I think you pretty much know by now just how big we are on baptisms in this part of the world, Luca’s Baptism was unforgettable shared almost 900 times, and became an inspiration for many new mamas who wanted to plan this special milestone in their baby’s life. I wanted something just as special for my Baby Sienna, something that would impress her when she looked back throughout the years, a theme that wasn’t done before in a venue that wasn’t used before.
It was a challenge I was up for. In our mountain home, we had a beautiful olive orchard, that was sort of not our typical choice for lunches or dinners, but I always felt like it was always overlooked. So when I sat down and did some brainstorming, I kept coming back to it over and over again. And just like that the idea began to develop in my head, a boho-chic simple garden party in the olive orchard with the beautiful Lebanese landscape as a backdrop, while the last summer sun rays provided the perfect saturated filter. I wanted it to feel romantic, organic, and magical straight out of a story book.
As per our family tradition and just like I had done for Luca the year before, the first place I headed to for Sienna’s baptism outfit was without a doubt Zahar Kids. The selection of christening outfits available was absolutely beautiful, and though I already knew I wanted something more on the traditional side I was keen on keeping it light on the texture because I had a feeling it was going to be a hot day and I wasn’t wrong. The light chiffon/tulle dress I chose was absolutely adorable on my little girl, she looked like an angel especially when she put on the traditional cap it came with. Her little white shoes also matched perfectly with the outfit. I was happy to know that Zahar Kids also sells the traditional embroidered baptism towels required at the church for the ceremony. I can’t wait to share with you all the pretty little outfit I will be choosing for Sienna this upcoming year from Zahar Kids.
According to Greek Mythology, Olive trees were given to people as a gift from the gods. It was also a symbol for peace. And since this was a christening, I wanted to incorporate more religious elements to it and that’s how the idea of the dove came to be. Sometime around the 5th century, the dove along with an olive branch was established as the Christian symbol for peace. The Dove is also signifies the Holy Spirit. It couldn’t have been more fitting for a baptism.
The Dress Code
I asked our family and friends to stick with a dress code of white shirt or top and blue jeans to go with the theme and feel of the event. Everyone was happy about it first because it was less of a hassle and also because it added such a happy harmonious and relaxed vibe. White also symbolizes peace and tranquility not to mention the fact that it looked great with the group pictures we took. As I do for most of our celebrations, I marked this new occasion by wearing my beautiful new Promesse watch by Baume et Mercier, with a refined steel bracelet and a stunning diamond set mother of pearl dial.
I had the olive trees, but it was the doves that were the challenge. I had previously worked with a well-known origami artist for Sienna’s birth and a Michael Kors event I hosted earlier this year, Blooms_by_Yara, Yara was the lady behind the flower art that was a big hit for both. She was the first person that came to mind and the only one who I thought would be able to truly execute and understand my vision, and I was right. When I suggested the doves, she was onboard instantly. Although she specializes in flowers (blooms) she had done birds from paper many times before and well, she was able to transform the venue from a simple olive garden to a magical scene that made people just stand and gasp. It was ethereal, the way she hang almost a hundred of them from the trees, it took the entire concept to a whole new level. I was so happy to have worked with such a true artist and a professional.
With the green and natural backdrop, I wanted to incorporate a simple palette of white and pale pink. I’ve seen to many all-white baptisms and I wanted to give a feminine touch to remind people that this was a baby girl’s baptism. I had the pleasure of working with the renowned Bonsai Flowers this time around, thanks to a special referral from my dear friend Nadine who manages Small Budget Weddings. Again, I wanted to stay true to the boho-chic vibe and so instead of centerpieces I wanted a table garland made out of loose white and pink flowers on a bed of greenery. I also wanted the same garlands to hang from the dessert table and the bar. The same type of flowers were used on glass centerpieces in a circular arrangement to decorate the church were the religious ceremony took place.
I wanted the food to feel just as wholesome and organic as the concept. I’ve tried many caterers I liked, but if like me, you like your guests to recognize your special touch when you host, then you will probably understand why I wanted homemade food there, especially since we were a party of 60 so as long as you hire some staff to service the area, it’s pretty manageable. So it was all made in-house with love by all the amazing women in my family, we each had a hand in something, be it a special marination or a hit salad that always gets the compliments. When deciding on the menu we opted for our favorite selection of summer salads that would go with different live barbecue stations. As for dessert (my favorite part of any occasion) you can scroll down to read more about that, but the only homemade thing we included was a colorful fresh fruit salad.
Let’s just say, this was a HUGE hit, that really took the entire baptism to whole new level. Unlike Luca’s Baptism, this time around, I didn’t want to rely on simply hiring two bartenders to cater for drinks, but rather I teamed up with The Tipplers, a high-end bar hire service whose name has been making waves at some of the most talked-about weddings and private parties in Lebanon. What they do is simple but genius, they will build the bar that you select from their wide array of designs on your premises or any venue of your choice be at a private property or rented one. And when I say bar, I mean a full-out stylish led lit bar, outdoor kitchen, complete with a sink, fully stocked bar display, all sorts of glasses, punches, fresh fruits and a team of professional mixologists and if you’re lucky a magician! They set-up a beautiful lacquer white bar that I had chosen and went perfectly with the theme and garden. Their cocktails were delicious and looked flawless. Some of their signature punches we requested from their menu included, Arak and Mulberry, Watermelon and Vodka, Ginger Daiquiri and Sangria. Their gin basil drinks which they would prepare live were a major crown pleaser amongst our guests. I was in awe by the quality of the grade A produce they use, the professionalism of the staff (3 bartenders), and the general ease and perfection of their service. I cannot recommend them enough, this my honest opinion of them, it was the most hassle-free outsourcing experience to date and I will be working with The Tipplers again for all my occasions.
The Sweet Table
For both my children’s birth, I’ve headed to one place for all our memorable occasions and that’s Boite Sucree, a chocolate and favor store unlike any other in Lebanon. Time and time again, they outdo themselves with the level of creativity and passion for all things delicious and pretty. Just when I thought we couldn’t top off Sienna’s Birth Chocolates, they go ahead and present me with a table Pinterest dreams are made of. I plan on dedicating an entire post to this one, because I’m not going to be able to post ALL the photos in this article. As you can see, to go with the theme, we stuck to the colors pink and white. Pink porcelain doves made a huge appearance especially on the chocolates and glass containers and we chose a delicious selection of very unique sweets that I will walk you through in detail next week. The souvenirs also designed by Boite Sucree to fit the theme, a pink porcelain flower shaped candle holder, packed in a personalized box with an olive branch. We also included a lot of canvas- colored props on the table to keep things organic and wholesome.
For the church, Boite Sucree custom made a candle for Sienna, to sit on the altar along with 60 other candles donned with lace and a ribbon for our guests to light up during the ceremony as per tradition. The cake was perfection, Boite Sucree not only came up with the design, they also ordered it and set up all the logistics for me. I loved the touch of Tiffany Blue ( an obvious homage to Luca’s Baptism) and a splash of color to add a lively element to the table. Just looking at this table again and again adds joy to my heart.
A special thank you to Aquafina, Coiffe Moi for taking care of my hair, Oumaya Beauty for my makeup and our amazing family photographer Patrick Sawaya Photography for making this yet an unforgettable day in our lives.