bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah planning guide
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The key to good Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah event planning is be organized. The first step is to have a planning timetable to assist you in planning your simcha on time, within budget, and not forgetting important steps. The most important feature of a planning timetable is to make you feel confident, avoiding that "what did I forget?" feeling. Use the following Planning Timetable as a guide, adding other items you know you'll need. When questions arise, figure more time than less, figure sooner than later. The last minute rush, in the last six to eight weeks, has plenty for you to do even without tasks you could have done earlier. Also, Bar Mitzvah / Bat Mitzvah party planning is dependent somewhat on other parties and their schedules, so plan ahead to avoid potentially nerve-wracking time conflicts.

2 Years Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Obtain the Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah date from Temple/Synangogue.
Set your Party and Celebration budget.
Decide on the type of Simcha event you want (day, evening, formal etc.).
Estimate number of Bar/Bat Mitzvah guests and book reception hall or caterer.
Book the Bat/Bat Mitzvah photographer and videographer.

1 1/2 Years Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Book the Bar/Bat Mitzvah band or DJ. Ask about booking other alternate entertainment such as magicians, caricaturists, virtual reality games, photo favors and cocktail hour music.
Decide on your Bar Mitzvah party theme and color scheme.

6-12 Months Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Your child (the Bar or Bat Mitzvah) will start learning his/her Torah portion.
Talk to florists about prices and floral designs for the synagogue service, the Kiddush table, and for table centerpieces.
Decide on Bar/ Bat Mitzvah table centerpieces and balloon designs.
Start looking at Bar Mitzvah or bat Mitzvah invitation designs and prices.

6-8 Months Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Book hotel block for out-of-state guests.
Start shopping for Bar/Bat mitzvah clothing. Boys will need a bar Mitzvah suit and possibly a tuxedo for a formal evening event. Girls will need a Bat Mitzvah synagogue dress and possibly an evening outfit for a formal Bat Mitzvah celebration. Mom and dad, brothers and sisters may need Bar Mitzvah clothing as well.

3-6 Months Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Order or design your Bar / Bat Mitzvah sign-in board and guest book.
Order Bar / Bat Mitzvah favors.
Order imprinted yarmulkes.
Order your Bar / Bat Mitzvah invitations.

3 Months Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Finalize the Bar / Bat Mitzvah guest list.
Make a hotel packet for out-of-towners.
Try to make your final selections on Bar Mitzvah clothing and accessories.
Buy stamps for mailing Bar mitzvah invitations and for RSVP cards.
Have completely assembled invitations weighed to ensure correct postage.
Find Bar/Bat Mitzvah invitation calligrapher.

6-8 Weeks Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Mail the invitations.
Make up a Bar/Bat Mitzvah song list for the DJ/band.
Make appointments with florist/balloonist and place order.

1 Month Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Arrange catering for brunch.
Have final fittings done for Bar/Bat Mitzvah clothing.
Make hair stylist and manicure appointments.

2-3 Weeks Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Choose people for aliyot and honors during the synagogue service.
Choose the people to be honored for the candle lighting ceremony and write poems.
Meet with DJ/band and make sure they know the Bar / Bat Mitzvah candle lighting songs.
Do Bar / Bat Mitzvah guest seating arrangements and send to the reception hall.
Order food for Kiddush or Oneg Shabbat.
Make sure arrangements are complete with centerpieces, balloons, sign-in board etc.
Write prayers or speeches, including a toast after Kiddush and motzi.
Send final instructions to Bat/Bat Mitzvah photographer and videographer.
Pay all synagogue fees.

1 Week Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Take formal Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah family pictures and pictures on Bimah.
Meet with Bar/Bat Mitzvah caterer for final guest count.
Make arrangements to get your guests from the airport to the hotel.
Confirm your brunch arrangements.

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