Category: Party Planning

Thinking of planning a mitzvah on your own? The top 5 reasons why you should hire a professional event planner instead

Many people don’t think a bar or bat mitzvah is as big a deal to plan as a wedding. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Often, bar and bat mitzvahs, even small ones, can have just as many (sometimes more) details to keep track of as weddings. And if you truly want to enjoy yourself at your party, hiring a good professional event planner is key.

Here are the top five reasons why hiring a professional event planner is a good idea:

#1: PROFESSIONAL PLANNERS PROVIDE EXPERTISE AND A SENSE OF STYLE

Good event planners are able to help their clients create a vision for their event. Whether a client has something specific in mind or not, event planners know what it takes to take an idea from a basic concept to implementation. They have a comprehensive list of professionals who they work with, from the invitations to the décor, from the venue to the food, from the photography and videography to the lighting and sound, and more. Professional event planners are able to add special details such as custom signage and stationery to unique giveaways and other details that personalize an event, making it even more special to the family. And they’re able to keep track of and coordinate every aspect of the event.

#2: PROFESSIONAL PLANNERS ACT AS A SHIELD BETWEEN FAMILY AND VENDORS

A professional event planner is a neutral party who you can turn to for direction and advice. He or she is hired to protect your interests. For example, we all know that some people have their own opinions about things, and not everyone will be happy with the details you choose or the choices you make. An event planner can be the person who provides shelter to make sure you have the things you want. Sometimes it’s easier to defer to the advice of your planner than to have to explain a particular choice to a difficult relative. Another example where vendors protect your interests is when a vendor doesn’t do what they were contracted to do. Good event planners usually only refer vendors with good reputations and business practices, but on the rare occasion when a vendor makes a mistake (usually on the day of your event), your planner will handle the issue so you don’t have to.

#3: PROFESSIONAL PLANNERS HELP YOU STAY ON BUDGET AND CONTROL COSTS

Not everything is a priority to every client, and a professional event planner can help you decide what’s important to you and what you can get for your budget. They know what things should cost and can help you steer your way through the often confusing maze of event planning contracts and costs. Many vendors try to up-sell their services. A professional event planner can help protect you from purchasing unnecessary services and items, and can make sure you get what you pay for.

#4: PROFESSIONAL EVENT PLANNERS ALLOW YOU TO ENJOY THE JOURNEY

The first thing I tell each of my invitation clients is “enjoy the process.” Planning an important event, especially a lifecycle event like a bar or bat mitzvah, can be very stressful. It takes months of planning that are over in the blink of an eye. If you don’t enjoy the process, even the minutiae, and are only focused on the end result, you can miss out on making wonderful memories along the way. Hiring a professional event planner can help you relax so that you can enjoy the details of planning your event. Rather than being thankful it’s over, or being angry about how difficult it was, you’ll be able to look back on the journey with fondness and joy.

#5: PROFESSIONAL PLANNERS ALLOW YOU TO BE A GUEST AT YOUR OWN PARTY

The best part of any event is participating fully. If you’re too busy worrying that the florist didn’t deliver the correct number of centerpieces or that grandma’s food is cold, you won’t enjoy your simcha. A professional event planner will act as the official point person to deal with any issues that may arise so that you can enjoy the ceremony and reception.

Even though the services of a professional event planner are not free, the cost can be well worth it because it will allow you to focus on what’s important to you: your family, friends and the joy of your simcha. For a list of professional event planners I work with and highly recommend, contact me at Marlene@InvitationMaven.com.

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#PartyPlanner

What to Do When Beloved Friends and Family Can’t (or Won’t) Attend Your Special Event

Relatives won’t come to your party? Friends say they’re not interested? You’re not alone.

I just got off the phone with a client who confessed she is experiencing some unexpected drama as the responses for her twin’s b’nai mitzvah are coming in. A beloved aunt and cousin, who live out of state and who my client anticipated with great joy would come to her event, unfortunately declined her invitation. The reason why they aren’t coming isn’t because they are ill or can’t afford the trip, but because they just don’t want to. My client attended all four of the bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs for her cousins’ children, her aunt’s grandchildren, at great expense and effort by the way (they live on the other side of the country) so she is understandably feeling greatly hurt and disappointed that her aunt and cousin aren’t making a similar effort, even this once.

This same client has a so-called friend who also declined because, according to the friend, “I’ve been to too many bar mitzvahs already so I’m not going to come to yours.” Coming on the heels of hearing from her cousin and aunt only made this so-called friend’s callous response even more painful.

I can empathize with my client. Back in 2014, a very close friend of mine, one of my closest girlfriends in fact, chose not to attend my youngest son’s bar mitzvah. Even though it was almost three years ago, I can still feel the sting I felt then as I recall reading her response. The reason she gave didn’t give me any comfort because it was something she could do any time. She also knew about our bar mitzvah because I sent Save The Dates six months in advance. My son’s bar mitzvah was a one-time event so I took it very personally because it demonstrated the true priority I was in my friend’s life. It was a very painful experience, just as my client’s experience is for her.

Even though this happens to a lot of people, it’s still painful

Special lifecycle events such as bar mitzvahs, bat mitzvahs and weddings are moments you want to share with the people who mean the most to you. You spend hours putting together your guest list, and fill it with the people you most love and admire and who you look forward to seeing and sharing your joy. So when some of those people don’t make your celebration a priority, it can be a painful realization. I’m not referring to situations when health issues, financial circumstances or unexpected emergencies prevent someone from attending your event. While still disappointing, those reasons are understandable. In the case of my client’s cousin, aunt and friend, and in the case of my friend, this was not the case. Rather, the reasons these people expressed clearly imparted the message that “you’re not important enough to me.” That’s what’s so hurtful.

Having been through the exact same thing that my client is experiencing, I gave her some advice to help her get through these next few weeks. This advice can help you when you find yourself in a situation like my client’s, too.

Advice #1: You Have Permission to Grieve

The first thing I did for my client was give her permission to grieve. To some reading this post, it may be difficult to fully understand the feelings of loss and disappointment my client and I both felt. But when someone disappoints you in this manner, when you realize you’re not as important to someone as either they are to you or as you believed you were to them, it’s like the losing a loved one. And it’s OK to grieve the loss of that relationship. This is not to say you have to cut ties with the person. But the nature of the relationship is different than what you thought, and it’s that loss that you are grieving, especially when the person is a favorite relative or one of your closest friends.

Advice #2: You Have Permission to Get Angry

I then told my client that after she grieves, she will be angry (she’s already getting to this stage), and that she’s allowed to feel this way. She should’t act on her anger, but by acknowledging it, she will be able to move past it quickly. She will then soon feel empowered, even liberated, because she will realize her relatives’ and friend’s absence is not really her loss. Rather, their absence will be THEIR loss because her friends and relatives will be missing a great event. In the case of her so-called friend, my client can see that feeling on the horizon. But her pain about her cousin and aunt is far more difficult to shake, and she’s afraid she won’t enjoy her event for fear of hanging on to the anger she’s feeling at this moment.

Advice #3: Put It Aside So You Can Enjoy Your Event

The last piece of advice I gave my client was for the sake of herself and her family: she HAS to put this aside so that she can enjoy this wonderful milestone. If not now since the pain is still so fresh, then she has to at least by the time of the event. I have every confidence that she will be able to do that. On the day of her mitzvah, she will be in awe and amazement because she will look out and see all the friends and family who DID come and who DID make her and her family their priority. And in THAT moment she will know she is blessed. The pain and disappointment she’s feeling today will be set aside and will be but a blip on the radar.

Everything Will Be OK

The last thing I said to my client before getting off the phone was “don’t worry, everything will be OK.” And it will, because this too, shall pass. I promise.

For custom invitations and free therapy for your next event, contact The Invitation Maven at info@InvitationMaven.com.

#barmitzvahinvitations
#batmitzvahinvitations
#bnaimitzvahinvitations
#simcha
#barmitzvah
#batmitzvah
#bnaimitzvah
#empowered
#everythingwillbeok
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@InvitationMaven

Do It Yourself (DIY) versus Professional Invitations: Pros and Cons to Help You Decide What’s Best for You

Last month, I wrote about how to add unique and personal touches to your wedding or party décor with projects you do yourself (known as Do It Yourself, or DIY). The article was actually about how you can hire a professional to help you if you don’t think you can or don’t want to do the work yourself, but still want that personal touch at your party. This month, I thought I’d delve a little deeper into the Do It Yourself decision as it pertains to invitations, and present some pros and cons to help you decide whether or not you should make your own or hire a professional. This article will help you figure that out so you can set the right tone for your event.

INVITATION STYLE AND DESIGN

The invitation you choose for your event is largely based on how formal your event is and what tone and expectations you want to set for your guests. If you are throwing an elegant affair, you’ll probably want to have an invitation that imparts the formality of the event. Fancier invitations such as letterpress, foil stamping, laser cut designs, and printing on things other than paper (like plastic or wood), are not easily done from home. Ordering invitations from a professional company expands the range of papers and printing styles you can choose from. Also, if you have a specific design in mind, the best option is to Read more

Five Common Invitation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

When designing your custom event invitation, whether it’s for a wedding, bar mitzvah, fundraising event or milestone birthday, there are a lot of things to keep in mind. There’s more to it than simply creating the invitation and placing it in the envelope. Here are the top 5 mistakes most people make when creating their invitations and some tips about how to avoid them.

Mistake #1: Not including all the necessary information on the invitation

I find that some clients worry that their invitation includes too much information. However, I counter that it’s best to include all of the information your guests will need to know rather than leave something out for the sake of cutting out a few words. Of course, your invitation should include the basic details of the event such as the day and date of the event, the time the event starts, and the location of the venue, but don’t be afraid to include inserts with additional details. For example, one of the most common inserts is a Map and Directions card. Even though most cars and phones have navigation software to help guide guests to the location of your event, including a pre-printed map or printed directions in the invitation, especially if the venue is difficult to find, is a courtesy many guests will appreciate.

Other common inserts include a separate reception card, which is critical if your reception is at a different location than your ceremony, a “Weekend Events” insert with information about events taking place before and after the main event, and an “Accommodations” card, which can include information about local hotels, nearby airports, local attractions, rental car agencies, and room blocks you have reserved on behalf of your guests. Finally, don’t forget to include information about the dress code somewhere in your invitation suite, either on the invitation itself or on a separate card. People want to know how to dress for the occasion, so be sure to let them know.

Mistake #2: Not sending invitations out on time and not giving people enough time to RSVP

The number one question I get from clients is “when should I send out my invitations?” The answer is six to eight weeks before your event. If you are having a destination wedding, be sure to send them out on the eight-week end of that mailing window so that guests have enough time to make travel arrangements.

Tied in with this mistake is not giving people enough time to respond. You want to give them three to four weeks from when they receive your invitation to when you want the RSVP back to figure out if they can attend. Set the RSVP return date no later than two weeks before your event. If you mail your invitations on time, this will give guests plenty of time to let you know and it will give you enough time to follow up with guests you don’t hear from so you can give your caterer an accurate number.

Mistake #3: Not clearly identifying who is invited

The best way to let your guests know who is invited to your event is to tell them on the front of the envelope. Don’t include references to other people who live at an address on the front of the envelope, either directly or implied, unless you intend to include them in your festivities. For example, if you are inviting a couple but not their kids, address the envelope as “Mr. and Mrs. Steven Jones” rather than “The Jones Family.” If you are including the girlfriend or boyfriend of a guest, it’s best to find out the name of that person and address the invitation to both people by name. If you decide a friend may bring a guest (or a “plus one” in wedding parlance), be sure to include “and Guest” on his or her envelope.

Mistake #4: Printing your registry information on the invitation

I have had several clients who want to put their wedding registry information on their actual invitations. I strongly discourage them from doing this as it’s an etiquette no-no. Instead, as I’ve done with several clients, include an insert with a link to your wedding website (NOTE: Do NOT print the direct link to your registry on either your invitation or inserts. Rather, embed the ink somewhere on your website and make it easy for guests to find once they’re there). From your website, guests can search for more information about your event, including your registry.

Mistake #5: Forgetting the stamp on the RSVP envelope

To encourage your guests to send back their RSVP cards, make it as easy as possible for them to do so. You can do that by including a pre addressed and stamped envelope. That way, all your guest has to do is fill out the RSVP card, put it in the envelope, seal it, and drop it in a mailbox. Don’t try to save money by not including pre-paid return stamp. It’s considered a party faux pas.

When designing your invitation suite, be sure to include all the details your guests will need to know. If you’re not sure, or don’t want the information on the main invitation itself, include the information on a separate insert. When I design an invitation suite for my clients, I use a check list to make sure I haven’t left off any important details. For your FREE CHECKLIST of details to include when designing your invitation suite, click here: INVITATION DETAILS TO INCLUDE ON EVERY INVITATION. For assistance in designing a one-of-a-kind custom invitation suite, complete with all the information your guests need to know, contact Invitation Maven at info@InvitationMaven.com.

#InvitationMistakes
#WeddingInvitations
#BarMitzvahInvitations
#BatMitzvahInvitations
#BirthdayInvitations
#CharityEventInvitations
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#InvitationMaven

 

Don’t Get Duped When Planning Your Wedding – Common Wedding Scams and How to Avoid Them

It’s wedding season and wedding planning is in full swing for couples seeking to tie the knot over the next few months. Speaking of wedding planning, I just read a timely article about wedding scams that are making the rounds. As someone who has worked in the industry for more than 20 years, I have heard of some of these scams, and never heard of others. So I thought I’d write a quick post about what to look out for and how to avoid becoming a victim, whether you’re a wedding vendor or a bride.

Accidental Overpayment

One of the newest scams targeting wedding vendors and event planners is referred to as “accidental overpayment.” This is when a supposed bride or groom contacts a vendor purporting to throw an extravagant wedding and tricks the vendor into sending money from a bad check she deposits.

Here’s how this scam works: a bride and groom contacts a vendor about providing services for their wedding and sends a check for more than what is required. They then claim the overpayment was an accident and ask the vendor to deposit the check, and then ask for the vendor to “refund” them for the overpayment. However, instead of sending the refund directly to the couple, they ask the vendor to send the refund to another business that is supposedly working with the couple. That payment goes through, but the original check bounces and the vendor is out that money.

The key to this scam is that it’s done entirely through email. The vendor never actually meets the bride or groom. Some simple ways for vendors to protect themselves from this kind of scam are to 1. Actually meet the bride and groom in person, 2. Make sure they have been referred by someone the vendor knows, and 3. Do not refund any money to either the bride or the groom and especially not to an unrelated third party until the original check clears and the money is in the vendor’s bank account.

Here are some other scams that target brides and grooms:

Faux Wedding Gowns

Shopping online can save brides money as items sometimes can be found for less from online vendors. However, it’s easy to pass off fake designer gowns for the real thing when the bride is not able to see the actual dress. If the price you find online sounds too good to be true, it probably is. To avoid buying a fake designer gown, it’s best to shop at a reputable store or if purchasing online, buy only from reputable sellers or through trustworthy payment portals such as PayPal.

Phony Photographers

Photographers who scam wedding couples will have top-notch websites and will happily book the event for them, but when push comes to shove, will avoid meeting the couple in person. They will sometimes even demand payment in full before the wedding takes place. Then, having been paid in full, they don’t show up. The best way to avoid this kind of scam is to get a referral for a photographer from someone you know and who has either worked with the photographer before or knows the photographer personally. Also, do not pay the photographer in full until after the event, and after the photographer has provided the full services promised.

Gift Crashers

Believe it or not, there are thieves out there who crash weddings simply to steal a couple’s wedding gifts. There are a few ways to avoid this problem, especially if the wedding is being held in a hotel or other venue that is open to the public. First, make sure the gift table is not accessible to uninvited guests. Second, hire someone to stand guard at the gift table during the cocktail hour, then collect the gifts and place them in a secure location until someone from the wedding party can take responsibility for them after the event.

It’s unfortunate that there are people out there looking to scam couples on the happiest day of their lives, but with a few precautions, and some common sense, brides and grooms (and vendors) can avoid these scams.

#WeddingScams
#AccidentalOverpayment
#FakeWeddingGowns
#PhonyPhotographers
#WeddingThieves
#GetReferrals
#InvitationMaven
@InvitationMaven

DIY Not Your Thing? Hire a Professional to Help Create Personal Details for Your Wedding or Mitzvah

As a professional designer of custom wedding invitations, I see all manner of design incorporated into a bride and groom’s special day. My absolute favorite events are those where the bride (and sometimes even the groom) create their own beautiful handmade details. I love these weddings because the details make the event personal and bring guests closer to the bride and groom. And with sites like Instagram and Pinterest, Do-It-Yourself, or DIY, is more popular than ever.

These websites provide a plethora of ideas brides and grooms can search for inspiration. Many of the ideas even include How To instructions and links for finding necessary supplies and materials. But what I hear most often from my clients who LOVE what they see is that they just aren’t able to do it themselves. Either they don’t feel like they’ve got the creative bug or they don’t have the time or inclination.

That’s where I come in.

Pinterest is a wonderful resource

In addition to designing custom wedding invitations, I also can help design and create any design a client sees online. A party planner I work with once sent me an image from Pinterest of a 5-foot tall jumbo tissue paper flower and asked if I could make some for her client. “Of course!” I said. And I made it so. I made 16 flowers in varying heights. And the best part? The flower heads are removable from the stems so I can change them to match any color scheme. I initially made them with peach colored flowers, then made purple flowers for another party, as you can see in the images below. And I’m currently creating the flower tops in blues to match the decor of an upcoming event.

Jumbo tissue paper flowers make a stunning display at the entrance to any party.
The flower tops can be swapped out to match any decor.


Custom artwork designed by the guest of honor adds a special touch

For another client, I incorporated a painting the client’s daughter made into not only the reception card in the invitation suite, but also into the seating cards and cover of a bencher, a book containing Jewish prayers recited after meals.

Reception card featuring original artwork painted by one of the bat mitzvah girls.
Seating cards for a beach-themed bat mitzvah
Custom benchers for reciting grace after meals.

Seating cards (above) and custom benchers (below) featuring the same artwork as the Reception Card.

Other hand-painted images were used in other parts of the invitation suite and repeated at the party as well.

Doing double duty

And for my own son’s bar mitzvah in December 2014, I hand painted a chair that we used for two separate parts of the event: first, the chair was our sign in “book.” Our guests signed in to the party by writing their name on the chair. Then, we used that same chair for a traditional Jewish chair lifting dance called the horah at the beginning of the festivities. This chair is now a keepsake that my son keeps in his room.

Hand painted sign-in chair that can also be used for the horah

Don’t skip DIY because you don’t think you can do it yourself

DIY is very popular and is a great way to incorporate personal details into your party. But you don’t have to do it all yourself. Contact Invitation Maven at info@InvitationMaven for help in giving your party some DIY touches.

#partydecor
#jumboflowers
#tissuepaperflowers
#barmitzvah
#batmitzvah
#bnaimitzvah
#wedding
#weddingdecor
#birthdayparty
#DIY
#DoItYourself
#CustomInvitations
#Benchers
#InvitationMaven
#MarketaHarlan
#MarketaEvents
#WoodlandHillsCountryClub
#AnnenbergBeachHouse
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No Right Way or Wrong Way…Only YOUR Way

I am often asked “what’s the right way to…” followed by a question about how to handle a situation one might encounter when planning a party. My answer usually is “there is no RIGHT way or WRONG way…there’s only YOUR way.” I say this because every bride and groom, every bar mitzvah and bat mitzvah child, and every honoree is unique and their special event should reflect who they are. So while there are social conventions that can help guide you, there’s no reason why you can’t get creative and have fun planning your big event.

This is even true as it pertains to your invitations.

For example, in years past, wedding invitations were very formal. They had inner and outer envelopes, the bride’s parents were listed as the hosts, and the envelopes were addressed with formal honorifics (e.g., Mr. and Mrs. John Smith). These days, however, not all weddings are such formal affairs. And even if they are, many young brides and grooms are not comfortable with the formalities associated with weddings of the past.

It’s now perfectly acceptable to mail wedding invitations in a single envelope. In fact, in the more than 20 years since I started designing custom invitations, I have never designed a wedding invitation with a double envelope.

Brides and grooms often address their invitations using guests’ first and last names without honorifics (e.g., Mary and John Smith). This reduced formality sits better with many millennials.

Brides and grooms often host their own weddings and send their invitations from them, not from their parents. And even when they aren’t paying for their own wedding, sometimes certain family dynamics call for brides and grooms to send the invitations in order to avoid hurt feelings. I have a current wedding invitation client who is doing just that. The groom’s father recently passed away and in deference to his mother’s feelings, they chose to word the invitation as though they were inviting everyone. Their invitation reads:

Together with our families
Jenna Marie
Daughter of Cynthia and Robert Morgan
and
James Edward
Son of Jennifer and the late Richard Jackson
invite you to join us as we exchange wedding vows

Instead of using a formal RSVP card with an envelope, many of my clients opt to use a postcard RSVP. We design the front with all of the requisite RSVP information (names of guests, accepts or declines the invitation, meal choices, and whatever other information they need to collect) and the back is printed with the return address. This not only saves the cost of the envelope, but the postage is less expensive and it doesn’t weigh as much.

One thing is clear, however, regardless of the formality of the event: a wedding needs a real invitation and a real response card. Weddings are special and while you may be planning an informal affair at an eclectic or non-traditional venue, sending a printed invitation is one tradition that still endures. But have fun with that tradition and make the invitation reflect YOU.

For assistance creating your perfect wedding invitation, bar mitzvah invitation or bat mitzvah invitation, contact Invitation Maven at info@InvitationMaven.com or visit our website at www.InvitationMaven.com.

Where do I start? The 3 most important things to know before you start planning your child’s bar mitzvah

You’re planning your son’s bar mitzvah. It’s your first time planning a party that’s this significant. Even if you’ve done this before, a million questions are swirling through your head (I know…I’ve been there. I’ve planned three!). But the most pressing one probably is: WHERE DO I START?

It’s common to feel confused and perhaps overwhelmed. You need to decide the venue, the food, the theme, the decorations, the invitations, the entertainment, and on and on. I assure my clients that the first decisions they make regarding their big event are the hardest, and the farther we get in the process, the easier the decisions become. But to make it easier, I’ve narrowed the millions of choices down to the three most important things you need to know first. The rest will fall into place.

ONE: THE GUEST LIST
The first and MOST important decision you make, the one that will really guide every decision that comes next, is WHO. WHO do you want to invite to share this incredible simcha with you? Do you want a small, intimate family gathering with only your immediate relatives and closest family friends, or do you want ALL of “your people” there, which might mean a few hundred guests? Either way, you’re making the WHO…the PEOPLE…the most important thing.

Once you decide WHO you want to invite, it’s nice to know how many to expect will actually attend. In general, these are my rules of thumb regarding attendance:

Under 50 invited: 10% decline
75–100 invited: 10% – 25% decline
100+ invited: 20% – 30% decline
150+ invited: 25% – 35% decline

As you can see, the more people you invite, the larger the percentage of people who can’t or won’t make it. If you think about it, this makes sense. With a smaller, more intimate affair, you’re likely limiting the guest list to the people you’re closest with. Those people tend to make more of an effort to attend special occasions such as this. As you expand the guest list to include more casual friendships or business relationships, those people tend not to make your event their priority. It’s not personal; it’s just life. But understanding these general rules can help you with your next decision: HOW MUCH.

TWO: YOUR BUDGET
The next thing you need to know is how much you can afford to spend. Put another way: What’s your budget for your event? The most effective way to do this is to prioritize. Start with the three most important things you want at your event. These can be things such as a specific venue, live music, a particular DJ or photographer, a special menu, etc. Creating this short list of priorities will help you focus your budget on the things that are most important to you.

One thing you should keep in mind as you’re preparing your budget is: will this work? My suggestion to you is to be realistic as you’re trying to figure out how much to spend as costs can easily get out of hand.

The best way to be realistic is to do some research. The internet is full of resources to help you get an idea of what things cost in your area. Create a spreadsheet for each of your priorities then add in other things you would love to have. Pretty soon, you’ll start to have an idea of what you can and cannot afford and can prioritize what’s most important to you.

Now that you’ve decided WHO to invite and HOW MUCH you’re willing to spend, you can start to think about WHERE to have your party.

THREE: VENUE
One reason why the first two steps are so important is because you don’t want to book a venue with a maximum capacity of 75 if you’ve got over 150 people on your guest list. Conversely, venues with high minimums may not be worth the cost if you’re only inviting 75 people. But once you “pencil in” your guest list and you know how much you’re willing to spend, you can start looking for venues that will fit your budget.

The venue you choose will eventually dictate the rest of the details of your bar mitzvah. For example, a large hotel ballroom with lush carpeting and decorative drapes and wall treatments will require different décor than venue at a local summer camp. Similarly, a venue on the beach with large windows overlooking the ocean will provide a very different feel than a venue at a local bowling alley or other kid-friendly locale.

There are two ways to narrow down your search for an appropriate venue: by LOCATION and by TYPE OF VENUE.

If, for example, your bar mitzvah service is at the synagogue near your home, you may want to consider a venue that’s a short distance away so your guests don’t have to travel too far between locations. However, if you’re having the ceremony and party at the same venue, you could venture a little farther away.

Regarding the type of venue, are you having a banquet with a meal and dancing or a kids’ party where the location can be more informal?

The easiest way to find potential locations is through an internet search and by asking your friends for recommendations. Blogs of local event professionals are also a great place to search for ideas because many of them write about local venues and post pictures. That way you can get a feel for the venue as it is being used. Finally, schedule a site visit. But before you go, find out as much as you can before you go so you don’t waste your time looking at a place that won’t fit your needs.

Once you nail down these three elements, the rest of the details of your party will quickly fall into place. To help you get started, get my FREE “BIG PARTY GUEST LIST SURVIVAL GUIDE: How to stay sane when 100 or more people are celebrating with you!” by clicking here: FREE SURVIVAL GUIDE.

#GuestList
#Budget
#Venue
#EventPlanning
#EventPlanningTips
#BarMitzvah
#BatMitzvah
#BnaiMitzvah
#Wedding
#PartyPlanning
#InvitationMaven

A Unique Bridal Registry Idea: Dominos Pizza

I’m always reading news about what’s going on in my industry. It helps me stay on top of new trends and great ideas. Today I came across an article that made me giggle: Dominos Pizza started a bridal registry.

The tag line on their website reads “The first registry for couples who prefer delicious melty cheese to crystal gravy boats.” This is actually a great idea! It offers brides and grooms an inexpensive and fun option for budget-friendly gifts and some great tasting pizza to boot.

If you would like to create your own bridal registry at Dominos Pizza, here’s a link: Dominos Pizza Bridal Registry

And here’s a link to the article I read so you can read more about the idea: Dominos Pizza article

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Number One Event Planning Tip: Enjoy the Process

Planning a special event can be a daunting task, whether it’s a small, intimate gathering of friends to celebrate a milestone birthday or a large life cycle event such as a wedding, bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah. There are thousands of choices to make and a myriad of details to keep track of. Sometimes, the details can become overwhelming, especially when you already have a full time job.

Many people search out advice about how to do this or that. But those lists leave out the most important piece of advice I give each of my clients: enjoy the process, because sometimes, the things that go wrong will become your funniest and most memorable stories.

But what does “enjoy the process” mean?

Events are usually planned months in advance and it takes time and effort to decide what to serve, who to invite, how to decorate, who to hire, etc. Clients often spend hundreds of hours or more planning every detail of the party. This process can often be very stressful. And with all the planning, the actual event itself is over within a matter of hours. So the reason why I tell my clients to enjoy the process is because if you don’t, you will miss out on opportunities to make memories. And if things go wrong, either on that day or in the days leading up to your special event, if you’re not enjoying the process, these mishaps can ruin your entire experience.

I’ll share an example from a client I had a few years ago to illustrate my point.

I designed some bar mitzvah invitations for a client (I’ll call her Julie). We were just about ready to go into production. She had just emailed me her signed proofs when she got a call from her venue saying they’d had a major flood and needed to close the venue to make repairs. They informed her that they could not guarantee that the venue would be ready in time for her event, which was then only 10 weeks away.

Well, anyone who knows about planning a large party knows venues book months and sometimes a year or more in advance. Finding another venue that could accommodate Julie and her 200+ guests at that late date would be challenging, to say the least. But rather than be discouraged, Julie called several local venues and was able to find a place that was available on her date.

While those first few days following the news of the flood added some unneeded stress, Julie recalled my advice and realized that although unexpected things sometimes happen, she couldn’t have planned for that, so she might as well make the best of it. She maintained her positive attitude and friendly disposition and as a result, was able to negotiate more for less, and ended up at a superior venue. And now, two years later, because she enjoyed the process, it’s a funny story she can recall with fondness, not anger.

So I’ll give you the same advice I give all my clients: enjoy the process!

And to help you get started, get my FREE “BIG PARTY GUEST LIST SURVIVAL GUIDE: How to stay sane when 100 or more people are celebrating with you!” by clicking here: SURVIVAL GUIDE.

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