Your son or daughter’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a beautiful, memorable event in your lives. Planning an event of such scale and importance can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be stressful. As with any large-scale event planning, the most important thing you can do to remain stress-free is to stay organized. With proper planning and by following a goal-oriented timeline, you’ll be able to plan and execute a memorable event that honors your child while remaining stress-free. To stay organized and plan a memorable Mitzvah, follow our recommended planning timeline below.
- Schedule the date of your Bar/Bat Mitzvah with your Synagogue at least two years in advance. It won’t be too early to book a date on its calendar.
- Set your budget. Your budget will help you make choices on all other factors from your total number of guests, to your venue, to your meal selection.
- Form your guest list. Depending on the scale of the event, be sure to include family, friends, and everyone who has impacted your son or daughter’s path to adulthood.
- Reserve your venue, caterer, photographer, and stationer at least 18 months in advance. You can typically wait to reserve your DJ or band until a year prior to the event. Make sure that you choose a venue that is appropriately sized, based on your guest list.
- Decide on a theme. The theme of the Mitzvah should reflect the unique personality of your son or daughter, so be sure to get your child’s input. Remember a theme is more than just a color scheme. Consider incorporating your child’s hobbies or favorite sports teams. Provide your theme to the reception hall, caterer, and stationer so they can help to provide you with inspiration and creative ideas.
- If you expect to have a lot of family and friends who will be traveling from out of town, reserve a block of hotel rooms 9 months in advance.
- Send save the date cards eight to twelve months in advance. A Mitzvah is a special event, and you want as many loved ones in attendance as possible. Encourage your guests to plan in advance for the day of the event so that they can make arrangements to attend.
- Book with a florist six months in advance. Share with your florist information about your theme, including colors and style preferences. Show your florist your save the date invitation so he/she can get a sense of your theme and coordinate decorations accordingly.
- Plan and order your favors. Make sure all of your guests leave with a memorable souvenir of your son or daughter’s special day.
- Six to eight weeks before the event, send your formal invitations. Include RSVP cards or instructions to make sure you can track final attendance. Ask for all responses to be received three weeks before the day of the event.
- One-month prior, create hotel packages for out-of-town guests. Include candy and sweets that are locally made, maps of the area, brochures and coupons for local activities and attractions, and bottles of water.
- Start working with your child to practice for the ceremony. Have him/her practice in front of several family members in different settings. It will help him/her to get comfortable reading the prayers and passages. Schedule a rehearsal with your Synagogue to make sure everyone involved in the ceremony knows how the event will play out.
- Plan your seating chart. Place family members and friends from out of town who don’t often see each other at the same table so that they can spend extra time together.
- Compile a list of songs for your DJ or band. Ask for input from your son or daughter to make sure his/her friends hear songs that make them excited to dance.
- Confirm your final guest list and provide your final total number of guests to your caterer.
- Write your speech. If you will be giving a speech for your child during the event, spend some time crafting your message in advance. Practice reading your speech out loud as well. Speaking at your son/daughter’s event may be an emotional experience, so the more familiar you are with your speech, the more comfortable you will feel presenting during the event.
A Bar/Bat Mitzvah marks a coming of age for young people in the Jewish community. Mitzvahs are incredibly proud moments for parents. Make sure you get to enjoy each and every moment by staying organized and identifying the key steps in your planning process and the timing for completion of each item. By managing your time, you can make sure your son or daughter is celebrated and honored at a memorable ceremony you will never forget.