Should you postpone a Bar Bat Mitzvah because of COVID 19?

To Postpone or Not? The Bar Bat Mitzvah Question Facing Thousands of Parents Today

To Postpone or Not? The Bar Bat Mitzvah Question Facing Thousands of Parents Today

UPDATE – (Monday, 3/16/20) At 3pm EST, President Trump advised that Americans should avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people. Effective 8pm EST, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have announced that all three states will prohibit crowds of 50 or more, including private parties, restaurants and bars. We will continue to update this story as the situation evolves. 

If your Bar or Bat Mitzvah is scheduled for this spring, you’re probably in the throes of deciding whether or not to move forward, postpone or cancel your simcha because of the Covid-19/Coronavirus. Clearly this is a very personal decision, and there are no “right” answers. You must do what is going to work for you and your family — and follow what is permitted by your local or state government. 

“No one solution fits for everyone. You need to see what is being allowed and then decide what is best for your family,” says Melisa Imberman of The Event of a Lifetime, Inc., a leading Tri-State area event producer. Imberman has been fielding calls by the minute from anxious parents looking for guidance and is hearing everything from “let’s cancel” to “let’s postpone by a year.” One Mitzvah Market reader shared that they will live stream their service on the original date, but postpone their celebration to a later date. 

One thing is certain: this situation is changing from hour to hour. Mindy Younger from A Promos USA tells us, “My clients are all up in the air with what to do with their events.” Over the course of one day, a popular NY-based DJ went from confirming all four parties for the coming weekend to being down to one by 5pm. Two more events for the following weekend followed suit. 

Todd Yahney of Todd Yahney Events says clients want reassurance, so he advises: “Treat it like a snowstorm, make decisions based on the last possible time a caterer can order the food.” If your celebration is booked at an all-inclusive venue like Space Events in NJ or Space 54 in NYC you might just be in luck. Space owner Elvira Grau tells Mitzvah Market that she has already rescheduled six Bar Bat Mitzvahs that were taking place this weekend for the fall without any additional cost to her clients. “I feel fortunate that with one call, I can help parents reschedule this important milestone!”

What should YOU do? Mitzvah Market’s experts share their advice:

If you decide to hold your party as planned, consider the following options to keep you and your guests safe:

  1. Anticipating a smaller guest list? Ask your venue/caterer to reduce their minimum head count.
  2. Instruct your caterer to switch from buffet service to individual table service.
  3. Place hand sanitizer throughout the venue and make it easy for guests to find. Sue Smith from thecoolestgiveaways is creating custom labels for sanitizers and working on clever taglines for postponed events.
  4. Wipe, Wipe Wipe!  Ask all vendors to instruct their staff to wear gloves and wipe down all surfaces after every use (bars, serving tables, games etc…).
  5. Remove props and signs from photo booths to limit hand exposure.
  6. Link arms during the horah instead of holding hands.

If you’re considering rescheduling your celebration:

  1. Venue: Ask if alternate dates are available. Consider a Friday night or Sunday assuming important family members can make it.
  2. Service: Call your rabbi to discuss options. Your child has worked so hard to prepare for this day using this Torah portion. Consider holding your service on the original date but limit attendees. Does your temple offer a “live stream” for guests to watch from home?
  3. Invitations: If you must postpone, Stephanie Feldman, Cutie Patootie Creations suggests, “Families should work with their invitation designer on a reprint. If the invitation is already printed, perhaps an insert with the new date can be added to the emsemble or reprinted at a discount.” A digital invite with the new date is another practical option or even an email. Whatever you decide, it’s important to keep your guests informed.
  4. Party Favors & SWAG: Melisa Imberman of The Event of a Lifetime says, “If your SWAG has already been made, and you are keeping your service date, then the date on your swag is still accurate!” Also ask your vendor where the favors are manufactured. You might want to consider avoiding imported items to reduce delays. 
  5. Logos: If your celebration is a few months away, and you aren’t sure what will happen, “Just use 2020,” says Howie Zwang of Gotham T-Shirts. “That gives you the most flexibility.”

Most importantly: “Don’t be frantic,” says Evan Karfinkel of EK Event Group, “Everyone will eventually have their parties and we will all be here to help you celebrate!”

Mitzvah Market’s 17 regional Facebook groups are also actively discussing this situation and are a great resource for parents who want to get advice or just vent! We have a community of nearly 11,000 Bar Bat Mitzvah families, vendors and experts who are willing to help. Not a member yet? Join here.

Posted in Mitzvah Ideas, Other Ideas