December 27, 2013
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Details to remember when planning a New York bar mitzvah

Don’t monkey around with the little details

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Months of planning, sending invitations, and spending thousands of dollars has finally led up to one big day — your child’s bar mitzvah! For some, the day’s schedule will beautifully unfold and play like something out of a silent film. Rituals will be performed, families will bond with friends, and memories will be created. For others, who wait until the last minute to wrap presents, confirm RSVPs, write speeches, and rearrange furniture, the day will arrive and utter chaos will spontaneously ensue, making the event feel more like a real-life version of Mario Kart — complete with lava pits, fire balls, flying turtle shells, and tons of slippery banana peels.

Some decisions you need to make when planning a bar or bat mitzvah are big and obvious: choose a venue, pick a date, hire a DJ, create a guest list, and, of course, have a blast. Yet there are also smaller, finer details that are often overlooked but are equally crucial to your party’s success. To ensure every element is tended to, we’ve asked Allyne Agrest, owner of Events By Allyne, to remind us of easily forgotten must-dos before any bar mitzvah.:

• Set aside about $100 for tips. Your entertainers — DJs, dancers, performers, hosts — are not only doing their best to make your event spectacular, but may also come with assistants that would appreciate a small gesture. $20 per person is reasonable.

• Make an appointment at the temple prior to the day of the bar mitzvah. You’ll want to make sure your child can take photos and it’s better to be prepared and do so before, just in case any problems arise.

• Throughout the entire planning process, even on the day of, be budget minded. You’re celebrating your child’s milestone and may want to give him everything, but knowing the difference between what’s essential and what everyone can do with and without will save you a monetary headache in the end.

• Decide what type of music you want ahead of time. If you want to make sure your child’s favorite song makes the cut, make sure to talk to your band or DJ in advance. Keep in mind you should also inform them of musical selections you don’t feel are age appropriate as well.

• With celebrations come speeches, and it’s better to sound prepared and eloquent rather than unrehearsed and insincere. Perhaps you don’t want to read your celebratory speech verbatim, but write a draft and print a copy to use as a guide.

•You don’t want to arrive at the venue five minutes before all your guests do to find no food, no decor, missing signage, and a total disaster. Arrive the morning of the event to make sure everything’s running smoothly. Food can often be troublesome, so make sure your caterer has everything under control.

• Guests will come with gifts and will want to know where to place them and when. Will there be a gift table? What about cash? Who will collect it? Make sure to think about and plan these things out before the day of the simcha.

• Kids don’t like wearing uncomfortable, formal shoes, so a lot of them will be taking off their footwear when they arrive at the party. Make sure to have some spare socks on hand. And so things don’t “slide” out of place, may we suggest some “Grippy socks” (YouTube video below), which grip the ground and can also double as party favors.

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