Ryan led services at Temple Emanu-El in the morning, and then celebrated with more than 200 of his family members and friends in the evening at Dunwoody Country Club.
Ryan’s bar mitzvah was the last of all his friends. After the teens had attended so many services and celebrations, his parents Laurie and Murray wanted to make sure his big weekend had a unique vibe. With the date falling on the first weekend of the NCAA college basketball tournament and Ryan being a huge basketball fan, the theme came naturally.
To say the family was blown away by the event design by YES – Your Event Solution is an understatement, says mom Laurie. “We asked for different, and they absolutely delivered, beyond what we hoped for!” Rather than using table numbers, guests were “drafted” to their seats. Table cards were die-cut mini basketball jerseys bearing the team names. Centerpieces featured large four-sided industrial looking ladders with LED cubes, team mascot icons, and word art in the shape of a ball player dunking. Another focal point of the décor centered around the double bar area. Basketballs bearing the logos of college teams (repurposed from the Kiddush luncheon tables) were on display in lighted cubbies as a backdrop to the bar. The bar itself was wrapped in Ryan’s March Madness logo. The lounge area for teens featured a circular design with plenty of comfortable couches.
The family wanted to be sure guests would dance and be engaged, and Daniel of Espeute Productions made sure of that! The high energy party featured Ryan’s favorite music, rap, during the first hour when adults were enjoying cocktails and small bites. After the adults joined the teens, Daniel played a mix of popular songs and party favorites that got everyone moving. His ability to include everyone in the hora had the kids very engaged, and the family’s grand entrance songs showcased their personalities perfectly.
Adult guests dined on barbecue chicken and steak tenderloin sliders, salads, roast salmon and a macaroni and cheese bar with protein choices and toppings like fried onions, tomatoes and chives. Kids enjoyed cheeseburgers and chicken fingers on their buffet. For dessert, guests helped themselves to a freshly popped popcorn bar with candy mix-ins, a hot chocolate bar with toppings, and custom cookies delivered to the venue by Tiff’s Treats.
Ryan had a great time celebrating with friends from all parts of his life, including school and Camp Barney. “To see he and his friends enjoying themselves together was so awesome,” said Laurie.
Custom backgrounds and props by Button it Up gave guests inspiration for photo poses. Family and friends took home photo strip copies of their pics with Ryan’s logo included. Within two days after the celebration, Ryan’s family had all the photo booth pictures, so they could relive the fun while waiting for their formal photo album, prepared by Jon Marks Photography.
Guests received information about the weekend’s events and Ryan’s March Madness celebration in invitations created by Paper Matters and a personalized logo designed by Mitzvah Memos. Laurie said that numerous guests called or emailed about the fabulous invitation, and were equally impressed by the party favor, also produced by Paper Matters. Each guest went home with a logoed fleece stadium blanket as a memento of the weekend.
How did Atlanta Mitzvah Connection help?
Laurie hired vendors based on recommendations from AMC’s Shelly Danz and attended the Bar & Bat Mitzvah EXPO for ideas. The lounge design YES created for a recent EXPO helped the family zero in on the layout of Ryan’s teen lounge at his celebration.
Advice to Other Parents
“I was shocked at how early people start planning,” Laurie notes. A year out from Ryan’s date was too late for her to book some of the vendors she thought she’d be using. “Plan very early to contact vendors if there are specific ones you want. Many are booking two years out. It might feel silly to call that early, but it’s not!”
P.S. from Laurie: “A month after the party, staff at the Dunwoody Country Club were still talking about the basketball party and how cool it was! The vendors blew us away, and clearly, everyone else, as well.”