Month: March 2016

Characteristics of a good planner

How do you know if your Mitzvah planner is a good one or a bad one and how can you choose a good planner from the start? | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VAI’ve been hearing horror stories recently about people’s terrible experiences with Mitzvah planners. It makes me crazy to hear about these event planners who are ruining it for those of us who work hard every day for our clients. How do you know if your Mitzvah planner is a good one or a bad one and how can you choose a good planner from the start? Read on!

A good planner will:

  1. Respond to your emails/calls in a timely fashion. 24 hours is good. 74 hours is not.
  2. Make you feel as though they have all of the time in the world to answer your questions. You’ll feel like their only client, even though you know they are working on many other events.
  3. Keep you posted on what they’re working on for you, so you feel confident that your party planning is progressing on schedule.
  4. Be very clear about expectations. They should explain the benefits and drawbacks of different options and help you understand why something may not work as you envision it.

A bad planner will:

  1. Disappear for days without responding.
  2. Not listen to what you want and try to fit you into a cookie-cutter mold. In the same vein, they’ll tell you that’s not how it’s done and dismiss your ideas.
  3. Have a reputation for coming through in the end, but not being there in the middle.
  4. Not collaborate with vendors and refuse to share information until the very last minute.

How to pick a good planner

  1. Trust your gut.
  2. Find someone you trust.
  3. Ask questions and gain a clear understanding of what they will and will not do for you.
  4. Ask for references from past clients or vendors they’ve worked with.

Basically, trust is the most important part of the event planner equation. You need to trust that your planner is going to do their job and do it well. You need to trust their judgement. If you don’t feel like you can trust them from the getgo, keep looking for someone different.

I’d love to talk to you to see if we’d be a good fit. Contact me to set up a free consultation.

Old Advice, New Advice: Bar or Bat Mitzvah Planning Rules

In the past, it may have felt as though there were rules or formulas about how a Bar or Bat Mitzvah were supposed to happen, but families are now realizing that if these "have to's" doesn't work for YOUR family, don't do it. | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in MD, DC & VA

In the Mitzvah Planning Facebook groups I belong to (psst… check out the local to DC, MD & VA one), parents are constantly asking questions like “Do I have to serve cake?” or “Do I have to have a candle lighting?” or ” Do I have to have a hotel ballroom event?” In the past, it may have felt as though there were rules or formulas about how a Bar or Bat Mitzvah were supposed to happen, but families are now realizing that if these “have to’s” doesn’t work for YOUR family, don’t do it. Simple. I give you permission that…

You can do anything you want for your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah party.

Freeing? Right?

Does you child hate to dance? Don’t have dancing. Do you find candle lighting ceremonies long and boring? Skip the candle lighting. Do you hate theme-y events? Don’t have a theme. Do what works for your family and your guests, regardless of what happened at other Mitzvahs that you’ve attended. After all, you know these people the best.

What you should have at your party

While the old Bar or Bat Mitzvah rules are gone, there are a few things that you should have at your event in order to be a good host. First, food. Your guests will have been in services for awhile and many will be away from home. Give them something to eat (including the kids!). It doesn’t have to be steak, chicken or fish, but as a host, it’s your responsibly to feed your hungry guests.

Next, give guests somewhere to sit and/or put their stuff. You don’t necessarily need seating for everyone. However, there will be guests who can’t stand for long periods of time and they need a seating option. If you are serving a meal that needs to be eaten with a knife and fork, give your guests tables. Especially if you are having an event during jacket season, you need somewhere for your guests to put their belongings. It can be on the back of a chair, a coat room, a coat check or cubbies, but it will make your event space look nicer if there aren’t coats, purses or giveaway items strewn about.

Finally, important people to your family. The most important part of your event is who you share it with–friends and family. Cut what you have to so you can have all of the people you want at your event.

How to make it happen.

Do what works for your family for your Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Period. Don’t apologize. Don’t make excuses. Have the event that you want.

A planner is a great sounding board for how to make an even truly your own. Contact me for more information.

Seating and Feeding Kids at Your Mitzvah

Seating adult guests at tables can always be a bit tricky, but seating kids at your Bar or Bat Mitzvah can be even more confusing! Here are answers to some common questions I hear. | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VASeating adult guests at tables can always be a bit tricky, but seating (and feeding!) kids at your Bar or Bat Mitzvah can be even more confusing! Here are answers to some common questions I hear.

Do kids need an assigned place to sit?

Not necessarily. Kids aren’t going to sit for long, but there should be a place where they can sit at a table to eat. Lounge furniture is great, but eating pasta on your lap (or even worse, the floor!) while wearing fancy clothes is a recipe for disaster! Assigned tables make kids feel very grown up, but they are just as happy with open seating (open seating = a bunch of tables where kids can sit anywhere they like). If you go with open seating, make sure to have extra seats since it never works out to have kids distribute themselves evenly to every table.

Should some kids sit at adult tables?

If a child is really young, like under the age of 4 or so, they should most likely sit with their parents. However, this is not a hard and fast rule. If the younger child has an older sibling, they might be fine sitting with older kids. The best thing to do is ask their parents and decide on a case by case basis.

If a child is older, like over the age of 16, they may prefer to sit at an adult table and eat an adult meal. But then again, they may prefer to hang out with the younger kids, especially if they have a younger sibling. As with the scenario above, the best thing to do is ask their parents and decide on a case by case basis.

If kids sit at adult tables, do they have to eat an adult meal?

No with the caveat that you should check with your caterer. The child may still go get their food from a kid’s buffet or the caterer will make them a plate with the kid’s meal on it (if kids have a buffet and adults have a plated meal). Different caterers handle this differently, so it is best to talk to your caterer. The caterer will also want to know at which tables kids are sitting.

At what age does a kid stop being considered a “kid” by catering standards?

It depends on the caterer, but usually somewhere are the age of 16. Check your contract or check with your caterer for the final word.

How should I feed the kids?

This is a great place to involve your child in decisions. The vast majority of Bar or Bat Mitzvah parties have buffets for kids, even if adults have plated meals. This allows the kids to eat quickly (which they will) and get back to the party. You certainly can do a plated meal for the kids, but it will change the dynamic of your party from high energy with lots of dancing and games, to lower energy with more mingling and less structure.

What should I feed the kids?

Again, talk to your child. Help them pick the menu for their friends so it includes some of their favorite foods. Keep in mind that many kids have more sophisticated palates than you’d think, especially in the DC-area. I’ve heard from several Mitzvah children that they hate events where the kids are just served fried foods (like chicken fingers and french fries) and have loved events with sushi bars. Also, note that you do not have to have different food for adults and kids, provided that it will be served the same way. So rather than having an adult buffet and a separate kid buffet, why not have one buffet for all of the guests? Or you could do a variety of different types of stations rather than just a traditional buffet. I was just at a Mitzvah where there was a slider station, a make your own taco station and a mac and cheese with fixings station. All were huge hits with both the adults and the kids. When selecting the food, be creative and think about your family and your child’s friends typically eat.

 

4 Reasons to Book Your Mitzvah Vendors Early

When you get your child's Bar or Bat Mitzvah date 2-3 years in advance, it's easy to think you have plenty of time to plan. But if you want specific Mitzvah vendors, you need to be quick!

When you get your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah date 2-3 years in advance, it’s easy to think you have plenty of time to plan. And, for the most part, you do have a ton of time. However, if you know you want that amazing photographer or killer DJ, in-demand venue, or amazing Mitzvah Planner, get on it! Here are 4 reasons to book those Mitzvah vendors early.

1. Make sure you get your preferred Mitzvah vendors

First and most important is to make sure you get the Mitzvah vendors your want. Great venues and vendors are well known in each community and because of that, they can book fast! If you know you definitely want to work with someone or at a specific venue, call them as soon as you get your date. You don’t want to wind up disappointed because you waited and someone else was faster. Make the call or send the email!

2. Potentially save money

Many vendors raise their rates annually or every few years, if you sign the contract now, you’ll be locked in at today’s price. Win!

3. Spread out the spending

Speaking of money, we all know that Mitzvahs can be expensive. By starting early, you’ll be able to put down deposits years in advance giving you time to save for other vendors. It will also ease the pinch of having to write a ton of deposit checks at one time.

4. Peace of mind

By securing those favored vendors early, you’ll have plenty of time to relax in your planning and do nothing. Even if a venue or vendor isn’t booking so far out, you’ll have an idea of when they will book, so you can be first in line. You’ll have the peace of mind that you have a Mitzvah vendor team in place that is going to give you the event of your child’s dreams.

Exception to the “book Mitzvah vendors early” rule

If you’re already in the middle of the Mitzvah planning process with an older sibling, wait until after their event to make sure you’re happy with the vendors. Then rebook them stat, if you’re happy with how things went!

Word of Warning

There is some risk in signing so early, as a lot can happen in 2 or 3 years–vendors can go bankrupt or out of business, staff can change, venues can start construction or your child’s tastes can change. Make sure you read contracts carefully to see how you are covered in these different scenarios. Check in with your contacts every 6 months or so, just to say hi and make sure they’re still kickin’. By choosing vendors that are seasoned and well-respected in your community, you likely won’t have to worry about any of these issues, but it never hurts to be prepared!

Need an event planner for 2018 (or 2016 or 2017…)? Contact me!

Old Advice, New Advice: Numbering Mitzvah RSVP Cards

Need a better way to number Mitzvah RSVP cards than in pencil? Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in MD, DC & VA

Welcome to a new column on the blog, old advice, new advice. In this column we’ll share new ways to do old things for your event. First up, Mitzvah RSVP cards.

Old Advice

It has always been recommended that you number your guest list and place a corresponding number on a Mitzvah RSVP card, just in case your guest forgets to write their name on the card when they send it back. The old way to do it was to write the number lightly on the back of the card in pencil. But what if you decide to do postcards or simply hate the way it looks? Even if you try to be discreet with this, people still notice it and it still looks ugly on your beautiful invitation suite.

New Advice

Invisible Pens & UV Light allow you to write anything on your card anywhere and only you know where it is. You can still do the corresponding number thing or you could even write your guests’ names directly on the Mitzvah RSVP card. As you can see in the image below, the ink dries clear and then you shine a special light onto whatever you write if you need to see it. It’s completely invisible to your guests, so it keeps your invitation suite looking pristine.

A few pieces of advice

Make sure you are consistent in how you label the cards (names, numbers…) and where you label them. In case you need to use your special light, you’ll need to know what and where to look for your invisible label. Also, store the flashlight portion in a safe place that’s easy to remember. There will be quite a bit of lag time between sending out the invites and getting the response cards back, so you need to remember where you put the flashlight if you need it!

Searching for other new ideas for your Mitzvah? Contact me for a free consultation!

 

© 2015 Pop Color Events