Guests at a spirng bat mitzvah at the Reserve in Birmingham were immersed in the surreal world of Alice in Wonderland.

Floral provider Parsonage Events collaborated with event planner Bonnie Coleman Steinbock of Elm Events and décor provider Barb Bartley of Mandell Designs to create a modern fairy-tale version of the coming-ofage celebration for Victoria Roth’s daughter, Sophie.

“The client didn’t want it to be cartoonish or childish,” says Liz Andre- Stotz, co-owner of Parsonage Events. “She wanted it to be a little bit Tim Burton, but not too bizarre for a kid. She had a nice budget, lots of good ideas and was really open. She was really the ideal client.”

The client liked darker greens, while the daughter loved fuschia and reds, Andre-Stotz says. Gold elements helped capture the fairy-tale feel. Rectangular wooden farm tables were surrounded by gold chairs. Plates looked like clocks, with gold chargers covered with paper clock images, topped with clear glass plates.

“Clocks were a very important part of the concept,” Andre-Stotz says. “We did a whole wall of clocks. We really tried to touch on all the details of the story.”

Red and fuschia tulips abounded, as did anemones and New Zealand ferns, which Andre-Stotz called “fun and wispy.” Green and reindeer moss contributed to the lush look, with mushroom-shaped centerpieces, fashioned from a wood base with a moss top, evoking the story’s marshy imagery. White pillar candles atop vintage brass candlesticks, placed inside glass cylinders, brought both a vintage and contemporary flair.

Perhaps the room’s single most dazzling element was a ceiling-hung feature based on an original concept by designer David Beahm of New York. The client wanted one huge statement featuring a single flower, Andre- Stotz says, so she hung 500 red tulips upside down from an apparatus made to look like a mossy mushroom top. The flowers had to be installed on-site.

“When Sophie walked into the room, she was so grateful to her mom and dad,” Andre-Stotz says. “Her mom really captured what she loved.”

Robert Snyders, who retired in late March 2017, served for 20 years as the National Sales Director for Experience Grand Rapids.

“Bob has been an integral part of the sales team at Experience Grand Rapids,” says Tom Bennett, vice president of sales and services of Experience Grand Rapids.


Created by the Michigan Travel Commission in conjunction with the Governor’s Office, The Governor’s Awards for Innovative Tourism Collaboration elevate the status of Michigan’s tourism industry and promote innovative collaboration as an effective, efficient and creative operating principle for the industry. In April, at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Detroit, Dave Lorenz of Travel Michigan, representing the Michigan Travel Commission, and Julie Pingston, representing the Tourism Industry Coalition of Michigan (TICOM), presented the 2017 awards.


This May, a new month-long series of wine-related events called “Traverse City Uncorked” will be held throughout the Traverse City area. The event is a collaboration between Traverse City Tourism, the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail and the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula. It will showcase Traverse City’s burgeoning wine and cuisine scene while also featuring specials at participating venues throughout the region.