• Valori Zaslow


Mazel Tov on your family’s upcoming Simcha! Although your child may have just hit double digits, it’s likely you’re already dreaming about his or her Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Even though they may have just hit the double digits, becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is an important milestone for your son or daughter. As a proud parent, it’s likely that you’re looking forward to hosting a wonderful event for friends and family, one that that your child will remember for years to come. The secret to planning a successful Mitzvah is starting early! It's never too soon to start looking for a place to host your celebration, asking for business cards when you hear a DJ or band you like, or to begin thinking about a theme as you start the planning process. Keep in mind, the more you do in advance, the more relaxing the last few months and weeks leading up to your simcha will be.

2 Years Before the Event

• Obtain your Date from Temple/Synagogue. If you have no affiliation, set & confirm your date

• Decide on the type of event you would like to have (day, evening, formal etc.).

• Estimate the number of guests and start to inquire about a reception hall, venue and/or caterer. (Once you

have the date, it is never too early to research venues or reserve the synagogue banquet hall for your


18 Months Before the Event

• Begin thinking about potential Mitzvah Projects

• Meet with the Rabbi or Cantor to understand the Bat/Bar-Mitzvah process and ask any questions you

may have

• Set a budget. Get a folder, notebook, or binder to keep track of expenses. Decide what matters the

most to you and your family (venue, food, music, entertainment, decor, favors, etc.)

• Begin to work on a guest list. It may be helpful to separate the list into 'Must-Haves' and 'Nice-to-Haves'

• Determine what other events your family will host (Shabbat dinner, Shabbat Kiddush, Sunday Brunch)

1 Year Before the Event

• Reserve a venue for the reception

• Book the entertainment DJ/Band

• Book the Photographer/Videographer

• Decide on your party theme and color scheme

• Discuss the Bat/Bar mitzvah requirements with the Rabbi, including the timeline for completing the Mitzvah


• Send/Email a Save The Date (helpful for out of town guests to plan)

• Reserve a block of rooms at a hotel for out of town guests

• Pick a theme for the reception and begin to think about decorations/decorator, florist, or event planner

• Book your caterer

9 Months Before the Event

• Your child will start formal Mitzvah lessons/training

• Select a Mitzvah Project

• Decide what enclosures need to be included with each guest invitation (party card, response cards,

bus card)

• Order invitations and thank you cards. Determine if you prefer an invitation to compliment your theme,

decide if you prefer a modern or a traditional invitation

• Talk to the planner or florist about Floral Designs

• Decide on Centerpieces/and Decor

• Book all novelty entertainment i.e. Photo, Games, Special Guest Appearances, Talent

• Create your Bar/Bat Mitzvah Logo

• Review menu, schedule a tasting

6 Months Before the Event

• Start shopping for clothes and shoes (Don’t do any tailoring)

• Select all favors, giveaways

• Finalize Menu selection (be sure to order meals for your vendors)

• Begin to select your pictures for the montage and separate them into groups

• Decide if you would like: A bathroom amenity basket for the lady’s room, cocktail napkins in

your theme colors

• Determine room lighting /up lighting / video mapping, any lighting enhancements

Start your Mitzvah Project

• Finalize the guest list and enter the addresses into a spreadsheet (make sure all addresses are current)

• Purchase Tallit and Tefillin, if necessary

4 Months Before the Event

• Finalize Invitation Selection

• Order or design your Sign-in board and/or Guest book

• Order yarmulkes

• Order your Invitations

• Arrange for transportation of family and or/guests, if necessary

• Order any specialty items that require customization, including kippot, sign-in boards, and cocktail napkins

3 Months Before the Event

• Finalize your guest list

• Make your Hospitality bag or basket list for out-of-town guests

• Create all hospitality bag and invitation inserts: i.e. Directions, Shabbos Dinner, Sunday Brunch

• Try to make your final selections on clothing and accessories

• Have completely assembled invitations weighed to ensure correct postage

• Create custom postage stamp if necessary and buy stamps

• Decide upon Calligraphy or Computerized Printing

• Decide what kind of cake you want and flavors

• If you are having a Candle-lighting ceremony, select who will be called up to light a candle

and the songs that will accompany them

• Create your drink special

8 Weeks Before the Event

• Provide your address mailing list to your printer or invitation company

• Mail the invitations

• Make up a song list for the DJ/band

• Make certain all your vendors have been confirmed

• Order personalized favors

• Order the cake

• Order dance socks

• Submit flash drive with all montage photos

• Select place cards

• Determine if you would like a gift card drop box for envelopes

• Visit the tailor

1 Month before the Event

• Make hair stylist and manicure appointments

• Have final fittings done for clothing

• Arrange catering for brunch

• Confirm hotel room reservations

• Choose people for Aliyot and honors.

• Decide on Bat/Bar Mitzvah entrance (Will you enter with dances, breakthrough banner, performer)

• Select your family entrance songs

• Order Hotel hospitality bags and include printed welcome letter from Bat/Bar Mitzvah

• Choose the people to be honored for the candle lighting ceremony and write poems

2-3 Weeks before the Event

• Talk with the Emcee/band and make sure they know the candle lighting songs

• Do guest seating arrangements and send to the reception hall or planner

• Order the food for Kiddush or Oneg Shabbat

• Confirm arrangements for centerpieces, lighting, music, and all deliveries i.e. sign-in board, kippot, change of

clothes (if necessary) etc.

• Write speeches

• Provide final instructions to photographer/videographer

• Pay all Synagogue fees

• Confirm who will be lifted in chairs for Hava Nagila

1 Week before the Event

• Take formal pictures and pictures on Bimah

• Meet with the caterer to finalize guest count

• Make final arrangements to get your guests from the airport to the hotel

• Confirm your brunch arrangements

• Confirm all guest arrival dates at hotels with event planner and the number of hospitality bags to be delivered


Day of the Event

• Have Fun!!!

• Relax. Everything is prepared and ready to go!

Written By: Valori Zaslow

Professional Event Planner & Owner of ReEvent and Self-Serve Events

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