Party Planning Pointers
By Heidi Hiller and Zozzie Golden, Zozzie and Heidi Innovative Party Planners (410-998-9999).
Youíve been given "the date." There are so many decisions to make. Where do you even begin?
Here are some guidelines and things to keep in mind as you plan your event:
Planning this life event can be enjoyable for both you and your child. Make sure to include your teen in these preparations. Remember that organization is the key.
Hint: Put aside a binder to keep lists, phone numbers and notes together.
|The Guest List|
Your first step is to create a master guest list. This will dictate the size of hall, the catering budget and the quantity of items you will need such as centerpieces and party favors.
Hint: Make a master list of your guests. Check for accurate spelling, complete address and include phone numbers. List children with their ages as this will assist when finalizing seating choices.
|How much will all this cost?|
Possible categories may include the rental hall, food and drink, music, photographer, videographer, invitations, benchers, kippot, linens, decorations, balloons and party favors. Donít forget to include in your budget the behind the scene costs like stamps, calligraphy, clothing an entire family in suits and party clothes, haircuts and bar mitzvah lessons.
Hint: Set aside a special Bar/Bat Mitzvah account.
|Should I hire a Party Planner?|
A party planner will be your advocate and guide you in making smart decisions. They are familiar with options and suppliers. Their expertise can save you time and money.
Hint: Every party planner works differently. Ask questions! What do their services include? Get references.
|Where should we have the party?|
Consider the time of day, and the time of year. What time Shabbat ends may play into this decision. Then consider where. Include in your site choices your synagogue, area hotels, catering halls, your home or even Israel.
Hint: Ask what is included in the site rental. Which caterers are permitted on site?
|Who will be catering my party?|
Get references and estimates. Ask lots of questions. Remember that your guests will be interacting with their staff as well as fine cuisine. A caterer may also assist you in coordinating your schedule of events for the night. This should be done in conjunction with your band or DJ, as well. They will work as a team.
Hint: Ask for a tasting of some dishes. Does the caterer provide the Bar/Bat Mitzvah cake?
|Do you know a good photographer?|
Again, get solid references and estimates. They are helping you preserve treasured memories. Schedule a formal sitting prior to the event.
Hint: Itís a wonderful opportunity to schedule a casual family portrait.
|Band or DJ?|
Some have dancers, some play games. Remember that your guests are as young as the youngest cousin and as old as great Grandma. The group you hire has to entertain them all. There are also magicians, balloon twisters, photo fun, arcade games, etc. to entertain those energetic teens.
Hint: Visit them in action.
This is your guestís first introduction to your event. Remember that budget when selecting an invitation. Order extras. Perhaps you can get the envelopes early and get started on addressing. Did you budget for a calligrapher?
Hint: Number the back of the response cards in case a guest does not include their name.
|Can I make the decorations and save money?|
The decorations are an area where an artistic family can really get into the creation of the celebration. Perhaps you want to emphasize the Mitzvah or a donation made in honor of your child. Or, hire an expert decorator to create an exciting look for your party site. They will highlight your childís interests, hobby or talents.
Hint: If you do the decorations yourself, remember to hire someone to set up and take down the decorations, so you can be a guest at your own party.
|Take Monday off. You did a great job!||
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Charm City Countdown