Bar/Bat Mitzvah Planning

A guide to planning every step of your child's Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

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Six months before event

    1.        Develop a guest list with current addresses.

    2.        Select and order invitations. Order thank you notes, direction cards (if needed), napkins, and guest towels at this time. Always order more invitations than you think you are going to need. Reprints of small quantities can be costly.

    3.        Keep your eyes open for interesting stamps, they add a nice touch to the envelope and reply card.

    4.        Decide on centerpieces for tables and any other decorations. "Sign-in boards" are a popular bar/bat mitzvah element and should be ordered at this time (usually through the florist/decorator).

    5.        Choose party favors for guests. These are usually theme and color related and are given to the younger guests at the celebration.

    6.        Arrange out-of-town guest accommodations. Many hotels offer special rates for large blocks of rooms, so inquire in your area.

    7.        Stay in close contact with your child's bar/bat mitzvah tutor to keep abreast of your child's progress. Keep a calm, encouraging attitude toward your child as he or she progresses through the course of study.

    8.        Decide if you will be offering other events throughout the weekend. Many families invite close friends and family to a Friday evening Shabbat dinner before the big event and a Sunday brunch.

Three months before event

    1.        Finalize all party selections, such as menu, centerpieces, and decorations.

    2.        Make appointments for hair stylists, barbers, and manicurists as needed.

    3.        Order personalized kippot (in Yiddish, yarmulkes).

Two months before event

    1.        Mail invitations. Nmber the back of the response cards to correspond to your guest list to ensure accuracy.

    2.        Create candle-lighting ceremony. Work with your child to ensure that you are writing something that he or she feels comfortable reciting at the big event.

    3.        Coordinate the entertainers and caterers to ensure that "time frames" match. Develop a timeline for the event that includes formalities, horas/dances, and food services.

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Paula Levenson is the mother of three and the stepmother of two. She has written for bluesuitmom.com