Bar Mitzvah Checklist (To-Do's)
envisioning your son's Bar Mitzvah -- formal hotel or synagogue?
Casual at-home get-together? Need help getting started? We
got you covered.
on a budget.
your preferences for a Bar Mitzvah date and time, and finalize
after okaying with important guests, location, or officiant.
Read on for more planning tips and tricks.
interviewing party planners (if you'll have one) and/or start
asking family and friends for local Bar Mitzvah vendor recommendations.
10 to 12 Months
your son up for Bar Mitzvah classes at your synagogue.
out Bar Mitzvah sites.
looking for a rabbi who suits your family's style and spirit,
if you don't have one already.
your synagogue and/or Bar Mitzvah site as soon as you see
something you love that's available on your date.
- Get organized!
Start a notebook/file folder to house all your Bar Mitzvah-planning
paperwork in one place.
working on a preliminary Bar Mitzvah guest list and decide
on your Bar Mitzvah's approximate size.
a party planner (if you're having one) and sign a contract.
a color scheme or your Bar Mitzvah's style, if you so desire,
taking into account the decor of the rooms/areas you have
reserved for your ceremony and reception.
on a caterer. Hash out a rough price per head and begin working
on a menu.
up on Bar Mitzvah traditions you might want to incorporate
into your ceremony or party.
the guest list.
your caterer contract and send in a deposit.
auditioning Bar Mitzvah bands or DJs or both.
- Set up
appointments with various florists to discuss options.
and get price lists from several photographers and videographers.
reception band or DJ, sign the contract, and send a deposit.
6 to 8 Months
looking for a baker to make your Bar Mitzvah cake. Your caterer
is the best source for leads.
photographer and/or videographer, decide on a package, sign
contract, and send deposit.
your florist and send a deposit to reserve their services.
- If you
are ordering a dress (especially one that'll require tailoring),
start shopping now. Order as much in advance as possible to
leave time for last-minute alterations.
- Set aside
blocks of hotel rooms for out-of-town guests.
a baker, choose your Bar Mitzvah cake design, and send a deposit.
menu and service details with caterer.
your Bar Mitzvah invitations and announcements (don't forget
plenty of extra envelopes).
4 to 6 Months
on a floral scheme, choose flowers, and negotiate prices with
florist. Be sure to sign a contract outlining what you agreed
thinking about ways to decorate, if you haven't already.
tables, chairs, and/or other rental equipment you'll need
(unless caterer or site is taking care of it).
packages for out-of-town guests with hotel reservation and
city information, and mail them out.
3 Months Before
or buy favors. Allow extra time for custom-made favors (i.e.,
chocolates in a preprinted box).
up your invitations.
addressing invitations or drop them off with the calligrapher
(you'll need to send them out at the two-month mark).
Bar Mitzvah-day transportation for you, your family, and guests
out invitations (be sure to add extra postage for overseas
2 Months Before
reservations for out-of-town guests.
parking for the Bar Mitzvah, if needed.
liquor, wine and/or champagne if they're not included in the
for a special entertainment, like dancers.
- Buy a
guest book (and nice pen).
1 Month Before
on a list of "must-play" (and "must-not play")
songs for your DJ or band.
- If you've
ordered a dress, pick it up from the store and have your final
a follow-up meeting or phone call with rabbi to go over Bar
Mitzvah timing and details.
- Sit for
your family portrait, if you decide to get one.
- Get a
head start on those thank-you notes (it will feel great to
get a batch out before the Bar Mitzvah).
2 Weeks Before
final head count to the caterer. Confirm set-up instructions
and menu items.
location manager and make sure your vendors all have access
to the site when they need it.
head count, delivery time, and location with the baker.
guests who haven't RSVP'd for the Bar Mitzvah. It's okay to
do this, you need a final head count!
putting together the seating plan if you're having a seated
seating chart. Buy materials for and make place cards (give
typed names to the calligrapher if you're using one).
delivery locations, times, and final arrangement count with
your toasts or thanks to friends and family.
seating chart to caterer, location manager, or host.
- Fax transportation
providers a schedule and addresses for pickups on the Bar
all final payment amounts with your vendors.
location, date, and time with videographer.
location, date, and time with photographer; create your "must-take"
The Day Before
- Get some
much-needed sleep -- if you can!
off favors, guest book, and pen at the Bar Mitzvah site.
The Day of
with people who you expect to give/lead toasts at the Bar
a moment to tell your son how much you love him.
smile, and enjoy the day!
After the Bar Mitzvah
your digital photographs onto a photo-sharing website. These
will probably be the first photos available since professional
proofs can take weeks.
sure all vendor bills have been paid in full.
out when you can expect your edited Bar Mitzvah video (if
you used a videographer).
two months of your Bar Mitzvah, set aside some evenings to
help your son write that stack of thank-you notes.
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