Most Asked Questions of Your CPO (Chief Party Officer)

Planning your family’s Mitzvah celebration is exciting! But it also can be stressful to worry about many “unknowns.” I’ve found that many parents have the same concerns. Here are the most asked questions I hear, along with my answers. Let’s get this planning started!!

Where do I start?
Start with your guest list (you need to estimate how many people you’ll have to select a venue!) and then contract the big three vendors: venue, entertainment, and photography. To see what comes next, grab my monthly to-do list here.

Who do we invite?
Although many struggle with who to include, I have some easy questions that’ll help you determine whether guests should make the cut.

What is this going to cost?
Budgets can vary widely, and you may spend more on some elements than others depending on what is most important for your family, how many guests you’ll have, etc. Remember, the best way to keep costs from getting out of hand is to track everything. Try this budget spreadsheet to track your expenses.

Who is supplying what?
Every venue is different, so you should ask and then confirm. Never assume the caterer is supplying linens, the venue is supplying challah, or that your venue has an on-site planner to assist you day-of. 

How do I make sure the DJ doesn’t play songs we hate?
You will meet with your DJ in the weeks just before your simcha to go over the party flow with you and your planner, and get a list of the songs that you want to hear along with your Mitzvah kid’s current faves. You should plan for what you want to do with on-site requests so that if a guest asks for a song that’s on your “do not play” list, the DJ is empowered to handle that situation graciously.

Who do I tip and how much?
You won’t tip all your vendors, but many of them will appreciate gratuity for a job well done. Use my tipping guide to prepare in advance of the big day.

Does EVERYONE decorate with a theme/hire a videographer/hold a candlelighting?
Just like your mom once said, don’t do something just because you think EVERYONE is doing it. Think about your Mitzvah kid, your family’s style and what you all hope the big day will be like. Then, determine what vendors and elements are essential, nice-to-have or totally skippable. Remember to keep the focus on your teen and your family’s joyous milestone, and know that however you choose to celebrate will be special.

What am I forgetting???
There are many details to keep track of, for sure, but one that you MUST do (or you’ll have major regret, trust me!) is make a list of all the important people you want photographed at your celebration. When will you have grandparents, college friends, preschool buddies, your kid’s soccer team and cousins from far and wide in one room again? Your pro photographer will make sure to capture all those beloved faces, in the groupings you specify, if you make a list of these “must-have photos.”

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