How to Plan a Bar/Bat Mitzvah in New York or CT
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by Judy Antell August 26, 2008

   You may get the date for your child’s bar/bat mitzvah two or three years before the actual event, but serious party planning doesn’t really start till about a year before.  The only things you may have to decide two years in advance are where you will hold the party, and if it will be an afternoon or evening affair.  The following should help the planning process:

One year before
• Choose a party planner and meet to discuss options.
• Interview and give deposit to DJ, videographer and photographer.

Eleven months before
• Contact hotels and decide where you would like to reserve rooms. Make a block of reservations.
• Bring the bar/bat mitzvah child to meet with party planner to give input on theme and decorations.

Ten months before
• Create a guest list with complete addresses.
• Send ‘Save the Date’ cards.

Eight months before
• Begin looking at invitations, and decide on the wording you want.
• If you plan to transport the kids to and from the party, contact bus companies to determine the options.

Seven months before
• Decide on calligraphy style for invitations and place the order. Also order thank you notes.
• Order kippot.
• Contact the party facility to plan your menu.

Six months before
• Arrange Shabbat dinner the night before the bar/bat mitzvah, and Sunday brunch afterward.

Five months before
• Have an invitation weighed at the post office, then choose and purchase postage.

Four months before
• Meet with your party planner to decide on imprinted accessories and giveaways.
• Decide if you want to have welcome bags in the hotel rooms for out of town guests, and discuss with your party planner.

Two months before
• Mail invitations.
• Finalize welcome bag orders for hotel guests with party planner.
• Shop for your child’s dress/suit/outfits/shoes for all events, and bring to the tailor if necessary.
• Make sure the rest of family has outfits and shoes for all events, and bring to tailor if necessary.

Four weeks before
• Decide how you want to do hair and makeup and make necessary appointments.
• Order food for Shabbat dinner and brunch.

Three weeks before
• Assign tables based on RSVP responses.
• Plan Kiddush; if you are having an evening affair, you may want to serve a light lunch.

Two Wednesdays before
• Call anyone who has not RSVP-ed.
• Finalize seating.
• Check fit of dress/suit/shoes on child.

Monday before
• Send list of table assignments to your party planner for seating cards.

Three days before
• Haircut.

Day before
• Gift bags delivered to hotel by party planner.
• Confirm early appointment for hair and makeup tomorrow.
• Shabbat dinner.