Advice on planning your Bar or Bat Mizvah in Toronto
Over the past few years I have spent a lot of time meeting with parents who are about to embark on a very special journey of planning their son’s or daughter’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah. A Bar or Bat Mitzvah is an important milestone as well as a significant tradition in the Jewish religion. From the feedback that I have received from my Toronto clients the most stressful part of the planning process is the financial commitment that parents have to invest for this one day. My best advice that I can give anyone who is starting this planning process is to talk to their children first, sit down and have a quiet conversation with that child alone. Ask them what they want to do, get them involved in the process and ask them whether they want a dance party or a small luncheon or even like to take a limo and 10 kids to see a play. There are so many options today when planning a Bar/Bat that one does not have to take the traditional route especially when planning the celebratory part of their Bar or Bat Mitzvah.
In terms of the financial stress and burden that parents feel, my best advice is step back and don’t get caught up in the whirlwind of what everyone else is doing. Most importantly, do what you feel comfortable as a family and don’t worry about what everyone else thinks. Creativity is the key to planning a Bar or Bat on a budget. This is where the planner is vital to the success of planning your party. They can actually save you money by finding creative ways to cut costs but not take away from your overall goal of having a beautiful simcha. They can help you come up with a theme or a colour palette that will determine what your invitations, place cards, giveaways and décor will look like. A planner can also point you in the right direction to recommend vendors that are within your budget and people who are reputable in the industry.
I recently went through this process myself as I planned my eldest child’s Bar Mitzvah this past November. My husband and I agonized over how we were going to feasibly afford having a Bar Mitzvah luncheon as well as an evening party for approximately 200 people. After much thought and sleepless nights we came to a wonderful and doable compromise. My son really wanted a dance party so we decided to invite all of our friends and family and had a beautiful luncheon and we made that the focus of his Bar Mitzvah. We then had a kid’s party the next day and it was a smashing success. Why? Not because I spent a million dollars but because we were creative we thought about the kids, what foods they would like to eat, what prizes they would like to receive and how we would make our party different than the 40 other Bar or Bat Mitzvahs that he has already attended. We had to think outside the box and create a night that was centred around our son and his passions. For instance, our son’s favourite dessert is funnel cake so instead of having a traditional cake we made the letters in his name out of funnel cake and then hired a funnel cake truck and had them park outside of the venue and make funnel cakes for all of the kids on site. Most importantly at the end of the day we were surrounded by our family and our very special friends and that is what made his Bar Mitzvah a wonderful memory that both he and I will cherish for a lifetime.