• Bar & Bat Mitzvah Planning Tips From Industry Pros

    Leading local vendors share their wisdom on how to have the best Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration ever

    By Eric Messinger

    PLANNING

    Tips From Claudia Warner Of Gourmet Advisory Services
    gourmetadvisory.com

    One Party Trend You’re Loving: We have noticed a trend growing in popularity of clients not wanting to host a traditional celebration with a three course served meal. We’re loving the alternative take on a formal party. We still believe in assigning areas or sections for guests to find a “home,” which gives them a place to put their pocketbook down or take off their jacket. However, they aren’t necessarily stuck at a 60-inch round table for a whole evening. The seating areas may be comprised of couches and lounge vignettes and communal tables, both high and low. We often incorporate family style mezze items placed on the tables. We also pass small, composed plates and place interactive and interesting stations around the room. Guests are able to graze a little more and enjoy the kind of food they really want to eat, while still giving the evening the structure it needs.

    One Wonderful Party Idea You Recently Tried: We recently produced an event where we capitalized on the popularity of James Corden’s “Carpool Karaoke.” We brought in the façade of a car, where guests were able to pile in to a vehicle, which was equipped with a sound and video recording system, and sing on the top of their lungs! This proved to be a huge hit that spanned all generations of guests in attendance.

    Three Great Venues: Opulent, Artsy, Under The Radar: Opulent: Ziegfeld Theater. Artsy: Glass Houses. Under The Radar: Current.

    ENTERTAINMENT

    Tips From Larry Gold Of Unique Musique
    uniquemusique.com

    Advice For Picking An Entertainment Company: Stay true to who you are as a family. Each performer has a style or characteristic that best describes him or her. It’s important to match your specific entertainer to your family. If you choose an Emcee that is “over the top” and you are a more grounded family, your son or daughter may shrink into the crowd, rather than embrace the center of attention. If you are looking for something that is exciting and more spiritual, your choice of entertainment is even more critical, so as not to have the cliché Mitzvah party experience.

    One Party Idea That’s Under The Radar: When families get their Mitzvah date, they immediately think of a great DJ for entertainment. However, flying under the radar, is the addition of live music! Live music is so impactful when it’s done well. Live music as a first impression in the adult’s cocktail lounge sets the tone for the dance party later on. A featured, high energy musician that performs in sync with the DJ adds something exciting and unique to the celebration that will definitely be talked about when the night is over.

    Five Songs On Every Kid’s Mitzvah Playlist Right Now: “24k Magic” by Bruno Mars; “Green Light” by Pitbull; “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber; “Side To Side” by Ariana Grande; and “Closer” by The Chainsmokers.

    PHOTOGRAPHY

    Tips From Michael Jurick Of Michael Jurick Photography
    jurick.net

    Advice For Picking A Photographer: Love the photographic style that connects with your sensibilities because it will be with you every moment of the way throughout your event—and after.

    One Idea That Never Misses: A big confetti grand finale. I just love it!

    One Idea That’s Under The Radar: Designing a “Coming Soon” movie poster for the party from photographs captured during the portrait session before the party.

    DESIGN/FLORALS

    Tips From Jennifer Gould Of Diana Gould Ltd.
    dianagouldltd.com

    One Design Idea That Never Misses: Illumination. There is nothing like walking into a room that has the perfect lighting from a stunning ambient glow throughout the space to touches of illumination incorporated into the table top decor.

    One Design Idea That’s Under The Radar: Movement. I personally love when I can add a special touch of movement on the tabletops or as a central focal point in the room. Something a bit unexpected and unique. For example, I recently created an oversized illuminated light box with beautiful photographs of the Bat Mitzvah girl. The light box rotated in the center of a stunning four-sided custom bar we designed. It was so exciting to walk into the space and see all the beautiful images rotating throughout the night.

    What Are Some Great Spring Flowers For Mitzvahs? For our Bat Mitzvahs we love incorporating orchids and peonies and for our Bar Mitzvahs you can never go wrong with calla lilies.

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    INVITATIONS 

    Tips From Laura Theodoros Of Love Laura Gifts
    lovelauragifts.com

    One Trend That Never Misses: These days a square card mounted on a board with painted edge is the new classic. We like to take the trend and add a personal touch—whether it’s typestyle, liner, or backing.

    One Design Idea That’s Under The Radar: While we love a nice clean look, interesting papers (wood, metallic, faux suede/skin) says you can be out of the box yet tasteful and contemporary.

    PLANNING

    Tips From Lisa Jaffe Of Jaffe Events
    jaffeevents@gmail.com

    One Party Trend You’re Loving: How about two? Virtual reality gaming: It does not take up any room in the venue, just a head set. And Vinyl decals: Wall decals and floor decals—vinyl decals everywhere. They are easy to install and easy to remove.

    One Wonderful Party Idea You Recently Tried: A shoe check station! Instead of large 12”-by-12” walls of cubbies for bags, shoes, and giveaways that take up a lot of valuable space at the venue, I designed and created a shoe check station with smaller cubby sections behind an 8-ft table. Kids can check their shoes like at a bowling alley, get their dance floor socks, and then retrieve their gift bag when they collect their shoes. The cubby sections also had a built in charging station to encourage the kids to check their phone too!

    Three Great Venues: Opulent, Artsy, Under The Radar: Opulent: Edison Ballroom. Artsy: Harlem Stage. Under The Radar: Union Square Ballroom.

    ENTERTAINMENT

    Tips From David Sharky Of Untouchable Events
    untouchableevents.com

    One Party Idea That Never Misses: Swag! Throughout an event it is very important to continue to create moments. The introduction of personalized and cool swag, to be distributed at the most opportune times, helps to keep the energy and flow of the party intact. It could be a cool logo hat, or a professional jersey from one of the local sporting teams, that keeps the kids jumping for joy.

    One Wonderful Party Idea That’s Under The Radar: We often develop a unique performance to each event that adds a personal touch. Having a guest of honor, or a parent, or even both, perform one of their special talents can create a phenomenal experience!

    Five Songs That Are On Every Kid’s Mitzvah Playlist Right Now: “Juju On That Beat” by Jay Hilfigerrr and Zayion McCall; “Broccoli” by D.R.A.M.; “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd; “Bad and Boujee” by Migos; and “Closer” by The Chainsmokers.

    PHOTOGRAPHY 

    Tips From Sarah Merians Of Sarah Merians Photography & Video Company
    sarahmerians.com

    One Idea That Never Misses: A money shot that never misses is a large kids group shot with all the kids pointing at the Mitzvah child with lots of energy and fun! We often will make this image as a panorama and two page spread in the middle of the album. Another shot that never misses is when the child is lifted high up on a chair for their celebration Hora! But now there’s a twist: Kids today are also taking “selfies” once they’re up in the air with all their family and friends below. It’s an instant capture of one of the best moments of their life.

    One Idea That’s Under The Radar: One of our favorite under the radar photo ideas that we do here is creating a huge shot of all the kids and producing it in Black & White with the Mitzvah child as the only person in color! This is called a splash of color and is very creative and allows the child to literally “stand out from the crowd.”

    What’s Can A Family Can Do To Help Their Photographer Do A Great Job: We suggest families really think through their clothing choices for the temple and the party, and select clothing that doesn’t clash in colors or patterns and that works well together as a family unit.

    DESIGN & FLORALS

    Tips From Rebecca Shepherd Of Rebecca Shepherd Floral Design
    rshepherdfloraldesign.com

    One Floral Trend That Never Misses: Color blocking is super fun, modern, and interesting. I love to play on both textures and contrasts… Spending a few extra dollars on a cool containers can totally make the arrangement. Or, springing for a few focal flowers that make an impact, like peony or protea, can be that tipping point for a gorgeous and playful floral.

    One Idea That’s Under The Radar: Cactuses! I am in love with them. They are interesting, long lasting, and unexpected. I love to incorporate them as a favor, or perhaps for a cocktail table.

    What Are Some Great Spring Flowers For Mitzvahs? I love allium and daffodils for both girls and boys. They are whimsical and modern.

    INIVTATIONS 

    Tips From Tracy Hattem Of a little card company
    alittlecardco.com

    One Idea That Never Misses: Classic, clean, and lots of white space.

    One Material That’s Under The Radar: Edging.

    The Biggest Mistake A Person Can Make When Planning The Invitation: Following the pack! It’s better to trust your gut and follow your family’s sensibilities.

    Local Goods & Services To Make Your Mitzvah Special

    PHOTOGRAPHERS

    Fred Marcus Studio
    Heidi Green Photography
    Michael Jurick Photography
    Sarah Merians Photography & Video

    FLORISTS

    Blooming Affairs
    Diana Gould Ltd.
    Rebecca Shepherd Floral Design

    INVITATIONS & FAVORS

    a little card company
    Alpine Creative Group
    Lemon Leaf
    Love Laura Gifts
    Notes by Nanette

    ENTERTAINMENT

    Cirque-tacular Entertainment
    Pure Energy
    Shine Events
    Total Entertainment
    Unique Musique
    Untouchable Events

    EVENT PLANNING & CATERING

    CONTEMPO Space
    EMRG Media
    Events by Alyssa
    Gourmet Advisory Services
    Jaffe Events
    Turner Landis Creations

    GIVING BACK

    ALEH Foundation
    The Jewish Museum
    The Museum of Jewish Heritage

    For our guide to the best Bar and Bat Mitzvah venues in NYC, click here.

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