Mitzvah Planning Tips
Mitzvahs are something worth celebrating in a BIG way, but with such a big event comes many details. We’ve helped create memories for hundreds of Mitzvah clients over the years, and during that time they’ve told us many things that they wish they knew when they started.
Below are just some of the ideas we’ve heard the most. These include ways to reduce your stress when planning a Mitzvah, and ways to take your Mitzvah to the next level. Some of these you’ve probably already heard of others, but others maybe not. However, many clients of ours have taken these tips to heart, and been thankful that they did.
1. Get the Guest List Done (Early)
First and foremost, getting the guest list done is essential. Who are your trying to invite to the event, and who is your child going to invite? Sit down with your special someone and come up with a large list of possible names, including (of course) family and friends. See where that number comes out to, and starting trimming it down from there.
Getting the guest list figured out earlier allows you to send out the invitations earlier, which then helps with the overall response rate. Once you have a number of guests in mind, you can then start searching synagogues to see which ones can cater to the type of party you have in mind.
2. Iron out Details with the Synagogue
Once the guest list is figured out, it’s time to hone in on what synagogue you have in mind for your child’s Mitzvah. This rite of passage deserves a synagogue that offers the type of celebration you desire. Synagogues are sometimes booked years in advance, so the quicker you can get to this step the better.
After getting the Synagogue selected and the date in place, ask them about the other details that you will eventually have to deal with as well. Rehearsal times, for example, are things that would be good to figure out with them. Ask the clergy questions, as they are there to help and are some of the kindest people we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.
3. Figure Out a Budget
When planning a Mitzvah, you’ll save yourself time and stress by figuring out a budget. Many people want to skip over this part, as even budgeting in real life can be a pain. Don’t do what they do - get a budget together.
Even if it’s very basic and covers just the essential categories – such as:
Give yourself a basic idea of what you want to spend,
and start gathering information on what it will cost to fill these categories.
There’s very little things that annoy Mitzvah parents more trying to put
together a Mitzvah and spending more than they initially wanted to.
4. Deciding Whether or Not to Have a Theme
Unlike for example Sweet 16s, Mitzvahs don’t always have to have themes. However, a theme is a great way to unify all of the decorations and colors a party might have - and it will impress your guests as well. There are many themes to choose from, but in choosing one we suggest talking to your special someone who is having their Mitzvah.
What are their favorite TV Shows? Or hobbies? We’ve done everything from “Movie-Themed” Mitzvahs to even one based around rockclimbing. Themes aren’t a necessity, but are encouraged. See if your child wants a theme, and then do some research into how that would look.
5. Prompt Invitations
Your guests will need to get invitations to know about the party, but be sure to send them out promptly. One of the easiest ways you can alleviate some stress when it comes to planning a Mitzvah is to get invitations out early. Doing so allows you to focus quicker on what matters (planning the party) and not have to linger on letting people know about the Mitzvah.
After all, the earlier people know about your child’s Mitzvah the greater likelihood that they will be able to attend. Good response rates also allow you to have a better idea on how many people are coming – giving you a better idea of how much to budget, what venue size you’ll need, etc.
6. Don’t Stress The Venue
Speaking of the venue, make sure you don’t stress the venue. Venues are very important, but shouldn’t be everything. If you put hours and hours into finding the perfect venue, only to find out it was booked on your particular date, you will be disappointed. We feel there are other things worth getting perfect, such as entertainment (though maybe we’re a little bias) or the overall aesthetic of the party.
There are many venues that will help you throw a great Mitzvah, so don’t lose sleep over finding the perfect one. Shop around, find a couple that work, and then decide. The best Mitzvahs are ones that don’t rely on having the perfect venue, but get the other small details right.
7. Ask Away (We Insist)
In the midst of the planning for a Mitzvah, questions will arise. Whether it’s for the entertainment, how the food will be prepared, etc. – never forget that the vendors are here for you. Whenever you have any thoughts/suggestions, or ideas on how things might be able to run more smoothly - please don’t hesitate to ask.
The more informed we are about what you want, the more effective the Mitzvah will run. We want to make you happy, and if you’re happy you’ll enjoy yourself more. Always be asking questions, and make sure we are staying on schedule – after all, you’re the one paying us!
8. The “Must Play” List
Some Entertainment DJs don’t have a “Must Play” list, though the good ones know how crucial it is. Music is a very important factor of every party, and if a DJ knows which songs your child’s favorites then it can take the party to the next level. Make sure you ask the entertainment if they have a “Must Play” list, and ask your child if they have songs they really want to hear at their Mitzvah.
What also goes well with this is a DNP list (or a “Do Not Play” List). While mainly used in weddings, having one for a Mitzvah can’t hurt as well. Are there songs your son is just tired of hearing? Or maybe some line dances like the “Chicken Dance” that your daughter can’t stand? DJs are able to pick up on most of these trends (what’s out of date and what’s irrelevant) but it can’t hurt to give them a list of what your child also thinks. This gives them a better understanding of the personality of this Mitzvah, and they will cater the ambiance towards it – resulting in everyone having a better time.
9. Gift Bags
A small but often overlooked thing that we recommend for Mitzvahs are gift bags for departing guests. These are not essential, yet are a great way to leave someone with lingering mementos about the great times they just had. They can be filled with just about anything, from candy to keychains.
Gift bags are cheap too, so you won’t have to worry about breaking the bank on them. If each goodie bag costs more than a couple dollars a person, then you’re doing it wrong. Gift bags are even a great final way to tie together a theme you’ve chosen, making the Mitzvah you are throwing that much more memorable.
The final thing we tell people with planning just about any party is that the #1 thing you can do for yourself is to get things done early. Knocking things off your checklist in advance will ease the stress around throwing a Mitzvah, and help your planning go smoothly.
As much as this Mitzvah is about your child, remember that you deserve a little fun too. Mitzvahs are not easy things to pull off, so any advice on ways to reduce stress should be taken into account. But most importantly remember that at the end of the day, the most important part is your special someone entering into the next stage of their life - never lose sight of that.