I’m the founder of MitzvahMarket.com, so this Mitzvah Family Spotlight is very personal – it’s about my daughter Carly’s Bat Mitzvah!
As many of you know, the idea for Mitzvah Market came to me a little over 2 years ago as I commuted to NYC with my friends who had already been through the planning process. They gave me enormous amounts of information on what to do and when to start. This Mom-to-Mom advice is the backbone of MitzvahMarket.com.
When planning for my own daughter’s celebration, I tried to keep in mind the significance of her Bat Mitzvah and added creative and unique touches.
After meeting so many amazing Mitzvah experts over the past 2 years, it was easy to do! I hope you will enjoy reading all about our wonderful weekend celebration.
Pictured above: My husband Roy, our son Evan, Bat Mitzvah girl Carly, and me, Sheri Lapidus.
All party photography was done by Simon Elliot Events. The terrific Mitzvah vendors I used are all listed at the bottom of this spotlight. I thank all of them for helping to make my daughter’s celebration a night we will never forget!
For our out-of-town guests we used PaperlessPost.com to create our “Save The Dates” and sent them out via email. It’s such a simple Website to use and I was able to design the card myself!
These “Save The Dates” were under $10 for all of our out-of-town guests!
My sister Amy Wohl is an extremely talented graphic designer and used to own a custom invitation business. Not only did she create Carly’s invitations, but she was responsible for many of the other touches you will be reading about. Her Website is FabuDesigns and Amy hand-made each invitation using gray suede and Swarovski crystals. Everyone thought they were beautiful and very unique!
Carly with her Aunt Amy
When it came time to start shopping for our dresses, both Carly and I got very lucky and ended up buying the first dresses we tried on! Mine was a Carlos Miele one shoulder bright turquoise long gown that was on a sale rack at Tallulah in Woodbury, New York and Carly’s hot pink long gown was from 2 Be Seen in Syosset, New York.
Without realizing it we would match our party decor!
We belong to Temple Or Elohim in Jericho, New York and Carly’s Nicole Miller service dress was from It’s Simply For You Boutique in Syosset, New York
We have written about Parker’s Crazy Cookies in the past and I thought they were a unique and clever product. I sent them Carly’s picture and we used these adorable custom animal cracker cookies at her Friday night Oneg dinner, the Kiddush after Carly’s service and Sunday brunch. Everyone loved them!
I sent them the picture on the left and they created the “Carly” cookie on the right!
My talented sister created this sign which we used next to the basket of cookies at the Kiddush
When it came time to pick a venue, it was an easy choice. I grew up in Oceanside down the block from Kenny Kombert of Kombert Caterers at Temple Avodah. Another Mitzvah Mom who had her two children’s parties at Temple Avodah told me she considered having a third child just so she could do another party with Kenny! That’s all I needed to hear and he and his staff did not disappoint and exceeded all expectations. My guests couldn’t stop talking about his staff and the delicious food!
These color coordinated luminaires lined the entrance to Temple Avodah
The spacious ballroom including the kids lounge area!
Simon Elliot Events provided this cool curvy white leather furniture and I found matching peace sign pillows at Star Track in Farmingdale
The menu card created by Kombert Caterers
For our seating cards, we wanted something dual purpose and colorful. We found tins with clear tops at AC Moore, a crafts store, and attached a matching ribbon around the outside and filled the tins with color coordinated M&Ms!
M&M place card tins are ready for our guests. A pink carpet runner leads guests from the door to the place card table in the lobby
Brightly colored place cards lined up and ready!
The M&M stood for Mr. and Mrs.!
I saw these paper poms in a store window one day and thought they could be a nice addition to our decor. I bought them from a seller on Etsy and we hung them from the centerpiece which was used for the seating card table and in the kids lounge area in the three colors Carly selected for her decor
Carly didn’t want a theme, but selected three colors that were used in elements throughout the party. She selected orange, hot pink and turquoise.
Spitz and Peck was an incredible florist to work with. They created three completely different centerpieces for our adult tables and we used orange, hot pink and turquoise linens
Aunt Amy created these matching luminaire table numbers which lit up with LED lights.
You can see the beautiful flowers!
A photo shoot with Simon Elliot Events resulted in these posters which were used in the kids lounge area
Amy created these luminaires for the kids lounge area from those same photos
We wanted a short and clever entrance video for Carly. She’s a big fan of ABC-TV’s reality series “The Bachelor,” “The Bachelorette” and this summer’s show “Bachelor Pad.”
Simon Miller from Simon Elliot Events used editing magic to create this short trailer for the new reality series we called “The Bat Mitzvah-rette!”
Again, Aunt Amy worked her magic, and using Photoshop, included Carly in the cast picture from ABC-TV’s summer reality series “Bachelor Pad”
Carly’s entrance video was exactly what we wanted: clever and short!
After her entrance video played, Carly was carried into the ballroom by ET’s dancers Matt and Nori
Simon Elliot Events created so many of Carly’s unique touches including her sign-in. They debuted their new “iSign” for Carly’s party! This exciting new service brings the sign-in board/book concept into the digital domain. Guests left special messages which gets compiled into a book, saved on a disc or printed out.
Using this special iPad podium, guest were able to “sign-in” using a stylus or finger on the iPad with messages for Carly that were displayed in realtime on a plasma screen for all to see
Guests could choose from different custom backgrounds created just for Carly
The kids LOVED using this new technology
A sample of one of the messages for Carly
All of Carly’s messages are now saved in this terrific book!
Instead of a traditional candle lighting ceremony, we decided to try something new! We came up with “Carly’s Karaoke Candle Lighting” and with the help of a pro, wrote new words to familiar songs. The amazing Carolyn Schwartz, Poems By Carolyn, came up with 14 clever songs. Carly spent an evening with professional singers recording these new versions in a recording studio at Simon Elliot Events. This way guests would “sing-a-long” with Carly and hear the new words.
Professional singers Simon Miller and Linda Bruno with Carly in the recording booth
To assure audience participation, we did a few things. First we created song packets for each guest with the above cover created by Amy (notice the American Idol look!) and copies of all 14 songs. Simon Elliot Events also had the words on big screens, thanks to MitBark, so our guests could follow and sing along!
ET’s dancer Crystal starts handing out our song packets to guests
We also had custom download iTune cards created by Alfacards made up to give as prizes for the best singers!
Our DJ company Entertainment Tonite provided blow-up microphones for our guests to encourage singing
Here’s Carly singing her last “candle” song to her Mom and Dad!
After two of the songs, clips appeared on the big screens of Simon, Paula and Randy critiquing the singing and getting a few laughs!
I thought it might be fun to actually hear two of the clever songs written by Carolyn Schwartz. The first song you will hear was candle #6 for my cousins to the tune of The Brady Bunch and the second song you will hear was candle #8 for my husband’s college friends to the tune of Sweet Home Alabama!
Carl from Entertainment Tonite was the MC for our party. He and his crew of dancers are always amazing! Kombert Caterers thinks of everything and provided a basket of earplugs for our older guests who really appreciated that detail!
The dance floor was crowded the whole night!
Carly getting a spin from Nori
Mitzvah Dad Roy getting a lift from Matt and Carl our MC!
My husband came up with a great idea for his “father daughter” dance! Carly loves TLC’s “Rock The Reception” and wanted to surprise our guests with a choreographed dance. We invited all the 8th grade friends, girls with their Dads and boys with their Moms to learn a special dance. We had 13 “couples” who came to our one and only rehearsal 2 weeks before our party.
Entertainment Tonite dancer Matt taught everyone the steps for the surprise dance to Usher’s “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love.” A big thanks to Ultimate Gaga in Syosset where we rehearsed!
Everyone working hard to learn the special dance!
Carly and Roy have their moment before the surprise choreographed dance starts!
24 of Carly’s friends and their Mom or Dad jump onto the dance floor as Usher’s song “DJ Think I’m Falling In Love Again” starts to play. Dancer and teacher Matt stood in the front reminding everyone of all the moves!
Kombert Caterers surprised us with this beautiful cake that matched our colors. We made the candles that surrounded the cake ourselves!
Carly and I had a “do-it-yourself” moment. We bought these plain white pillar candles and then using masking tape, special glue and metallic glass micro beads in the decor colors, we created these matching candles
We couldn’t be more proud of our daughter Carly!
A Promos USA dba The Imagemaker created wearable favors for the young adults. Shira was incredibly patient and worked with Carly to come up with a design for the girls burn out shirts and the boys black thermal shirt.
The girls received this turquoise burn out shirt with a colorful design on the back and the date written out down the sleeve
The boys received this black thermal with a design on the back
Young guests could also have cell phone covers and hats airbrushed by Simon Elliot Events
When we realized that our party fell on the night of daylight savings, we wanted to incorporate that into our parting adult favors. Whenever I leave a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, the first thing I do in the car is remove my shoes. I was very excited to surprise our guests with a pair of comfy slippers (for the ladies!), a Sunday newspaper, NY street style pretzels, and water as they left our party.
Carly standing with our guest’s slippers. The airbrushed poster was a nice surprise from Simon Elliot Events!
Again Aunt Amy stepped in and created these stickers which featured a poem written by the entire family!
The water and Sunday newspapers are waiting for guests as they leave the celebration
Of course water bottles with matching labels and a phrase we borrowed from Seinfeld, which went perfectly with the pretzels!
Tobo Foods created a special cover wrap on Sunday’s Newsday newspaper which tied into Carly’s entrance video
A NY street style pretzel cart was waiting as guests left
Through Carly’s Hebrew school teacher, we were introduced to Edjia Esther Eiges Hiller, a Holocaust survivor. Carly learned about her life and how her younger brother and rest of her family did not survive the Holocaust. We invited Edie and her family to Carly’s service and presented her with a special gift.
Carly and her new special friend Esther “Edie” Hiller
Carly used her Bat Mitzvah money and made a donation to the Glen Cove Holocaust Center. This plaque now hangs in the children’s garden
We usually ask the Moms in our Mitzvah Family Spotlights to provide some Mom-to-Mom advice. I’ve been thinking about what I would say for almost 2 years now! Here goes…”I now understand what it takes to plan your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah. It’s a very exciting time in your child’s life, but it can also be filled with lots of anxiety and stress. It’s important to keep checking in with your son or daughter making sure they feel comfortable with everything that is being planned. At some point, you must let go and leave everything in the hands of the Mitzvah experts that you hire. Your family’s celebration will be magical and it will also go by very fast!”
“I get to do it all over again in 2 years for my son’s Bar Mitzvah and I can’t wait!”
After all her hard work studying her torah portion and preparing for her Bat Mitzvah service, she (and I) were able to relax and have the best night!
The following Vendors helped make Carly’s Bat Mitzvah special. If you call any of them, please make sure to tell them you read about their services on MitzvahMarket.com. Feel free to email me with any questions you might have at Sheri@MitzvahMarket.com.
Invitations & Accessories: Amy Wohl, 312-513-1698
Save The Dates: PaperLessPost.com
Venue/Caterer: Kombert Caterers 516- 678-6161
Florist: Spitz and Peck Florist 631- 367-9700
Musical Entertainment: MC Carl Entertainment Tonite 516-826-6900
Special Cookie: Parker’s Crazy Cookies 510-847-2634
Favors: Shira Younger A USA Promos dba The Imagemaker
Video/Photographer/Photo Booth/Airbrushing/Candle Lighting: Simon Miller Simon Elliot Events 516-660-1812
Candle Lighting songs: Carolyn Schwartz Poems by Carolyn 516-312-0727
Pink Carpet Runner: Beth Yudin Premier Skirting 516-239-6810
M & M’s for Place Cards: CandyFavorites.com
Special Newsday Newspapers: Tobo Foods
Customized iTunes Cards: Alfacard
Hair: Alysha at The Salon at 230
Make-up: Nicole at About Face 348-5292
Beads for Candles: BlockheadStamps.com
Pillows: Star Track Inc.
Sheri’s Dress: Tallulah 516-367-8010
Carly’s Party Dress: 2 Be Seen 516-921-5777
Carly’s Service Dress: It’s Simply For You
Big Screens: MitBark
Security: LI Party Police
Dance Rehearsal: Ultimate Gaga
Service Yarmulke: Unique Judaica 516-364-8311
Paper Poms: Etsy Fiesta Pom Pom
Mitzvah Project: Glen Cove Holocaust Center, RememberUs.org
Bus Transportation: First Student, Juanita, 516-867-6400