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Whether it’s a wedding, engagement party, Bar or Bat Mitzvah, even a B’nai Mitzvah, or other special Simchas, there is large amount of planning involved.

There is often a venue to select, a caterer to schedule, and a photographer to capture all the excitement and fun. Maybe even a party or event planner is required.

And remember the Rabbi!

Wedding Planning

Wedding planning can be a daunting task. Some couples have definite ideas based on their backgrounds and interests. But it’s important to lock down details far ahead.

There are things that are nice to know, and there are things you need to know. Don’t be afraid to ask friends, visit wedding planning sites and much more. Know your budget and decide on guest list very early too. And, of course, the date is a must. Sometimes, there may need to a few dates depending on the availablity of venues, the Synagogues and other locations to be considered.

One suggestion is to contact the Rabbi far early and plan a meeting with him or her. Begin talking with representatives from venues whether it’s a special facility, hotel, meeting hall or even the JCC. Each can provide details and dates available.

Some of venues on these pages and the back page would be happy to assist with information and details too.

Bar and Bat Mitzvahs

As with most Simchas, planning is often long range.

Religious Schools set Bar and Bat Mitzvahs dates far in advance, so be sure to get with the Synagogue early in the schedule process.

While usually not as large as a wedding, the event party is much like planning a wedding.  Usually, you also will want to book entertainment and other specialty providers from getting balloons, signage and much more. Again, friends are a good source and many websites.

It’s important to remember this is your son or daughter’s party and event, so be sure to plan it with them!

Consult with them before booking a DJ or other entertainment. And it’s best to hear the entertainer or entertainers ahead of time.

Keep in mind the volume of the music; remember about your elderly relatives who might kvetch that the music is too loud. You may want to sit them possibly farther away from the entertainer during the party.

In terms of Bar or Bat Mitzvah service — practice, practice and more practice. While this can be time consuming, the end result will usually show how prepared they were. The Rabbi or Cantor often will offer vital delivery techniques.

This also will go for the speech. This can be a big hurdle. Writing the speech is just one part of the process. One Rabbi noted, “Try to be loud, slow and clear.”

It will all be great in the end!

Planning in the Digital Age – Via Smartphone

Party planning is exhausting. – and when you’re drowning in invitations, reservations and rental fees. It’s hard to imagine an end in sight.

Many have opted for the easier approach in the digital age, which may be beneficial if you’re trying to save time and money. There are endless instructions, ideas, tips or blogs on the subject of organization, plus doing some yourself allows your creativity to flow. There are many great apps that you can upload on your smartphone.

This process may be easier for some, but does require structure. Look for event planning and management apps to juggle all your tools that entail scheduling to planning your celebratory events – from wedding to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and more.

Look for these on the web or from friends.

The Photographer

A family gathered under the Chuppah at a wedding, a son or daughter at their Bar or Bat Mitzvahs or a happy couple celebrating their 50th Anniversary are all images you will want to treasure.

Once-in-a-lifetime events like B’nai Mitvahs, wedding or special birthdays, should have photos that reflect their significance.

With professional event photography costly, you want to make sure you end up with photos you love. According to local photographers, you should be sure the photographer you hire is someone you feel comfortable with, available to take your phone calls and, above all, is good with people. And, or course, that their style reflects your personal taste in photography.

As noted earlier, it’s important to start with friends who may have good recommendations. Also, you want to be able to put your trust in someone who can capture and provide you with what your heart wants.

You first want to see samples of their work and then talk about the price. There are many different packages and the photographer can share all of this with you.

Above all, make sure you and the photographer are on the same page for the types of photos wanted.

 The Caterer or Food Service

Event attendees are most likely to anticipate – and remember – the food and drinks that are served than any other part of an event. Since most events are often defined by their menus, one of your most important activities for event planning involves hiring the right caterer.

You may already have an idea of the menu and type of caterer you want to hire. However, you should learn the expectations of a caterer as well. The caterer you hire becomes your partner, and you are both working toward the same goal – a successful event.

Some important questions you should ask a potential caterer during the hiring process are the following:

  • What types of menus does the caterer offer, and are special accommodations avail- able for those with dietary restrictions?
  • What is the caterer’s price range?
  • Will the caterer also provide furniture, place settings/silverware, linens, servers and/or wait-staff?

The answers you receive during the interview process most likely helps you eventually hire the right caterer. And once you hire your caterer, then you can get started with the fun part: the menu planning! And the tasting.

And remember, like any good service provider, the caterer will also have a series of questions – generally budget and the number of people will be the first two. Experienced caterers often meet or exceed their clients’ menu expectations while staying within their allotted budgets.

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