzvah at the Ritz Carlton in Westchester (check out their designs in the slideshow above). To do this, the Damselfly team packed calla lily flowers into an acrylic web to create a cloud around the room. They then used contrasting black tablecloths and napkins and subtle white lighting throughout the room to heighten the effect.

“We completely transformed the space. Everyone was so surprised,” says Lamanna. “That’s a hard thing to achieve.”

But sometimes, clients turn the surprise around on LaManna.

One of LaManna’s former bat mitzvah clients recently called Damselfly and told the staff that she was getting married and wanted Damselfly to do the decorations for her wedding. LaManna was thrilled.

“You remember this little girl with braces and now she’s a woman who’s getting married,” says LaManna. “The bat mitzvah we did is what changed her to a woman.”

So if you want your party to create a buzz, give the folks at Damselfy a call. As LaManna puts it, “Anyone can do flowers. Anyone can do events. But it’s the experience of planning it from beginning to end that makes a difference.”

Damselfly Designs, 42 Oak Ave., Tuckahoe, (914) 533–6500

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