If you’ve never had to plan a Bat Mitzvah before, the process may seem scary and overwhelming! If you type keywords like “Bat Mitzvah planning” into an internet search engine, you will find many, many links to vendor sites, large portals, forums etc….but you’re not ready for that yet! Well, the good news is you have come to the right place to focus yourself to start your Bat Mitzvah planning. Read on to discover 14 tips that will kick start your Bat Mitzvah planning, plus check out the quick link resources I have added!
1. It’s never to early to start planning! Planning doesn’t mean choosing vendors or booking locations! You can start thinking about your daughters bat mitzvah a year and a half in advance. When you go to other peoples functions, think about what you like, what you don’t, and just start mulling over options (or ruling out options) in your mind.
2. Go low tech: Buy a folder, notebook and pen: Put the notebook inside the folder. This is for your notes, your interviews, your calculations etc. Also put in the folders any prospects, price quotations, handouts etc.
3. Download a Bat Mitzvah planning timetable to help you keep to a schedule. For a free planning timetable, email us (you don’t need to register with our site!)
4. Personalize your Bat Mitzvah: There are so many ways to celebrate a Bat Mitzvah, do your research: What is a Bat Mitzvah? How do you want to celebrate a Bat Mitzvah? What different ways or style can one celebrate a Bat Mitzvah?
5. Now you can think about the content of the Bat Mitzvah. Remember, it isn’t just about the party – your daughter is becoming a part of Jewish community. What does this mean to you? What does it mean to her? How do you want this to be reflected in the Bat Mitzvah itself? How can your Bat Mitzvah girl grow from this in terms of Jewish awareness and commitment? For ideas check out http://www.areyvut.org/
6. Choosing a community: At least part of the the Bat Mitzvah is often in a synagogue or temple. Think about which local Synagogue/Temple you identify with, meet with them to make sure that they are the right “partners” for you, and most importantly, discuss dates with them.
7. Set a date for the ceremony and the party. The date can be based around your daughter’s Hebrew birthday, or you can connect it to a festival or another special (or convenient) time. Make sure that the date you set doesn’t clash with any holidays. To find out your daughter’s Hebrew birthday check out http://www.chabad.org/calendar/birthday_cdo/aid/6228/jewish/Jewish-Birthday.htm
8. How much and who: First work out what your budget is, and based on that you can draw up a rough guest list. I found this, but have never used it. http://www.evite.com/app/party/calculator/view.do
9. What: Think about what type of event do you want? Do you want a formal do, or informal? What time of the day do you want? On a week night? Weekend? Do you want it large or intimate?
10. Where: Based on the above and your budget, choose a location for the party
11. How: Get advice: You’re nearly ready to think about vendors, themes, center pieces, mitzvah projects etc! Speak to friends who have “been there done that” to find out who they would recommend. Ask them for tips and pointers, and also ask them what mistakes they made or what to avoid. Here is where the online forums are useful – just google the key words “bat Mitzvah forums”. These are online communities of Bat Mitzvah parents like you at different stages of their Simcha – and they’re waiting to share their process with you! If you’re in the NY area, you can get consultation services from http://www.jlifeconsulting.com/site/?p=home
12. Bat Mitzvah learning: If you want your daughter to learn something for her Bat Mitzvah, you can contact your Synagogue/Temple to find out if they recommend a tutor (or ask a online or offline buddy). Get references! Find out if there is a Bat Mitzvah Year enrichment program in your Synagogue, Temple, School or JCC.
13. Choose the theme of the Bat Mitzvah. You can connect it creatively to your daughter’s Bat Mitzvah Portion, a Jewish idea or value (tsedaka, family). Go ahead and Google “bat Mitzvah themes”, you’ll get loads more ideas from there…
14. Make a list of vendors that you will need: you may think about hiring a party planner, caterer, photographer, videographer, entertainer, florist etc. get recommendations about particular vendors and interview them – make sure that they are people that you will be happy to work with. We wrote an article on choosing a photographer; you can use some of the guidelines for other service vendors: https://www.yourjewishspeech.com/bar-mitzvah/109-choosing-a-photographer-for-your-barbat-mitzvah
With that we’ve covered the big details, there are many smaller details, and we recommend that you consult you Bat Mitzvah Planning Schedule for further details. (Email us and ask for one, you don’t need to register for our site)!
Most importantly remember, this is your daughter’s Big Day, she is the Bat Mitzvah girl. Let her have an appropriate amount of involvement and choice in the planning, and make sure that the occasion you have planned is something that she will look forward to and want to remember!