Mitzvah Market Magazine: MattMania at iPlay America

Mitzvah Market Magazine: MattMania at iPlay America

By Madeleine Deliee

When the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) came to Freehold, New Jersey, on February 10th, 2018, the crowd went wild. Matt Schwartz’s high-energy and high-impact Bar Mitzvah celebration took place at iPlay America’s event center, with creative touches from a “wrestling ring” VIP section for the kids, to a stadium-inspired menu served from a built-to-scale concession stand. Talk about some serious WOW!

MattMania was the brainchild of Jessica Schwartz, Matt’s mom and VP of Sales and Marketing for iPlay America. She took her cues from the technological flair of the real WWE and pulled out all the stops when designing a custom-themed stage and backdrop as the focal point of the celebration.

Drawing on the talents of the experienced AV and production staff at iPlay America, Xplosive Entertainment added the WOW factor and brought in a two-tiered 24-foot long LED illuminated stage and set up a 16-foot long rear projection screen flanked on both sides with twin 10-foot LED video walls. Emphasizing the industrial feel of a wrestling event, Xplosive built a 12-foot tall metal goal post to surround the video screen and mount an array of moving head light fixtures, which resembled the famous WWE Titantron.

With the mood set, Debbie’s Designs built the concession-styled food stand and kids’ VIP ring to continue the WWE motif. Her team also provided centerpiece décor and affixed printed vinyl decals to bars and other acrylic accents throughout the room. The on-site fixtures, which include lounge-style furniture, concert-grade lighting, light-up bars and large LED screens, made the atmosphere a true main event.

The kids also enjoyed the theme park at iPlay America during cocktail hour, playing games like Hot Shot basketball and lining up for carnival rides. Meanwhile, the adults enjoyed sushi, pasta and passed hors d’oeuvres. Dinner kept to the WWE theme, with sausage and peppers, a wing stand and a hotdog stand, all serving “concession style.” Sweet treats including fried Oreos, churros and ice cream sandwiches made a tasty transition to the Bar Mitzvah cake, which promised something for everyone with red velvet, dark chocolate and vanilla.

The Schwartz family truly went to the mat to provide a no-holds-barred good time for their guests. A personalized “merch station” offered guests hats decorated with the MattMania logo. Dana Kaufman from by dana created eye-catching, witty touches to accent the event, from amazing invitations, sweatshirts and photo booth props. Mom Jessica added a special touch with delicious “come celebrate s’more” parting gifts of packaged campfire treats after the service and custom popcorn containers to take home after the evening party.

Jessica was thrilled with the way it all came together, but she admits it was a lot of work—even for someone who regularly supervises such big events. She says to “plan, plan, plan.” She suggests locking in vendors, themes, logos, etc. as early as possible. “Anything you can do ahead of time, do it.” Jessica started working on Matt’s celebration as soon as they set the date. “About 18 months prior, we settled on the theme,” she recalls. “By about 15 months out, I secured the venue, DJ, party décor person, photographer and videographer.  They were all locked in and it was one less thing to worry about.” She used a checklist to maintain organization and provided each vendor with a binder containing reference pictures of likes and dislikes. “Communicating through pictures is a great way to avoid confusion,” she says.

Even though she had lots of her own ideas, Jessica acknowledges the importance of listening to your vendors because they have done many similar events many times. “Their advice is priceless,” she says, “even if it contradicts some of your plans. You will, inevitably, find that you must let some ideas go.” Plus, she says, “Don’t get too caught up in the little details. Something will happen that you didn’t expect—just go with it.” After all, the day is really about family and celebrating the joyous occasion together. Although it may be easy to lose focus, what’s truly important is the day. “Everyone is there to celebrate your child, and these are all of your friends and family,” Jessica points out. “No matter what you do, in the end it WILL be a success; enjoy the moment.”

Vendor Directory

Venue: iPlay America, iplayamerica.com, 732-577-8200
Music: Xplosive Entertainment; Jordan Marshall & Mike Langsner, 732-866-1620
Photographer/Videogrpher: Matt Kirchhof Photography, 732-966-4340
Favors/Invitations: by dana, Dana Kaufman, 732-625-1471
Décor: Debbie’s Designs, debbies-designs.com, 973-696-7930
Cake: Cakes by Libby, cakesbylibby.com, 848-233-9709
Sign-In Board: Custom Shoe Box, boxurkicks.com
Special Touches: Entrance video Dan, Yellow Five Studios, 908-783-7941
Dresses: Lola’s, 732-972-5222
Suits: Nita Fashions, 852-2721-9990
Hair/Makeup: Andrea Angelotti (makeup); Lisa from Act III Hair in Freehold Mall 732-303-9696
Logo: Rocket9 Creative Marketing Group, rocket-9.com

Posted in Mitzvah Spotlight, Family