One of the top questions I’m asked by Mitzvah parents is, “Do I really need a planner?” We’ve asked expert bar and bat mitzvah planners at the top of their game what they do, how they do it, and what to look for in a planner relationship.
Who Needs a Planner?
Every teen is unique and every family needs support in different areas, even if they have planned a bar mitzvah before. Those who try the DIY route often find themselves desperate for help as they get further into the planning process, hampered by the time constraints of running a household, parenting, working, etc. For peace of mind and expertise from start to finish, it’s best to bring in an experienced event planner at the beginning. Also, planners will make the weekend special for the whole family. Rather than running around checking on details, parents can relax and enjoy being with friends and family.
What About Cost?
For those concerned about fees, think of it this way: Hiring a planner is like buying event insurance. It’s an investment in the event. Planners can often achieve savings for clients because of vendor relationships and the time they take to ensure contracts are covering all the important details. For example, if your venue contract allows only one hour of load-in time, you may be charged extra for exceeding that. Most families who work with a planner can easily stay within their budget as experienced pros know how to work with any price parameters.
Planners also save clients time. Families can focus on the service preparation, Torah study, and mitzvah projects while your planner takes care of the celebration. Let someone else do the legwork, negotiating, booking, and day-of logistics so you can truly be present for your son or daughter.
What Should You Look for in a Planner?
1. Experience. 2. Creativity 3. Good chemistry 4. An eye for detail
Families should check out examples of a planner’s work and like what they see. They should feel excited about working with the planner and enjoy the conversations they have. Teens should feel comfortable voicing their opinions and sharing their ideas with their planner.
How Do You Work with a Planner?
Every planner has their own process, but most start off with a consultation that makes sure he or she learns about what’s important to your family and zeroes in on your vision. You’ll discuss a theme (if you want one), event design, and timeline. From there, they’ll create vision boards and help assemble a vendor team to execute every detail and consult you along the way, arranging meetings to select elements of the celebration, from venue to menu!
Some planners have online planning tools to help you see as much or as little of the process as you want, tracking budget, guest list, due dates, and more. You can even ask your planner how they can help with RSVPs!
When Should You Start?
Most planners start about 12 to 18 months from the b’mitzvah date with pre-planning. In the early stages, planning is focused on major items that book far out, like venues or entertainers. About a year out from the date, you can start brainstorming themes, logos, and the event vision. Doing that too early can be a problem because teens can change their minds.
Some families engage planners when they find they need help after doing some of the work themselves, but typically that will be about six to eight months out from the date.
Reach out to a talented party planner to check availability of your date and pricing. Don’t forget to snag their Atlanta Mitzvah Connection deals for savings, listed right on their vendor pages.
During Bar and Bat Mitzvah Season, your child – and you- will likely be invited to several celebrations. If you’re in planning mode, attending other people’s parties is a great way to find out what you might want for your family’s simcha.
Most Atlanta families are welcoming non-Jewish family members and, at the very least, school and/or work friends who don’t know about much the Bar or Bat Mitzvah service. They may have never set foot in a synagogue before! Here’s are some of the best tips we’ve heard for welcoming and including non-Jews into the experience.