Planning & Checklist

Let us help you with our Planning & Checklist

Below is a timeline based list to help you make sure you have everything covered for your Bar/Bat Mitzvah planning. Use what applies to you and disregard the rest.

12+ Months

  • Begin envisioning your son's or daughter's Bar/Bat Mitzvah -- formal hotel or synagogue? Casual at-home get-together? Need help getting started? We got you covered.
  • Decide on a budget.
  • Pick your preferences for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah date and time, and finalize after okaying with important guests, location, or officiant.
  • Begin interviewing party planners (if you'll have one) and/or start asking family and friends for local Bar/Bat Mitzvah vendor recommendations.

10 to 12 Months

  • Sign your son/daughter up for Bar/Bat Mitzvah classes at your synagogue.
  • Start interviewing caterers.
  • Scout out Bar/Bat Mitzvah sites.
  • Start looking for a rabbi who suits your family's style and spirit, if you don't have one already.
  • Book your synagogue and/or Bar/Bat Mitzvah site as soon as you see something you love that's available on your date.
  • Get organized! Start a notebook/file folder to house all your Bar Mitzvah-planning paperwork in one place.
  • Begin working on a preliminary Bar/Bat Mitzvah guest list and decide on your Bar/Bat Mitzvah's approximate size.
  • Choose a color scheme or your Bar/Bat Mitzvah's style. Take into account the decor of the rooms/areas you have reserved for your ceremony and reception.
  • Decide on a caterer. Calculate an approximate price per head and begin working on a menu.
  • Brush up on Bar/Bat Mitzvah traditions you might want to incorporate into your ceremony or party.
  • Finalize the guest list.
  • Sign your caterer contract and send in a deposit.
  • Book The Maxwell Street Klezmer Band!
  • Set up appointments with various florists to discuss options.
  • Interview and get price lists from several photographers and videographers.

6 to 8 Months

  • Begin looking for a baker to make your Bar/Bat Mitzvah cake. Your caterer is the best source for leads.
  • Reserve photographer and/or videographer, decide on a package, sign contract, and send deposit.
  • Choose your florist and send a deposit to reserve their services.
  • If you are ordering a dress (especially one that'll require tailoring), start shopping now. Order as much in advance as possible to leave time for last-minute alterations.
  • Set aside blocks of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests.
  • Book a baker, choose your Bar/Bat Mitzvah cake design, and send a deposit.
  • Finalize menu and service details with caterer.
  • Order your Bar/Bat Mitzvah invitations, announcements, and thank you notes (don't forget plenty of extra envelopes).

4 to 6 Months

  • Decide on a floral scheme, choose flowers, and negotiate prices with florist. Be sure to sign a contract outlining what you agreed upon.
  • Start thinking about ways to decorate, if you haven't already.
  • Reserve tables, chairs, and/or other rental equipment you'll need (unless caterer or site is taking care of it).
  • Compile information packages for out-of-town guests with hotel reservation and city information, and mail them out.

3 Months Before

  • Make or buy favors. Allow extra time for custom-made favors (i.e., chocolates in a preprinted box).
  • Pick up your invitations.
  • Start addressing invitations or drop them off with the calligrapher (you'll need to send them out at the two-month mark).
  • Arrange Bar/Bat Mitzvah-day transportation for you, your family, and guests (as needed).
  • Send out invitations (be sure to add extra postage for overseas guests).

2 Months Before

  • Confirm reservations for out-of-town guests.
  • Arrange parking for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah, if needed.
  • Order liquor, wine and/or champagne if they're not included in the catering contract.
  • Arrange for a special entertainment, like dancers.
  • Buy a guest book (and some nice pens).

1 Month Before

  • Work on a list of "must-play" (and "must-not play") songs with your Maxwell Street Klezmer Band bandleader.
  • If you've ordered a dress or suit, pick it up from the store and have your final fittings done.
  • Have a follow-up meeting or phone call with rabbi to go over Bar/Bat Mitzvah timing and details.
  • Sit for your family portrait if included in your photography package.
  • Get a head start on those thank-you notes (it will feel great to get a batch out before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah).

2 Weeks Before

  • Give final head count to the caterer. Confirm set-up instructions and menu items.
  • Call location manager and make sure your vendors all have access to the site when they need it.
  • Confirm head count, delivery time, and location with the baker.
  • Call guests who haven't RSVP'd for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah. It's okay to do this, you need a final head count!
  • Start putting together the seating plan if you're having a seated meal.
  • Finalize seating chart. Buy materials for and make place cards (give typed names to the calligrapher if you're using one).
  • Confirm delivery locations, times, and final arrangement count with florist.
  • Prepare your toasts or thanks to friends and family.
  • Give seating chart to caterer, location manager, party planner or host.
  • Fax transportation providers a schedule and addresses for pickups on the Bar/Bat Mitzvah day.
  • Confirm all final payment amounts with your vendors.
  • Confirm location, date, and time with videographer.
  • Confirm location, date, and time with photographer; create your "must-take" photo list.
  • Prepare out-of-towner gift bags.

The Day Before

  • Get some much-needed sleep -- if you can!
  • Deliver out-of-towner gift bags.
  • Drop off favors, guest book, and pen at the Bar/Bat Mitzvah site.

The Day of

  • Confirm with people who you expect to give/lead toasts at the Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
  • Take a moment to tell your son/daughter how much you love him/her.
  • Relax, smile, and enjoy the day!

After the Bar Mitzvah

  • Upload your digital photographs onto a photo-sharing website. These will probably be the first photos available since professional proofs can take weeks.
  • Make sure all vendor bills have been paid in full.
  • Find out when you can expect your edited Bar/Bat Mitzvah video (if you used a videographer).
  • Within two months of your Bar/Bat Mitzvah, set aside some evenings to help your son or daughter write that stack of thank-you notes.

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