Marcy Cohen-Turner Writes About Her Experience with Bat/ Bar Mitzvah Planning
This multi-part article about Bar Bat Mitzvah planning covers all the nitty-gritty details of Marcy’s experience with her son’s Bar Mitzvah celebration – ups, downs, and unexpected problem-solving. It’s an excellent read for anyone who has a Bat or Bar Mitzvah celebration coming up in the future. If you read this, your planning is sure to be less stressful.
You’ve got a date, now what?
Depending on where you live, you will usually get a date for your child’s Mitzvah 2-3 years ahead of time. Although this sounds like a ton of time, trust me, it goes very quickly, and getting things done little by little helps tremendously! So, where to begin? First off, take a deep breath and remember, this is a happy, special occasion and it will all work out in the end (I promise)!
Ok, so you have your date. Great. What next? If you live in an area where you know several kids will be having Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, you may want to check whether a local mom has organized a spreadsheet of dates so you can see if another child shares a date with yours. Thankfully, I was made aware of the one for our school from another mom so I didn’t have to worry about it. If there isn’t a spreadsheet in your town, and you want to be a hero, consider running it yourself (click here for an example).
“…take a deep breath and remember,
this is a happy, special occasion
and it will all work out
in the end (I promise)!”
What happens if you discover that someone has the same date as your child? Is this a huge deal? Honestly, it depends on several things, like how big the school is, whether there are several mutual friends, and whether you are doing parties at the same time (one could do a luncheon and the other an evening event). There happened to be 3 other Mitzvahs the same weekend as my son; it turned out that one (a girl) was someone my son didn’t know, and one wasn’t having a party. The last was a girl that my son didn’t know, but who happened to have several mutual friends. The services were at the same time, but we did a luncheon and they did an evening party, so most kids were able to attend both. Had we not been able to connect through the spreadsheet, it may not have worked out as well. I have heard of other people even changing dates to accommodate other events; whether you choose to do this or not, it is nice to be armed with all of the information about Bar Bat Mitzvah planning.
Bar Bat Mitzvah Planning now seriously begins. Your date is now settled and you have decided on a time for your party (keep in mind that you will save money by doing a luncheon or having your event on a Sunday) – what’s next? You may be thinking “but I have 3 YEARS!” Yes, that is true, and there are many (many) things that you won’t do until the final year, or even weeks, before the big day. However, there are a few things you may want to take care of as soon as possible. Mazelmoments has a FREE downloadable checklist which is a great place to start. Keep in mind that everyone is different, so you won’t need/want everything on this list, but it is nice to get a general idea of possible things you need to do/buy before the big day.
First, although it may be dreaded, you need to consider what your budget will be. Even though the odds are you will spend more than you think (it’s just an unfortunate fact), setting specific amounts for things will at least give you a general idea of what you need to save, and what things you NEED, versus those you just WANT. I personally was amazed at how many things I needed that I was not aware of, and how things added up VERY quickly. This downloadable budget was a great help. I customized it to my own needs/wants, and it was a great guideline during the planning process to keep me on track and to plan ahead financially.
Next, step in your Bar Bat Mitzvah planning is to consider mailing or emailing a “save the date” to guests you know for sure you will be inviting (especially family and friends that do not live in your area). You can do this right away, or wait (we sent ours about a year in advance). You don’t need to spend any money on this, and can simply send an email; this email can be just an email (consider writing a cute poem or something clever) or a bit fancier if you like. Consider online sites such as Evite or Mitzvite, where you can send an adorable FREE Save the Date!! If you want something more formal, I love Tiny Prints; Vistaprint is also a great less expensive alternative. If you know you have a large number of people traveling to come to the Mitzvah, consider calling a local hotel to reserve a block of rooms at a special rate. If you do this, be sure to include the information in the save the date.
“I wanted to enjoy my son’s big day
and not have to worry about anything –
essentially to be a guest at my own party.”
Still with me, or are you totally overwhelmed? If all this got you excited to start planning, fantastic! However, if this made you sick to your stomach you may want to consider hiring an event planner who will do most of the work for you (you’ll still need to make decisions, of course)! While wonderful, planners can be VERY expensive. If money isn’t an issue and you want the help, word of mouth is the best way to find that perfect planner. Ask your friends and family who have already thrown Mitzvahs, throw out the question on Facebook, etc. Once you’ve gathered some names, contact several and choose someone you genuinely click with and feel “gets” you and, especially, your child. This will absolutely have an effect on your event. If you choose not to hire a full time planner, I would highly recommend hiring someone for the day of the event. This was an absolute godsend for me, and I LOVE to plan events. I wanted to enjoy my son’s big day and not have to worry about anything – essentially to be a guest at my own party. The day-of planner provided just this service, and thought of tons of things I would never have considered (mints in the bathroom, earplugs for some of the older guests, asking kids to check their purses and coats for gift envelopes, etc.). I attended the service, then walked into a fully set up room where I could mingle with my guests, dance, and fully enjoy the party. Just something to think about!!
The next biggest thing you should consider is venue. Keep reading for some great tips.