Thinking Outside the Box
We wanted to thank you for taking the time to help us plan Hayden’s Bar Mitzvah. Both Steve and I valued your expertise, your patience, and your original ideas. You were an excellent listener and understood our vision for our Simcha. You also encouraged us and helped us to think “outside of the box”. You respected our budget and connected us to vendors who also respected our budget and who were a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend your Jewish party planning services as you are a true professional. Thank you so much for helping make Hayden’s day so special and memorable!
Steven and Glenda
As I just received this beautiful letter from a client this morning it made me realize how important it is to think “outside of the box” not just for planning but for everything you do in your life. This past week alone I have talked to several people who are beginning the planning stages for their Simchas and the most common concern that I hear is how come planning a party is so expensive and how can I keep my costs down. My number one pieces of advice is “think outside the box.” You don’t need to always follow others and always do what everyone else is doing. What I always say is “do what is best for you and your family.” I understand that it is human nature to follow each other and share in ideas but it’s time that you start to think for yourself. BE AN INDIVIDUAL, BE CREATIVE, AND BE THE FIRST TO DO IT AND NOT THE LAST. You can plan a party on a budget and still make it a spectacular and memorable event.
Last year, I was faced with the difficult challenge of planning my own son’s Bar Mitzvah in Toronto on a limited budget. We wanted to have both a traditional luncheon in the Synagogue and a kid’s party the following evening. Being that both my husband and I are very creative individuals we just couldn’t have a standard luncheon. We set out to give our guests a wonderful, warm and meaningful experience as we celebrated this important milestone in our lives. My son had decided to donate trees to Camp Ramah in Canada (Maxwell’s camp) in honour of his Bar Mitzvah, so our theme for the event was trees. We had a picture of him taken at Camp Ramah the summer before and used that as the creative for our invitation. Then we had very inexpensive centrepieces as we used real apples in vases with tree branches, I found a picture perfect frame at the dollar store that was made up of tiny tree trunks and I placed them on the tables with the table numbers. We also had hired a group of singers called the Varsity Jews and we had them staged in the room as waiters for the luncheon and then we had the singers interrupt one of our speeches as they broke out into a flash mob singing a horah. We also had to be creative and think outside of the box when it came to our candle lighting. We wanted to do something to recognize all of the wonderful people who had come from near and far to celebrate this very special milestone in our lives. We were however in an Orthodox Synagogue so we were very limited by what we could do. So, I came up with an idea of doing a flower placing. We placed one flower on each centrepiece on each table and we asked our parents, siblings and cousins to all place a flower on the branches of the centrepiece to honour them at this special time. We also wanted to make it inclusive and to let everyone know how much we appreciated them all coming to celebrate with us so we asked a representative from each table to place a flower on the branch of the centrepiece. This was a beautiful ceremony and the most important fact about all of these special moments was that it was not about spending excess amounts of money, it was about creating a memorable and special moment for our son and our family.
I remember in the middle of the planning process, I was starting to stress over so many of the details especially regarding the food that was going to be served, and my caterer turned to me and said these people are all coming because they love you, they are not coming for the food. To be honest, even me as a planner who has been planning other people’s Simchas for the past 17 years I had to stop myself from getting caught in the whole party craziness. At that moment, I stopped and I reflected on what she had said to me and she was right. The people that were coming to our Simcha were coming for us because they felt a strong connection to me or my husband or my children and they were not coming for the food. It was a pivotal moment for me as a planner and as a Mother who was planning their son’s Bar Mitzvah. So, if you take anything away from this blog today it is please remember that those who are coming to your Simcha are coming for you, because they love you and not for the décor on the tables, the food on their plates or the music on the stage. They are there for the sole purpose to support you and your family and share in this very special milestone.
The funniest part about this whole story is that six months later I set up a meeting with a new Bat Mitzvah client and during out initial meeting she tells me that she had hired The Varsity Jews and she had heard through the grapevine about someone who did a flash mob style singing horah and she thought that was the coolest idea. I almost fell off my chair and so did she when I told her that was my idea and that was MY son’s Bar Mitzvah. So, you see sometimes it pays off to be the first and not the last.