Allie’s bat mitzvah at Congregation Gesher L’Torah was a true family affair. Not only did the bat mitzvah read Torah beautifully and deliver a meaningful message from the bimah, but family members added something special.
Allie’s bat mitzvah at Congregation Gesher L’Torah was a true family affair. Not only did the bat mitzvah read Torah beautifully and deliver a meaningful message from the bimah, but family members added something special. Allie’s three college-aged brothers, grandfather, and parents Michelle and Michael all learned additional sections of the Torah portion so that they could chant as well on her big day.
“It was truly unique for everyone to dedicate the time to not just do the blessings, but also learn to chant part of the portion,” said mom Michelle. “Having everyone together, sharing in the service in that way was so wonderful.”
Following the service, the family hosted a Kiddush luncheon catered by Mandilicious at the synagogue for their 150 guests. The Alpharetta Marriott housed out-of-town guests and served as the evening celebration’s venue. Michelle and Michael chose it because they were impressed with the renovations of the event space and looked forward to in-house food and beverage, having previously chosen venues where all catering had to be brought in.
Although Allie has several interests and talents, like competitive cheerleading, she didn’t want a particular theme for her celebration. She wanted her party to twinkle like the fairy lights she loves in her bedroom, and to incorporate her favorite color: pink. Atlanta Mitzvah Connection’s Shelly Danz and Michelle designed a room décor plan combining some DIY elements with select vendor support to make the ballroom glow.
With light as the main décor element, Simply Lit hung hundreds of fairy lights over the dance floor in soft white and set a 20-foot wall of lights in one section of the ballroom. It was a huge focal point in the room and served as a great backdrop for photos during the evening.
Using the Mariott’s mirrored trays as bases, Michelle went simple but elegant with centerpieces she created, using vases, fairy lights, and large pink fabric flowers and votive candles.
Note: Michelle bought some decor items, and when Allie’s bat mitzvah was finished, she sold many of them!
Three-foot marquee letters spelling out Allie’s name in pink provided a dramatic entrance to the dance floor. Jammin’ DJs coordinated uplighting and lights around the dance floor to complement the color scheme and glow effect.
While adults enjoyed their cocktail hour, teens played games with the DJs, including Coke and Pepsi, and a lip synch contest. When Allie’s family was introduced, they entered to their specially selected songs, and Jammin’ DJs set off their cold sparks effects, that look like fireworks but are safe for indoor display. The snowball dance was a big hit with Allie’s friends, many of whom hadn’t participated in one before.
“The DJs did an amazing job,” said Michelle. “They are newer to the Mitzvah scene and matched our budget so well, plus we got our AMC discount. They had great energy and kept kids and adults on the dance floor all night, from the hora to even breakdancing!”
Jammin’ DJs also provided the greenscreen photo entertainment with a fun backdrop. Allie opted for the 4 x 6 prints rather than the small multi-strips. Teens took home the prints, and the family got an electronic version of all pictures.
Spotlight Productions created the video montage, and guests were blown away by its creativity and unexpected touches. While Michelle had difficulty narrowing down the photos for the video, Pam of Spotlight assisted with editing and made it work beautifully.
“We didn’t want it to go too long,” said Michelle. “Pam didn’t just use photos, she changed it up and even made a TikTok-style segment in the middle that thrilled the kids!”
Spotlight also animated Allie’s logo (designed by a family friend) to be projected throughout the night on the DJ screens, a thoughtful touch that added to the décor in a dynamic way.
Photographer Chuck Robertson captured the simcha for the family, taking photos prior to the bat mitzvah and during the weekend. “He makes everyone feel comfortable,” Michelle said. “And because of that, we wound up with amazing pictures!”
The Alpharetta Marriott’s catering team served the teens a Tex-Mex feast, with quesadillas, tacos, nachos, and all the fixings. Adults enjoyed carving stations of tenderloin and salmon, along with salads, grilled vegetables and pasta. The hotel provided a Viennese table of sweets, but Allie’s family brought in Batter Cookie Dough as a special dessert treat, with multiple flavors to scoop and top.
The evening was filled with dancing and fun, and at its end, Allie said it was the best night of her life.
Guests took home logoed mugs with packets of gourmet hot chocolate and chocolate-covered spoons wrapped up in cellophane.
How did Atlanta Mitzvah Connection Help?
Advice to Other Parents
Michelle said, “Figure out what’s most important to you to spend your money on. See what you can do yourself and what you want a pro to help with.”
Because she had the ability and creativity, she felt comfortable making centerpieces. She saved there but splurged elsewhere. She also recommends being realistic about getting the help you need. “I needed help to stay on track. If that’s you, get an experienced friend to help manage your timeline or hire someone.”
Get a Deal on Some of Allie’s Vendors:
Venue: Alpharetta Marriott– Based on food and beverage commitment, choose from complimentary upgrades like complimentary passed appetizers during cocktail hour, double Marriott Rewards Points, complimentary hospitality suite for weekend of event, complimentary guestroom for night of event, and other perks.
DJ: Jammin’ DJs – Complimentary uplighting or $100 off package.
Montage: Spotlight Productions – $25 off your montage package.
Green Screen: Jammin’s DJs – Complimentary uplighting or $100 off package.
Maybe you’ve heard of your city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, but you have no idea what it does. Get excited, because your CVB can help a LOT with your bar/bat mitzvah planning. For real. We spoke to Visit Sandy Springs and the Awesome Alpharetta CVB to get the details. Here’s why you should reach out:
Divorce. Estrangement. Death. Real life issues can cast a long shadow on a joyful occasion. Don’t let them. We asked Jill Leitman, LCSW of Johns Creek Counseling & Coaching Services for tips to dealing with challenging family circumstances when preparing for a child to become a Bar/Bat Mitzvah.