Planning...over the top!

On Tuesday, I talked about how neurotic I am about planning...making detailed lists...knowing exactly what comes when, etc.

It's so much worse than you even know!

On Sunday, I got to meet Megan's (the girl whom Annie is having her Bat Mitzvah with) parents and her younger sister and brother. I had both babies with me, so it was rather eventful just trying to get in Starbucks. While we were there we had a great discussion about what our personal expectations were for the day, the things that we want to include and how we want the weekend to go.

I am very excited about how the morning went. We all seemed to have the same idea about how much money we were prepared to spend. And even better we are all on the same idea about keeping the weekend about the girls and about Judaism. We have a few things that have already been figured out and it all just seems to be going really well. 

It's still sad for me that my mom can't be a part of the day, but it is so heartwarming to me the number of my friends who have stepped forward asking to help and wanting to help. There's definitely going to be a lot of work to do, given the fact that we are trying not to spend a ton of money and go broke. I can't wait to see how it all works out, but I have to admit, I'm a little sad to see my baby girl grow up so fast.

Below I will put the list of all the things that I have outlined that have to be may laugh. Just a warning; it's a little long...and you'll notice, we are waaay ahead of schedule, with a few things already done! Yeah!!!

2-3 Years in Advance
  • Set the Bat/Bar Mitzvah Date DONE
  • Book venue for reception DONE
  • Determine theme DONE
  • Determine a budget and set the priorities DONE
18 months in Advance
  • If necessary, find a tutor for the bat/bar-mitzvah
  • Determine the torah and haftarah portion for the bat/bar-mitzvah date and confirm with your Rabbi
  • Begin thinking about potential Mitzvah Projects STARTED
  • Meet with the Rabbi or Cantor to understand the bat/bar-mitzvah process and answer any questions you may have DECEMBER 9th
  • Begin to work on a guest list.   Separate the list into “Must Haves” and “Nice to Haves”. 
  • Book an Event planner to oversee details of the day DONE
  • Consider DJ/Entertainment
1 Year in Advance
  • Discuss the bat/bar mitzvah requirements with the Rabbi, including the timeline for completing the mitzvah project
  • Begin (or continue) attending Shabbat services as a family
  • Send out a Save The Date
  • Reserve a block of rooms at a hotel for out of town guests
  • Reserve a Venue for the reception
  • Pick a theme for the reception and begin to think about decorations
  • Book the Caterer
    • Check with Temple that they are on the preferred list for the luncheon
    • Make a decision whether or not to do something different for the reception
  • Book the Music and Entertainment Vendors
9 Months in Advance
  • Tutoring begins
  • Select a Mitzvah Project
    • Include food being brought to the luncheon the day of by the guests
  • Determine if there are ways for the entire family to be more connected with the Torah portion and mitzvah project
  • Order Invitations and Thank You Cards
    • Vistaprint or some other online inexpensive vendor
    • Or print/make ourselves?
  • Book Photographer and/or Videographer
    • Photographer: Laurie Coopwood Valenzula, Southern Style Photographer
    • Videographer: Brian Knight, he does most of Temple’s work
  • Florist and decor
6 Months in Advance
  • Start Mitzvah Project
  • Finalize the guest list
  • Decide what enclosures need to be included with the invitation (maps, etc)
  • Determine what other events your family will host (Shabbat dinner, Shabbat Kiddush, Havadallah, Sunday Brunch)
  • Order any items that require customization, including kippot, party favors, sign-in boards
4 Months in Advance
  • Discuss how to incorporate tzedakah into your event
  • Bat/Bar-Mitzvah begins writing the dvar torah
  • Shop for Clothes and Shoes
3 Months in Advance
  • Finalize the guest list for all events your family is hosting
  • Address the envelopes, or have a calligrapher address them
  • Go to the post office to have the complete invitation weighed and purchase the appropriate stamps
  • Order a Cake
    • Penny: who did you mention?
  • Plan the menu for the reception
  • Arrange for the rental of party supplies not supplied (chairs, dishes, etc)
    • Sarah beth offered to let us use for free brown table cloths as long as we fold and wash
    • We discussed having burlap runners with their names on them
    • What do you guys think of using the baskets from the luncheon to hold bags of trail mix or baggies of smores ingredients, etc on the tables at the reception?
2 Months in Advance
  • Mail invitations.  Be sure to check the weather report to avoid rainy days
  • Select who to honor with aaliyot and get their Hebrew names
  • Parents should work on parents’ speech or blessing
  • Finalize centerpieces (including flowers for the synagogue service), décor, and favors
    • Centerpieces for lunch tables: baskets for donated food
    • 2 bunting banners; one for each girl
    • Favors: for stadium cups
  • Finalize the entertainment for the party
  • Make a draft of the seating chart
  • Make hair appointments for family
  • Work on the ceremony programs
  • Begin ordering supplies and compiling local information for gift baskets for out of town guests
  • Arrange for Transportation of family and/or guests, if necessary
1 Month in Advance
  • Meet with the DJ and Entertainers to pick songs and games?
    • I’m not sure this is necessary, but this is where it was on the time line J
  • Bat / Bar mitzvah should finalize the dvar torah and write a thank you speech if necessary
  • Arrange for a rehearsal in the synagogue sanctuary
  • Confirm party timeline and schedule with all vendors, including photographer, videographer, music/entertainments, and caterer
  • Purchase any items not provided by the caterer (liquor, challah, etc)
3 Weeks in Advance
  • Visit the tailor
  • Make up toiletry baskets for the bathrooms
  • Finalize ceremony programs, print and assemble
2 Weeks in Advance
  • Confirm final headcounts
  • Finalize seating chart, and write placecards (wait to fill in the table numbers until closer to the event if possible)
  • Compose candlelighting introductions or poems
1 Week in Advance
  • Drop off welcome baskets at hotel
  • Have a rehearsal at the synagogue
  • Finalize aaliyah list and give a copy to the rabbi or cantor
  • Contact all event vendors for last minute details or questions
  • Confirm all details are in place (food, decorations) for other events being hosted (Shabbat dinner, Kiddush, etc)
Bat/Bar-Mitzvah Day
  • Relax and Enjoy the Day!
Post Event
  • Give a donation to the rabbi, synagogue and/or other tzedakah options
Write and mail thank you cards


  1. Holy moly that's a lot of planning! I know you can do it! When will Annie have her bat mitzvah?

  2. Now that the date is confirmed...Her Bat Mitzvah is September 5th, 2015 with one of her sweet friends. (Our families get along really well and we all have the same idea about the day and the purpose, so I'm excited to work with them.)



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