Manage that Mitzvah


The key to any successful event is planning and organization and this is particularly the case for a bar/bat mitzvah. Having a schedule to assist with this planning can help keep your simcha on time, within budget and avoid forgetting any important steps. Use the following timetable as a guide, adjusting and adding other items as you see necessary.

18 MONTHS – 2 YEARS BEFORE EVENT

  • Secure the date with temple/synagogue
  • Start thinking of the type of celebration you want to have
  • Set a budget

12 – 18 MONTHS BEFORE EVENT

  • Prepare a preliminary guest list
  • Meet with a party planner
  • Book venue, caterer, DJ, photographer, videographer and any other entertainment
  • Choose theme and/or color scheme
  • Discuss with your child their mitzvah project and schedule time to achieve their project goals

9 – 12 MONTHS BEFORE EVENT

  • Send out save-the-date cards (if desired)
  • Book hotel rooms for out-of-town guests
  • Decide on centerpieces, balloon designs/prop designs

6 – 9 MONTHS BEFORE EVENT

  • Tutoring begins for Torah portion; check with synagogue on schedule and timeline for meetings with rabbi and cantor
  • Create guest lists for various weekend events (if applicable)

6 MONTHS BEFORE EVENT

  • Order invitations and thank-you notes
  • Finalize guest list
  • Set up spreadsheet to track RSVP’s and gifts
  • Order sign-in board
  • Start working on décor (room layout, centerpieces, lighting, etc.)

3 MONTHS BEFORE EVENT

  • Finalize menu and decor
  • Start clothes shopping
  • Order kippot for religious services
  • Order imprinted personalized accessories and giveaways/party favors
  • Mail out-of-town invitations

2 MONTHS BEFORE EVENT

  • Mail invitations
  • Create candle-lighting ceremony, determine who to honor
  • Coordinate the entertainers and caterers, create a timeline for the day of the event

1 MONTH BEFORE EVENT

  • Create welcome bags/baskets or out-of-town guests; include schedule and directions
  • Coordinate transportation for out-of-town guests
  • Reconfirm all services (photographers, entertainers, etc.)
  • Connect with DJ with music requests
  • Develop a seating plan
  • Schedule rehearsal time with the temple/synagogue
  • Write toasts and speeches
  • Make sure all centerpieces, sign-in board, giveaways and other decorations are ready
  • Place announcement in synagogue bulletin

1 WEEK BEFORE EVENT

  • Confirm final guest count, set-up instructions and menu items with caterer
  • Adjust seating plan
  • Drop-off/make arrangements for decorations to arrive at the venue
  • Take formal pictures
  • Provide final payments or make arrangements with vendors

DAY OF EVENT

  • Make sure you and your child have a good breakfast
  • Leave yourself plenty of time to get ready
  • Remember to bring kippot, tallit, aliyah list, Torah study note, handouts, speeches, matches/lighter and any other personal items to the service
  • Praise the bar/bat mitzvah throughout the day for their excellent job and incredible effort
  • Relax and enjoy the day!!!
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