Month: September 2016

Pop Color Vendor: The Cookie Jar DC

I’m excited to introduce you to Lindsay Larner, Founder/Owner of The Cookie Jar DC. Lindsay makes the yummiest, safe-to-eat cookie dough and she offers a ton of options that you can bring to your event–everything from a cookie dough buffet (try it with ice cream…yum!) to cookie dough pops to custom cookie dough jars for favors. If you’re looking for a unique dessert or favor idea, Lindsay is your girl!

Interview with The Cookie Jar DC | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in MD, DC & VA

Why did you start The Cookie Jar DC?

Since I graduated college in 2009, I’ve worked in marketing, communications, and fundraising for a nonprofit and then a DC-based startup. Back in December of last year, I was just looking for something fulfilling to do outside of my day job, which wasn’t doing it for me. I’m actually not a baker and I don’t particularly love to cook, but I LOVE food, especially desserts. I wanted to play around with something that was fun and unique. Something I loved but couldn’t really find anywhere. I love cookies, so I started there. Like a lightbulb, the idea of making edible cookie dough came to me. Knowing my personality, a hobby can’t stay a hobby for long. I started selling it at apartment buildings, and people were digging it. So I signed up for a commercial kitchen, and one thing led to another…a business was born!

Interview with The Cookie Jar DC | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in MD, DC & VA

What’s your favorite part of what you do?

While everyone is different and you can’t make everyone happy all the time, there are certain things that just click. I love finding those things (usually from customer feedback) and then executing on them. For example, I received a lot of feedback in the very beginning when I started The Cookie Jar DC that people wanted the cookie dough delivered to them. As a result, you can now order cookie dough on UberEATS 5-7 nights a week.

What’s your pop color–that something special that makes you, you?

I know who I am from the inside out and I’m confident in that, but I’m also self-aware and I recognize when I need feedback or advice. This has manifested many times in my business. I often have very strong opinions about The Cookie Jar DC, from big things like where I want the company to go to more detailed (and arguably minute) things like what kind of spoons I want. But I’m always open to suggestions and feedback from others because I know I don’t have all the answers.

Interview with The Cookie Jar DC | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in MD, DC & VA

What’s your favorite moment of a Bar or Bat Mitzvah?

I love hearing the Bar/Bat Mitzvah chant their Torah portion. You’ll see teens who would be so embarrassed to sing in front of their friends or family, and there they are chanting in front of the entire congregation.

What questions should parents ask someone in your field?

For cookie dough specifically, parents should make sure the product is safe. We don’t use eggs, and we also use a heat treated flour. This makes the product 100% safe to consume raw.

Want to learn more about The Cookie Jar DC? Visit her website,  FacebookTwitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

Creating a Realistic Bar Mitzvah Budget

How much will your Bar or Bat Mitzvah Budget be? Estimate based on the average cost of a large event in your area. | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in MD, DC & VAAs I speak with more and more families, I’ve found that most people start their Mitzvah planning without a clear sense of what events cost or how much they’ll actually wind up spending. It’s one thing to throw out an arbitrary number that you’d like to stay within, but it’s another thing to actually understand how your Bar Mitzvah budget will break down. Anytime you’re hosting a party for around 100 people, costs will begin to add up quickly, simply because of the amount of stuff (from food to chairs to favors) needed. There is no such thing as a Mitzvah premium! In this article, we’ll focus specifically on the costs for a typical afternoon or evening party.

We’ve discussed catering costs, but what about the rest of the costs associated with your event? Your final cost, of course, depends on a lot of different factors that can vary based on the number of guests attend, the time of day, the time of year, the experience and reputation of the vendor, and the list goes on. In this article, we’ll go through the standard expenses and price points for the Washington DC-area (which includes the areas where most of my clients reside: Bethesda, Potomac, Rockville, Gaithersburg, Silver Spring, Arlington, McLean, Falls Church, Alexandria, Fairfax…).

Please note that while you certainly may be able to find vendors that are less expensive than the ranges I suggest, it is absolutely true that you get what you pay for. Vendors with experience and training, proper equipment and backup equipment, as well as liability insurance and strong contracts cost money. I always want my clients to have a reasonable expectation of how much money they’re going to spend. Of course, you can have an amazing event at any budget, but it’s tough breaking the news to a family that the event they want is not in their price point. Going into the process with a solid understanding of how much events in your area cost is key.

Parents often come to me saying that they don’t want to plan a wedding for their child, but any large event with professional vendors is going to come with a price tag. The best way to get a sense of costs for a large event is to go to costofwedding.com. While it is not an apples to apples comparison to Mitzvahs, it will give you a frame of reference since all large events have similar components. Let’s start with an example of Zip Code 20817 which is Bethesda, MD. According to this website, the average cost is between $40,362 and $67,270. They also break it down by number of guests, because adding a single guest could add between $117 and $143 to the overall cost of your event.

Number of guests less than 50: $16,869 – $28,115

Number of guests between 50 and 100: $25,687 – $42,812

Number of guests between 100 and 200: $41,023 – $68,372

Number of guests between 200 and 300: $52,908 – $88,180

Number of guests more than 300: $102,366 – $170,610

How much am I going to spend in each category?

Here is the breakdown for by category for wedding spending. Below, I’ll break down areas where I see there being a major difference in price between weddings and mitzvahs.

Average Cost of Wedding vs. Bar Mitzvah Cost in the DC-metro area | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

Again, referencing this handy website, here is a chart of expected wedding costs.

Attire & Accessories

You’ll likely spend less than the estimated $2,711 for a wedding (which includes a wedding dress and alterations and a tuxedo/suit and alteration). However, keep in mind that your numbers probably include clothes for mom, dad, Mitzvah child and siblings and any alterations. Plus, if you’re having an evening party, you’ll often want to do an outfit change which adds in a second outfit for everyone.

Beauty & Spa

It’s possible that you’ll spend more than the $251 for a wedding. If mom, a Bat Mitzvah daughter and female siblings all want hair service, makeup service and mani/pedis, it could definitely run more. If you have a Bar Mitzvah son, this is spending is probably on target or high.

Entertainment

You’re probably going to spend a bit more than the $4,588 estimated for a wedding for a DJ plus some sort of activity or novelty (Photo Booth, arcade games…). Bar or Bat Mitzvah DJs are more expensive than wedding DJs because they usually include party motivators (dancers), giveaways and an MC. Most Mitzvahs also want something for the kids to do besides just dance and play games which often weddings do not include.

Flowers or Decorations

Decor prices can vary wildly depending on how elaborate you’re planning to go with the decoration. The $2,885 budgeted for a wedding is probably a good first estimate, but your pricing could be a lot less if you do a lot of DIY or a lot more if you hire an event production company. Surprisingly, basic floral centerpieces are not as expensive as you’d think and you could easily spend more on elaborate non-floral centerpieces than floral centerpieces.

Gifts & Favors

For a wedding, $1,276 is the estimate for gifts and favors and that’s a little low. This pricing includes tips for vendors and favors for guests. Since you’ll likely have more expensive favors than a wedding (shirts, sweatpants, etc.) plus tips for excellent service from your vendors, you’ll likely spend more in this area.

Invitations & Print Materials

The invitations and print materials estimate of $1,590 is a good starting point. Often B’nai Mitzvah invitations have more inserts than weddings and you’ll still need to account for save the dates, postage, menus, table numbers, escort or place cards and thank you cards. You can certainly save here if you do e-invites or have people RSVP to an email address, which is becoming more common.

Jewelry

Finally some savings! You will definitely spend less than $7,014 on jewelry because you are not purchasing engagement rings or wedding bands.

Photography & Video

If you’re planning on both a photographer and videographer $6,163 is probably right on target. However, if amazing photography is important to you, you could easily spend this much on just a photographer without even including an album. This is an area where price can vary considerably and where you will definitely get what you pay for.

Planner/Consultant

My rates for partial planning are right around the average of $4,087 for a wedding. However, if you’re looking for full service planning, you’ll pay more or just month of coordination, you’ll pay less.

Venue, Catering & Rentals

The number for an event venue, catering and rentals at $23,251 seems pretty spot on. Venue rental costs often start at a few thousand dollars then factor in food, drinks, waiters and bartenders, table linens and dishes, and you’re close to that number. If you need to rent chairs or tables, this number can get significantly higher. I find that people are often surprised by how much catering costs are and I explained why in this post.

Conclusion/Disclaimer

Note that these pricing estimates are just that, estimates. Your family can spend more or less than this depending on a variety of factors, some of which are outlined above. This article is meant to paint a realistic picture of how much event-related expenses are and is in no way a guarantee or promise about how much you will spend on your event.

You can have a beautiful event at any price point, but hosting an event is expensive, especially if you want all of the bells and whistles. There are always creative ways to save, but going into planning with a realistic idea of what things cost is key.

Want to plan an amazing event that fits your budget? Contact me for a complimentary consultation.

Pop Color Vendor: A Speech to Remember

I’m so excited to share a new blog feature with you today. A few times a month, I’ll be interviewing vendors who work with Mitzvah families. You’ll get to know the vendors and their businesses a bit better which will help you plan the best event possible. Everyone wins!

A Speech To Remember | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in MD, DC & VA

For our first vendor, I’d like to introduce Holly Blum, The Word Whisperer at A Speech To Remember. Holly is the perfect vendor for anyone who is struggling with what to say at any point during the Bar or Bat Mitzvah ceremony or party. She can help with candle lighting ceremonies, toasts, speeches from the bima — basically any time you or your child will need to speak in front of a group, but have no idea what to say! Holly truly has a way with words and I’m so excited to share her thoughts with you.

A Speech To Remember | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in MD, DC & VA

Why did you start A Speech to Remember?

After a long career in public relations, I was looking for a more creative outlet for my writing.  In my personal life, I’ve relished every opportunity I’ve had to express how I feel about the people who matter most in my life.  In fact, the speech I gave at my brother’s wedding was so positively received that I started to think about how I could help other people find those “just right words” for their biggest moments. And the idea for A Speech To Remember took form.

What’s your favorite part of what you do?

I love hearing about my clients’ lives and transforming their own thoughts and ideas into words that will be remembered.  As the Word Whisperer, my job is to make the final product sound like they wrote it themselves.  I love this challenge of writing in someone else’s voice. This is true of all Mitzvah-related speeches, whether they are on the bima, during the party or as part of the candle lighting ceremony.

What’s your pop color–that something special that makes you, you?

I like to think that I have mastered the art of balancing heartfelt and humor. People joke that I should have been a Hallmark Card writer given my ability to express my deepest emotions. At the same time, I have a sarcastic, witty side to me that can make people laugh when they need to most.

What’s your favorite moment of a Bar or Bat Mitzvah?

A Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a true culmination of a twelve or thirteen-year journey for a child and his/her family. When a Mom or Dad takes the microphone to express how they feel about their son or daughter I love to watch the raw display of emotion on the parents’ face and how special the child feels listening to his/her parents’ words.

What questions should parents ask someone in your field?

I encourage parents to think of me in a similar way they would if hiring a party planner to oversee the event, a stylist to help with wardrobe selection, or a photographer to tell the story of their celebration.  Ask me about how I gather information and get to know you and your family.  Ask me about the writing process and how I make sure that anything you say sounds authentic to you. The speech and candle lighting ceremony are important moments of the celebration, but they are often left until the last minute.  With my expertise and guidance, my clients find that their speeches shine just as brightly as other aspects of the celebration.

A Speech To Remember | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in MD, DC & VA

Need Holly’s help? Visit her website or Facebook to get in contact with her.

Pop Color Events Around the Internet

Pop Color Events Press | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

Despite the summer being a slow season for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, it’s been a busy few months for Pop Color Events! I’m thrilled to have my work featured on some incredible blogs and even more excited to share details about it with all of you. It’s so gratifying to have all of the hard work I’ve done be out there for all to see!

Pop Color Events featured on Mitzvah Market

Mitzvah Market

Mitzvah Market is such an awesome place to visit for everything related to planning your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration. I often recommend it as a resource to clients and was so excited to hear that they were interested in publishing Talia’s Floral and Art Bat Mitzvah.

Pop Color Events featured on The Mitzvah Bowl

The Mitzvah Bowl

The Mitzvah Bowl is a helpful source for all sorts of Mitzvah projects to keep the Bar and Bat Mitzvah experience focused on what is really important–giving back. Since Lilly’s Bat Mitzvah had so many thoughtful, Mitzvah-related components, it was a perfect fit to be published on their blog.

Pop Color Events Featured on All Seated Blog

All Seated Blog

All Seated is what I use to create amazing, to-scale floor plans for my clients. It’s such a great (and free!) website, so when they put out a call for contributors I jumped at the opportunity to give back to them. I wrote a post on Mitzvah Seating Ideas to talk through some of the unique challenges in seating both adult and kid guests at Bar and Bat Mitzvah parties.

Pop Color Events Featured on Kara's Party Ideas

Kara’s Party Ideas

Kara’s Party Ideas is one of the most comprehensive decor resources for all sorts of parties from bridal showers to birthday parties and everything in between. They feature such beautiful events that I was honored to have Talia’s floral and art Bat Mitzvah be accepted to be published.

What to see your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah on a blog? Contact Pop Color Events!

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