One of the top questions I’m asked by Mitzvah parents is, “Do I really need a planner?” We’ve asked three expert Mitzvah planners at the top of their game what they do, how they do it, and to bust myths about hiring a planner.

 

Amy Ackerman, JDV Occasions 

Expertise

We bring creativity, knowledge and true love of planning to every event. Clients call us  “the logistics queens” because we focus on every imaginable detail. We work closely with our clients to come up with the right theme, design, colors, menu selections, song choices, room layouts and timeline.  We execute every detail with precision and love.  

We think of little things that “wow” guests, like clever menu item names, unique logo placements, signature drink recipes and distinctive party favor packaging. 

Standout Celebrations

We recently planned a candy-themed celebration for twins that blew them away. The girls knew the color scheme and that they’d have a candy buffet, but that was it!  The end result showcased our creativity and whimsy. We had surprise elements all over that room and it was truly awesome to see their reaction every time they noticed another little detail! The sparkling candy crystal forest we created won raves from the host family and their guests. 

Another favorite, a ‘glow party’ at The Temple, had to be set up during a very small window between the Kiddush luncheon and cocktail hour. Our load-in was timed to the minute, and the family who left at 2 p.m. couldn’t believe what they saw when they returned at 6 p.m. We transformed the synagogue social hall, decorating it with lounge furniture, acrylic ghost chairs, light-up tables, colored logo lights, and a bar of glowing accessories for guests to wear! 

How Do You Work with Mitzvah Families?

We care just as much about the success of the weekend as our client families. We enjoy getting to know their taste and personal style, which allows us to go the extra mile, surprising them with special touches, even though they thought they knew everything they were getting. 

We view our roles as the pilots of the Bar/Bat Mitzvah plane. There are hundreds of little details that go into take- off, a smooth flight and a safe landing. We make sure that everything proceeds without a hitch so that clients can simply hop onboard and enjoy their child’s milestone!  We book vendors, select packages, and handle behind the scenes elements to take the stress off the family. All clients receive an online planning profile to keep track of their mitzvah details including vendors, due dates, guest list tracking, budget planning and more.  We also create vision boards to make sure we are on the right track and collaborate closely with all our vendors.  

People should be excited about working with the planner they choose. It’s a close relationship and collaboration, and our families can be as involved as little or as much as they want during the planning process. 

Who Needs a Planner?

Everyone!! Even if you made a mitzvah previously for an older sibling, every teen is different.  We always encourage our clients to focus on the current child and his/her celebration, basing all decisions on the guest of honor each time.

For those concerned about fees, we see it this way: Hiring a planner is like buying event insurance. It’s an investment in the event. We can often achieve savings for clients because of vendor relationships and the time we take to ensure contracts are correct. For example, if your venue contract allows only one hour of load-in time, you may be charged extra for exceeding that. You shouldn’t have to worry about these things. We’ll do it for you so the weekend is as wonderful for your family as you dreamed!

 

Tammie Wilson, The Party Girl Events 

Expertise

TPGE started with my love of hosting fabulous events! Word spread quickly that my parties had the “Wow” factor and I soon was asked by friends and organizations to plan their events because of my past successes. I get to know clients on a personal level and translate that knowledge into an event that is uniquely theirs.  

Standout Celebrations

One favorite bat mitzvah was a glittery sparkly theme, for which we created a Bling Bar filled with costume jewelry, sparkly hats and bowties, and every glittery accessory we could find. The dance floor was filled with guests dripping with bling, reflecting off the beautiful lighting. It was a gorgeous disco ball effect! 

Another unique event was a Bruce Springsteen-themed celebration for a teen whose family was friends with The Boss. We created a Born to Run album-style invitation and noted that all gifts would be donated to a Springsteen charitable organization. Tables were decorated as Springsteen albums; place cards were guitar picks, and we hired a lookalike performer to sing his songs.

How Do You Work with Mitzvah Families?

We start with a whole family consultation about what’s important to them and start to zero in on a vision. Then we help select the main vendors: venue, photography, catering, and DJ. We’ll take you through the process of details like seating charts, invitations, layout plans, and menus. We even manage RSVPS and update clients each week on attendance numbers.

We prepare detailed itineraries for our families, so they know exactly what to bring to photo sessions, temple rehearsal, and the big day. And we do the same for vendors, so they know exactly what to do and when. We take care of it all!

Some families come to us late in the process when they find they need help. We’ll go over all contracts, fix date and time issues, and expand a theme to make it exceptional. We love a challenge and take one on wherever you are in the process.

Who Needs a Planner?

One of the main reasons to hire a planner is if you haven’t planned a bar mitzvah before. It can be intimidating and confusing. We find that most people who don’t hire a planner end up spending more.

We ask our clients for a true budget and work within it; we know how to fit into any price point parameters. This is a huge milestone for your child. We think it makes sense for you to focus on the religious aspects of preparation and let us handle the party side. We do the legwork, negotiating, booking, and day-of logistics so you can truly be present for your son or daughter.

Marci Miller, The Perfect Day Event Planning 

Expertise

Some of the earliest mitzvahs I planned were for my own children! I found I had a knack for creative décor and getting crafty with resources. Friends and family loved what I had done – for one I made a temple ballroom look like Disney parks – and I started getting requests for planning help. I had a client who wanted to recreate replicas of the UGA stadium gates for a tailgate themed party and I stepped in with unique ideas that got them raves from guests. From that point on, I began doing more décor because I love the creative challenge and clients like to have that built-in service.

Standout Celebrations

It’s fulfilling to transport people through event design! One of my favorite mitzvahs to plan was a Beach theme for 300 guests at Villa Christina that involved transforming four spaces: two ballrooms and two pre-function spaces. I also brought the essence of the Atlanta Beltline to a synagogue ballroom, complete with well-known spots along the way and an indoor version of its annual lantern parade.

How Do You Work with Mitzvah Families?

I generally begin about 18 months to two years out with pre-planning. If someone is closer to their date, I always help if I can. We start with outlining how many will be on the guest list between adults and kids. With numbers in mind, we look at venues and determine what the space and experience should be like. Atlanta has so many choices, but I help guide selection of the big three as soon as possible: the venue, musical entertainment and photographer.

About a year out, we’ll brainstorm themes, logos and the vision for the weekend. If you do that too early, kids can change their minds about what they want.

I like to surprise families with extra touches they weren’t expecting. It might be a personalized pillow in a lounge area or stand-out signage. It means so much when families say that they can’t believe how their vision came to life, better than they had hoped.

 

Who Needs a Planner?

Sometimes people start out managing the details themselves, but then they get stuck. Centerpieces on Pinterest may look great, but if you don’t have DIY experience, you may end up spending more on mistakes. Plus, you have the time constraints that come with running a household, parenting, having a job…

Although some think a planner blows the budget, an experienced party planner can save you money by helping eliminate uncertainty, guiding the timeline, securing vendor discounts and taking care of last-minute things so you can focus on your family and guests.

 

Reach out to one of these talented party planners 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.