Month: June 2017

Mitzvah Transportation

Do you need to provide transportation for kids or out of town guests for your child's Bar or Bat Mitzvah party? Charter bus, minibus, school bus, rideshare? | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

A nice, but optional service to provide for your Mitzvah guests is transportation. There are two distinct groups that may need transportation assistance–kids and out of town guests.

Transportation for kids

If you’re having an afternoon party immediately following the service at a different location, you’ll definitely need to figure out a way to get kids to the party. If you’re having a small number of kids, you may be able to arrange carpools among your friends and family. However, if you have a large number of kids, I recommend a yellow school bus. It’s the most cost-effective way to transport a large number of kids.

I’ve also had families whose party location is a longer drive provide bus transportation for their child’s friends. The bus departs from a central location where parents drop off and pick up. This is definitely convenient for parents who have done one too many carpool runs!

Transportation for out of town guests

When you have a lot of guests who are coming from out of town and who may not have cars, it is a welcoming touch to provide transportation. Before you make any arrangements, check with your hotel to see if they are able to offer transportation for your guests. If not, there are a few options depending on how many guests will need a ride.

First, charter or coach buses provide transportation for a large number of guests–up to 61! Some even have restrooms on board.

A mini bus is more intimate and can be more cost effective if it is able to run in a loop to take multiple trips. Mini buses vary in size and can hold as few as 14 guests or as many as 38.

Finally, if your guests are tech savvy, ridesharing is the way to go. You can set up a code on Uber which will allow them to get their own transportation at a time that works for them. You can set a cap of how much you want to pay for each ride and for how many rides, so you can either offer a discount or pay for the full price of the rides for each guest. Uber sends you a card with a special code that you can customize (make the code your child’s name or the theme for the weekend) and put it in the hotel welcome bags.

Need help figuring out a transportation plan? Pop Color Events can help!

3 Ways to Keep the Mitzvah in Your Child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah

Advice for meaningful Mitzvah Projects for your child's Bar or Bat Mitzvah | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

It’s never been more evident that our world is broken. As Jews it is our duty to perform acts of Tikkun Olam, repairing the world. Many congregations have a Mitzvah project requirement as part of the Bar or Bat Mitzvah process and it is such an important way to show your child(ren) that they have the power to make a difference. Instead of looking as a Mitzvah project as another thing to check off as part of the process, use it to inspire your child to make the world a better place. How do you do that?

Make the Mitzvah project meaningful for your child

Ask yourself, what is important to your child? A great way to start that conversation is to use current events as a springboard to find a way to help. Current issues like the refugee crisis, the environment or marginalized groups, could spark involvement with non-profits with expertise in those areas. Or connect this activity to your child’s interests–could they work with animals, help with sports for a Special Olympics team…?

Consider the impact of their Mitzvah Project

Volunteering somewhere once may fulfill a requirement, but has it really made a difference in your community or the world? Think big. Then think bigger. Sustained involvement and education on the issue will make the Mitzvah project more meaningful for your child and more likely to make a difference.

Fundraising has a direct influence on the ability of an organization to fulfill its mission, but it’s also important to see where the money your child has raised or the resources that your child collected are going. It goes beyond just giving tzedakah to actually learning how the money will be used and understanding why it is important.

Make helping others a regular occurrence

Now that your child is becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, they should make doing Mitzvah a regular part of their lives. This is something that you, as the parent, can help embody. Yes, it’s another commitment, but what is more important than showing your child that they can make a difference and that little steps can make a big impact

Still stuck?

Some great resources are your Rabbi or Cantor, Mitzvah Bowl, Charity Navigator and good ol’ Google. There are so many worthwhile organizations in every community that could benefit from your child’s time, talents or fundraising. Now go forth and Mitzvah!

Still need help? Contact me!

Which Mitzvah venue is right for you?

Need a Mitzvah venue? The most common types include: hotels, event venues with and without onsite caterers, synagogue social halls, restaurants and country clubs. | Pop Color Events | Adding a pop of color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

One of the first decisions you’ll have to make about when planning a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is the venue. The Mitzvah venue sets the tone for your event and can determine your overall budget. Since food and beverage will likely make up about 50% of the budget, the type of venue and whether or not they allow you to bring in your own cater definitely makes a difference. In my experience, here are the most common types of Mitzvah venues in the DC-area.

Hotel

This is your typical Hyatt, Marriott, Hilton, etc. These are a super easy Mitzvah venue to use because they really are a one stop shop. Your out of town guests can stay there. You can host a Sunday brunch there. The more you use the hotel for, the more negotiating power you’ll have. Often the room rental fee will be waived with a certain food and beverage minimum or a certain number of guest rooms. The prices for a hotel event can vary wildly depending on the location, time of year and time of day.

Event Venue with Onsite Caterers

These include venues like AMP at Strathmore, Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club, and the Newseum, where you are required to use their preferred caterer. These venues often have a ton of character, so you may need to decorate less. Depending on the Mitzvah venue, there may be a limited menu selection or there may be a full-service caterer who can make anything you’d like. There may be a rental fee in addition to a food and beverage minimum.

Event Venue without Onsite Caterers

These include event venues like Rock Creek Mansion, The Ballroom and VisArts. You can bring in your own caterer (though some have a preferred list that you must select from), so you’ll have much more flexibility with the type of food you’ll serve. If you select your own caterer, you can choose one who allows you to provide your own alcohol, which can be a huge cost saving. These venues often have a ton of character, so you may need to decorate less. Keep in mind that there are still rental fees and you still have to pay catering costs on top of that.

Synagogue Social Hall

This is usually one of the most convenient Mitzvah venue options, but also can be a lot of work. Your guests already know where it is and they’ll have been there already. However, there may be restrictions on the types of food you can serve (ie Kosher or Kosher style) or specific caterers you must use. Frequently these spaces need a lot of decor help, as well.

Restaurant

These include venues like 4935 Bar and Kitchen and Sequoia. They will have amazing food, but high food and beverage minimums. They need to make up for the lost revenue of a Saturday night, so your costs can be very high. Sometimes the space is less flexible because it was designed as a restaurant/bar, not an event venue.

Country Clubs

These include local venues like Congressional Country Club or Kenwood Country Club. They have beautiful grounds and tons of places to take family photos. However, generally you must be a member or have a member host you to utilize their space. You must use their in-house catering and often menus can be somewhat limited.

Need help finding Mitzvah venues? Pop Color Events can help!

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