When you begin to plan your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration, it’s helpful to sit down and come up with a budget. That usually begins with a list of the various vendors you will need to make your child’s celebration special. Your initial list is something similar to the below:
Catering Hall/Venue, Kiddush, Yarmulkes, Invitations, DJ, Photo Favors, Photographer and Videographer, Centerpieces/Décor, Sign-in Board, Favors, Clothes for Family, Hair/Make-Up
But what about all the other hidden costs you might not be thinking about? We checked in with a few Mitzvah Moms who have already been through the planning process and they recommend that you remember to think about the following when planning your budget:
Lots of tipping – Many venues, entertainment companies and florists will provide you with a list of suggested tips for their staff. This is sometimes a surprise and not something you included in your original budget.
Your favors – They are ordered and look great, but then you realize you want to present them in a bag of some type with tissue paper. This is an extra cost that can come up unexpectedly.
Labels/Water bottles – Hopefully your children can make their own labels on the computer, but you might need to buy cases of water bottles so your guests won’t be thirsty on the ride home!
Place cards – If you are having calligraphy done for your place cards, don’t forget to factor in this added cost.
Stamps/postage – After you approve the text and design of your invitation, your child might talk you into a matching customized stamp from a Website like Zazzle.com. To have a stamp that matches your invitation design or with your child’s initials or their photo, could cost double of what postage would be with a regular stamp.
An additional photo session – Many photographers offer a casual portrait session. If you are a family of girls, the hair and make-up bill is something you might not have thought about.
Amenity baskets – This is usually not remembered until the end of your planning. You might want one for the catering hall bathroom and a basket to hold the yarmulkes at your Temple. Many Moms create these themselves, but you still need to buy the items and in some cases the basket and ribbon.
Insurance - If your child’s party is during the winter months, you might want to consider taking out some party insurance.
Thank you notes – These are sometimes ordered with the invitations, but it is an additional cost. Additionally, don’t forget about the postage you need to place on these!
Socks – Many of the kids (especially the girls) remove their shoes shortly after arriving at the party. Many Moms buy socks in bulk to have handy for the kids to wear on the dance floor.
Bus Transportation – If your child’s celebration is immediately following your service or if the party is a distance away, you might want to provide bus transportation for the kids. You do need to plan ahead and include this information on your invitations.
Party Security – If your venue doesn’t include this service, you might want to consider hiring outside security so you can enjoy the party knowing that the young guests are being supervised.
End of night treat: Although most parties have terrific dessert buffets, many families choose to have a parting food treat as guests are leaving or a candy buffet with bags. Either way, you need to consider these costs in your budget.
Limo/Car Service – Another last minute thought is to arrange for your immediate family to get to and from the party via limo or car service. This usually isn’t something that goes into your original budget 1-2 years before your planning begins.
Day after Brunch – Why not continue the celebration the day after with a brunch. Although it might only involve bagels and coffee, it does add up!
Creating a Bar/Bat Mitzvah budget is essential in your planning, but is only useful if you include ALL the costs, so there aren’t any surprises.
By Sheri Lapidus, Founder, www.MitzvahMarket.com
Sheri Lapidus is a public relations executive with over 20 years’ experience. After working in various roles at NBC-TV, CBS-TV, In Style and Elle magazines, she founded www.MitzvahMarket.com, a free online resource for Bar/Bat Mitzvah planning families.