You already read Mitzvah Planning Timeline Part I. As promised, here’s Part II. We want to thank Emily Haft Bloom, author of the fabulous book The Bar/Bat Mitzvah Planner for letting us share her ideas with you.
6 months out:
Meet with vendors to plan the order of events at the celebration(s), provide photographers with photo list, plan weekend events including Shabbat dinner, brunch, arrange transportation for out-of-town guests to and from service and for your child’s friends, and order invitations, direction cards, placecards and personal stationery. You will also want to arrange for calligraphy and order stamps. Order kippot for service and discuss tabletop elements with floral designer including centerpieces, table linens and seating.
Decide what attire you and your family will need for the weekend. If you or your child is having a dress or suit made, set aside a few days to shop together. Don’t forget shoes, handbags, appropriate wraps for the service and attire for Friday night services. If your son or daughter is in the midst of an adolescent growth spurt, be prepared to visit the store for several fittings and be sure what you select has adequate room for tailoring! The same goes for footwear for all your offspring!
Three months out:
Drop off stationery at calligrapher, be sure to review all addresses carefully before mailing, stuff envelopes and affix postage, remembering to add postage to response envelopes. Meet with Rabbi to review elements of service and meet with tutor to assure your child is on schedule. Begin to prepare written elements of service including D’var Torah, any prayers parents may be asked to read, and speeches for celebration.
Two months out:
Arrange for personal care appointments for family such as haircuts and style appointments. Confirm arrangements for Shabbat dinner, meet with vendors to discuss any last elements not previously determined, speak to postmaster in your town to arrange for hand-canceling if you want it, confirm travel arrangements for out-of-town guests, arrange for small gift bags for hotel rooms, amenity baskets for restroom facilities and order favors for guests.
Six weeks out:
Mail invitations, arrange fittings for family, shop for footwear and make sure all elements of the family wardrobe for the weekend are complete. Provide entertainment vendor with song list and discuss special ceremonies like candlelighting, challah slicing, montage and toasts.
One month out:
Assemble seating arrangements, confirm Aliyot with Rabbi, arrange for rehearsal with synagogue, organize place cards and finalize any last-minute arrangements with out-of-town guests. Order sign-in board or buy guest book. Prepare and have printed service booklets or benchers.
Three weeks out:
Finalize numbers and let caterer know how many guests you are expecting. Finalize seating, assemble and wrap favors, complete written elements of the service and celebration, and make any necessary payments to vendors.
Two weeks out:
Assemble a bag to take with you, and be sure to get cash for gratuities and divide the money into envelopes for each vendor. Meet with tutor to make sure everyone is completely prepared. Attend rehearsals with Rabbi and confirm any transportation elements.
One week out: