Lifelong friends Camille and Jayson have grown up at Temple Beth Tikvah, where their parents became close friends through a chavurah. Knowing that many teens get doubled on b’nai mitzvah dates, the families decided to share their simcha. Because both teens wanted nighttime parties, and they had many friends in common from temple and Camp Coleman, they planned to share their celebration, too!
While the friends have different interests, favorite colors and hobbies, they agreed that they wanted an epic dance party. Working with planner Jennifer Shields of Simple Details Design, they agreed on a nightclub atmosphere with plenty of lights and subtle pops of color as their design theme.
Most importantly, moms Mary and Dalia wanted each teen’s personality to shine, and for each to feel like they were individually celebrated as they reached this milestone.
On the bima, Camille and Jayson made big impressions with family and friends, leading the prayers and delivering their messages of Torah with confidence. A Kiddush luncheon catered by Yum! followed the service, featuring popular brunch foods and an Israeli tasting display including one of the teens’ favorite Camp Coleman Shabbat treats: fresh pita with chocolate spread imported from Israel.
While each family sent out separate invitations to guests, each version created by Paper Matters noted that the celebration would be shared. This was to make sure that attendees who didn’t know both families wouldn’t be confused about the celebration plans.
Using a logo treatment created by Simple Details that combined Camille and Jayson’s initials, Atlanta Marriott Alpharetta’s main ballroom was transformed into Club CJ, for one night only. Centerpieces applied the logo in different colors for each teen, with designs that played off each other, but were unique: Camille’s rounded orb lamps used pale blue while Jayson’s industrial metal lamp centerpieces used silver. Leaving the brushed metal banquet and guest tables uncovered allowed the centerpieces and atmospheric lighting to reflect off the tabletops throughout the room.
In the teen lounge, lighted orbs in clear vases topped tables in small groupings near LED furniture with logoed pillows. DJ Neezy designed a club-worthy dance floor with partner Opus Media providing lighting that included freedom sticks (freestanding programmable LED lights) lining the dance area to provide a changing display of the teens’ color scheme. Playing Camille and Jayson’s favorite party games during the cocktail hour, DJ Neezy kept young guests engaged with trivia, a mummy contest, and a snowball dance with friends choosing partners for the guests of honor.
Adult guests found their escort cards threaded with glow bracelets, and teens helped themselves to a glow bar of blinking glasses, bracelets, rings and necklaces.
Each family made their grand entrance, followed by line dances and a spirited hora. Camille and Jayson were lifted separately, and then together, in ghost chairs wrapped with white LED lights. The dance floor stayed full with all ages dancing, including to special selections like the kids’ favorite Camp Coleman jams.
Mary said, “DJ Neezy has an intuitive style that sets him apart. He reads the room and responds to what’s happening, ensuring all ages have the best time!”
The Scenesations Photography team of Patti and Brad took both traditional event photos and their roving green screen, Screensations, was in action, with whimsical props that encouraged hamming it up for the camera.
“We loved the idea of the green screen coming to guests, because then even the relatives who prefer to stay seated could participate,” said Dalia. “And we have the fun pictures to show what was happening elsewhere in the room, and not just on the dance floor.”
The catering team at Atlanta Marriott Alpharetta created special food and beverage touches for the celebration, including house-made spicy potato chips, signature mocktails (sophisticated mint lemonade for Camille and sour patch soda for Jayson) and a tater tot bar with toppings from cheeses to veggies and sauces, along with chalkboard menus showing each guest of honor’s favorite tot combos. Adults dined on roasted salmon, filet of beef, a mashed potato bar and vegetables and salad. Desserts included a super-sized sundae bar for kids and assorted cakes for adults.
“We had several dietary needs to accommodate, plus the specific wants of our foodie teens, and the Marriott’s chef and our event manager did a beautiful job pleasing everyone,” Dalia said.
Note: The hotel was home base for out-of-town guests, as well as the party venue. The families made great use of the hospitality suite after hours, where family and friends gathered to catch up and have a snack
A family friend, who had been both teens’ preschool teacher, created a montage that featured individual presentations for each, and pictures of Camille, Jayson, and their families together through the years.
Camille’s favorite memory of the weekend was when she walked into the party for the first time and saw all her family and friends who had traveled from near and far to celebrate with her!
Jayson’s favorite moment was when DJ Neezy asked guests to “spotlight” Camille and him with the freedom stick lights, as they all sang along to Don’t Stop Believin’ by Journey.
How did Atlanta Mitzvah Connection Help?
Both moms and teens attended the Mitzvah Expo. The moms went for inspiration and to talk with vendors; the teens mostly went to eat party food and take green screen pics. The families found their DJ, venue, and photographer through atlantamitzvahconnection.com (and used their AMC deals !)
They also used the tips section of Atlanta Mitzvah Connection to help limit guest list, plan for tipping vendors and stay on a timeline.
Advice to other Parents
Both Mary and Dalia agree on doing research, but then making a decision and sticking with it. “Go to the Expo and definitely check up on the vendors you like,” Dalia said. “But then go ahead and book them, because if you snooze, you may lose.”
Mary’s budget advice is to “Create a budget that works for you and your family and choose one or two important items on which to splurge. Creating spending boundaries will help you focus on the most important aspect of the simcha, moments with cherished friends and family.”
Get a Deal on some of Camille and Jayson’s Vendors:
Invitations: Paper Matters
Venue: Marriott Alpharetta
Green Screen: Screensations
Party Consultant: Atlanta Mitzvah Connection Shelly Danz
You’ve done tons of Bar Mitzvah vendor research (including attending the Bar/Bat Mitzvah EXPO!) but you haven’t gotten to the “Yes, you’re hired!” stage? Not sure if you’re done looking around? Ask yourself these 6 questions:
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: