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Planning & Checklist

Let us help you with your 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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