Shoshana’s Blue and Silver Bat Mitzvah at Rock Creek Mansion

I loved collaborating with Shoshana’s family on her blue and silver Bat Mitzvah party at Rock Creek Mansion in Bethesda. Shoshi has one request–sparkle! And boy did her party sparkle from start to finish!

Shoshana's blue and silver sparkle Bat Mitzvah party at Rock Creek Mansion in Bethesda. | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in MD, DC & VA. | Photo by A La Mode Photography

Adult escort cards glittered and were accented with photos of Shoshana throughout the years.

Adult escort cards and picture frames at Shoshana's blue and silver sparkle Bat Mitzvah party at Rock Creek Mansion in Bethesda. | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in MD, DC & VA. | Photo by A La Mode Photography

Adult centerpieces had some serious bling!

Floating candle and bling centerpieces Shoshana's blue and silver sparkle Bat Mitzvah party at Rock Creek Mansion in Bethesda. | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in MD, DC & VA. | Photo by A La Mode Photography

The whole room sparkled with these beautiful sequinned linens.

Long tables with sequined linens and tulle runner at Shoshana's blue and silver sparkle Bat Mitzvah party at Rock Creek Mansion in Bethesda. | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in MD, DC & VA. | Photo by A La Mode Photography

Guests ended their night with a sweet treat–edible cookie dough jars with Shoshana’s logo on them.

Edible cookie dough jar favors at Shoshana's blue and silver sparkle Bat Mitzvah party at Rock Creek Mansion in Bethesda. | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in MD, DC & VA. | Photo by A La Mode Photography

It was a pleasure to work with this family for Shoshana’s Bat Mitzvah party and they were pretty happy too:

Brynne was very helpful at keeping us organized, provided lots of great ideas and information about venues, vendors, tipping, etc., and helped us plan an event that everyone (both adults and kids) enjoyed.
-Shoshana’s Mom

Thanks to the awesome vendors who helped make it happen and mazel tov to Shoshana and her family!

Photographer:  A La Mode Photography
Venue: Rock Creek Mansion (Bethesda, Maryland)
Caterer: Catering by Seasons
Entertainment: Unique Dreams
Green Screen/Lounge/Centerpieces: Electric Events DC
Logo/Print Materials: Cutie Patootie Creations
Favors: The Cookie Jar DC

10 Questions to Ask Before You Book Book a Photo Booth

10 questions to ask to ensure you get the right photo booth for your Bar or Bat Mitzvah party | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD and VA

A photo booth is a must-have for your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah because when done right, they’re instant crowd pleasers. They give guests all the joy of a good selfie, with the added benefit of perfect lighting, a stylish backdrop, and a free-pass for the person with the longest reach to finally try a pose other than arm-awkwardly-outstretched-in-space. What’s more, photo booths help party-goers connect in fun and spontaneous ways, and send them home with share-worthy party favors they’ll truly want to keep.

But with so many photo booth companies out there, how do you know you’re booking the right one? Websites, Facebook pages, and Instagram feeds are all great, but nothing beats a quick conversation with a potential vendor. These 10 questions will help ensure that you book the very best booth for your event.

1. Is your photo booth closed or open-air?

Broadly speaking, there are two categories of photo booths out there: closed and open-air. The first step on your journey to photo booth perfection is finding a vendor who has the style of booth you’re looking for.

Closed booths are the traditional box-style, with all elements contained within an enclosed compartment. Open-air booths, on the other hand, are made up of free-standing components, generally including a camera, a printer, and a backdrop. Closed booths offer more privacy and a smaller footprint; open-air booths offer versatility. It’s this versatility that’s made open-air booths so popular in recent years.

Open-air booths can be customized to complement any style or theme. Because you’re working outside the box, you can incorporate backdrops that range from a green screen to simple and chic curtains of color or pattern to bespoke three-dimensional installations. The free-form style of open-air booths also means that you can fit far more people in each frame than you can in a closed booth. 10 is easy, 20 isn’t unheard of. 

2. What type of images does your photo booth produce?

They may be called photo booths, but booths these days can do far more than just take photos. Select your own backgrounds (a la green screen), GIFs, Boomerangs, videos, and slo-mo videos all are possible depending on the booth you select. If you want to offer one of these features at your event, make sure the booth you choose can deliver, and ask for examples. Nothing tells you about the quality of a booth like samples of previous work.

Photo booth with step and repeat | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA | Photo by A La Mode Photograpy

3. Is your booth Wi-Fi enabled?

Do you want guests to be able to instantly text, email, Facebook or Tweet their photos? If so, make sure you’re choosing a booth that is Wi-Fi enabled. But take caution: a Wi-Fi enabled booth is only one piece of the puzzle. Does your venue have Wi-Fi? If not, or if you don’t know, make sure that the photo booth vendor you choose is able to provide their own.

4. What kind of camera, printer and lighting do you use?

The type of camera, printer, and lighting a booth uses are what will determine the quality of the photos you get. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be an expert or understand all of the whys, you just need to know what to look for.

Below are the answers you want to hear from your photo booth vendor. If a vendor answers “I’m not sure” to the what-kind-of-equipment-do-you-use question, interview over. Don’t hire someone who doesn’t know their booth inside and out.

  • Camera: DSLR. Simple as that.
  • Printer: Dye-sublimation, not Ink Jet. They’re faster and the prints come out dry to the touch.
  • Lighting: Strobe with some kind of modeling light. The strobe will overpower ambient light, freeze action, and (along with the right camera settings) give you the best color. The modeling light will give you and your guests light to see by between photos.

5. Do you provide booth attendants and how many?

“Yes” is the only acceptable answer to this question and 1-2 attendants is standard. From crowd control, to prop management, to troubleshooting, booth attendants are key to photo booth success. Make sure your vendor provides a trained operator who’s there to help guests enjoy their booth experience and handle any hiccups.

Luau Photo booth Props | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA | Photo by Powell Woulfe Photography

6. Do you provide props? What kind?

If you want to include props in your photo booth fun, it’s important to consider a vendor’s approach before you book. Prop selection and quality vary widely, so make sure to ask each vendor you interview about their take.

Some vendors are either prop-less or encourage clients to bring their own. This can be fun or daunting, depending on who you are, and either way, can add considerable cost to your budget. Other vendors lean towards 2D paper props, while still others towards 3D objects. Some provide standard prop selections, some curated, others completely customized. All these variables mean that you can end up with anything from a grab-bag of mustaches and oversized glasses, to a theme-oriented selection that helps tell the unique story of your event.  Heck, there are even some photo booths that allow you to add digital props and after effects on a touchscreen after your photo is taken!

Green Screen Print Out with Logo | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA | Photo by Sweet Dreams Studios

7. What does a typical set up look like?

There are times when a picture really is worth a thousand words. This is one of those times. Ask the vendors you interview for a picture of a typical event setup. Words like “professional,” “elegant,” and “modern” mean different things to different people; by checking out a photo of a vendor’s setup, you’ll be able to judge for yourself and decide if their style suits.

8. How much space do you need?

Different booths, different setups, different space requirements. Will the booth you’re considering fit in your venue and in the location you envisioned? It’s important to find out the setup dimensions for each booth you vet, including height.  

If you’re planning an outdoor event, make sure to ask about any special requirements a vendor may have. As with other types of electronic equipment, photo booths need to remain within a specific temperature range to work properly and must be protected from the elements. Many booth operators require some form of overhead covering and a solid backing behind backdrops since direct sunlight is not great for photos and backdrops can become giant sails in the wind. 

9. Are you insured?

Here’s another question where “yes” is the only answer you want to hear. Some venues require that all vendors are insured, but even if yours doesn’t, it’s best for everyone if they are. Unlikely as it may seem, accidents happen, and life is a whole lot easier when people are covered.

10. What’s included in your packages?

In the land of photo booths, it’s impossible to judge value on price alone. Make sure to find out what services are included in the price of the package you’re considering, and what additional services you’re able to add on. Here are a couple of key categories to check.

  • Time: How many hours of booth time are included? How much does it cost to add additional hours? If your event is running long, can you add time on the day of the event? 
  • Delivery and Set Up: Delivery and set up are usually included, but different vendors offer different travel and set up windows that may impact logistical planning. What service area is included? What’s the cost for additional mileage? Is there a fee for early setup?
  • Idle Time: Depending on the flow of your event, you may have a situation where your event start time and booth start time differ. Let’s say you’re hosting an event that kicks off with dinner and speeches, followed by mingling and dancing, all in the same space. You want the photo booth to run for the three hours of mingling and dancing, but need everything set up before guests arrive for dinner. The time between set up completion and booth start time is usually referred to as idle time, and is charged at a lower rate than booth time. If you’re going to have idle time during your event, make sure you understand the vendor’s rates and policies.
  • Prints: Is on-site printing included? How many prints per session are included with your package? Note that unlimited photos and unlimited prints usually aren’t the same thing: unlimited photos means that there’s no cap on the total number of photos you can take during your event time, whereas unlimited prints mean that each person in a given frame is entitled to a printed copy.
  • Digital Files: What type of digital file delivery is included–a thumb drive at the event, an online gallery…? Will your guests be able to download their photos after the event free of charge? What’s the turnaround time? Whether or not you choose a package that includes on-site printing, you and your guests will want the digital files, too. Watching your event’s photos take over social media is the icing on the cake of photo booth fun. 
  • GIFs, Videos, Boomerang, and Filters: Different booths offer different options when it comes to the images they produce. If you’d like to have a GIF, video, Boomerang, or filter for your event, find out what’s possible and what’s included. As always, ask to see some examples to make sure the quality meets your expectations.
  • Props: Props are a big part of what spark the photo booth fun. Are props included? What type? How big of a selection? Are custom props available? These are the questions you’ll want to ask.
  • Backdrops As with props, backdrop qualities vary greatly. What kind of backdrops are included? What are the upgrade options? If you’re looking for a custom backdrop, make sure to discuss your vision with the vendor and get a quote.
  • Green screens: How many backgrounds can your guests select from? Can you see some options in advance?
  • Wi-Fi and Sharing: Not all booths are Wi-Fi enabled, and those that are tend to package these services differently. If you want guests to have instant digital access, get the ins and outs of what the vendor offers.
  • Custom Photo Templates: Many photo booth vendors offer custom template designs to match the style of an event. Find out if this service is included. People love taking home their photo booth prints, especially when they show off a custom design rather than a vendor’s logo. Or can you add your event’s logo?
  • Upgrades: From custom screens to custom step and repeat backgrounds to photo guestbooks, photo booth companies offer all types of upgrades to help their clients build the perfect package. If you have a special request, make sure to get a quote up front.

Green Screen with props | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA | Photo by Sweet Dreams Studios

In conclusion

With these 10 questions, you’re well on your way to picking the perfect booth for your next event. Your guests will thank you. The Internet will likely thank you, too. Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back and get ready to have some fun!

ABOUT SNAPBASH

SNAPBASH is a made-to-measure photobooth company serving the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. Every event tells a story and there’s nothing we love more than bringing those stories to life. We offer event-centered props, custom designed photo templates, branded screens, dreamy backdrops, snazzy takeaways, instant sharing, and the prettiest open-air booths around. No two events are exactly alike, and that’s just the way we like it.

Want to bring SNAPBASH to your next event? Let’s talk! Email us at hello@snap-bash.com to book and follow us on Instagram to keep tabs on special offers.

Pop Color Vendor: Susan Hornyak Photography

Susan Hornyak, owner of Susan Hornyak Photography, is one of my favorite ladies to lunch with, plus she is such a talented photographer. My clients love her laid back, calming vibe, not to mention her stunning photos! She is a lady of few words because her photographs speak for themselves. I’ll leave it to her to tell you a little bit more about herself.

Susan Hornyak Photography Logo
How did you get started in your business?

I was always an avid photographer who carried a camera everywhere.  In 1992 a friend got married and asked me to do the photography.  I loved it and told everyone I knew about it.  I started getting word of mouth referrals.  Most of my first weddings were casual but as I got requests for more complex jobs I worked with a few of the big photographers in town to learn lighting and everything I could about the business.  I went full-time in 1996 and started incorporating mitzvahs, portrait and corporate work into my business.

Pop Color Events interviews Susan Hornyak of Susan Hornyak Photography about Mitzvah photography, questions to ask your photographer and more. | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

What’s your favorite part of what you do?

I love interacting with people.  Some of my clients and fellow vendors have become some of my closest friends.

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

My personality (I hope).  Also, I try to be as easy to work with and flexible as possible.

Pop Color Events interviews Susan Hornyak of Susan Hornyak Photography about Mitzvah photography, questions to ask your photographer and more. | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA
What’s your favorite moment of a Bar or Bat Mitzvah?

I love both the quiet time to take portraits on the day other than the party.  I also love a raging party when all the day glow favors come out.

Pop Color Events interviews Susan Hornyak of Susan Hornyak Photography about Mitzvah photography, questions to ask your photographer and more. | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA
What questions should parents ask someone in your field?

They should ask to see samples of other jobs to see if they like your photography style.  You should also sit down together and see if your personalities mesh.  Not every vendor is a fit for every client.

Need an experienced photographer for your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah? Check out Susan Hornyak Photography’s website or see her most recent work (and adorable dog photos!) on her Instagram.

Beverages on Consumption vs. Open Bar

 Should you choose open bar or beverage on consumption for your Bar or Bat Mitzvah? Which makes the most sense and why? | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs in MD, DC & VA

We’ve discussed different beverage options for your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah, but the next question is always should I do an open bar or beverages on consumption? Providing your own alcohol is usually the most cost-effective option, but is not always permitted. In this article, we assume it is not an option.

The open bar or beverages on consumption is a tricky question, and unfortunately, there is no one right answer since you can’t predict how much your guests will drink. The industry rule of thumb is two drinks per person for the cocktail hour then one drink per person per hour for the remainder of the party. I know this sounds like a lot to most people, but keep in mind that despite getting those drinks from the bar, you may not actually consume the entire drink. You put down the drink and forget about it, the drink gets cleared before you’re finished, etc.

Their beverage consumption may vary based on a variety of factors listed below.

Start time

Is it an evening or afternoon party? People are less likely to drink heavily in the afternoon. Some venues may offer a different price for open bar beverage packages because of this.

Drink sign at Jake's Pinstripes Georgetown DC Red and Black Hockey-themed Bar Mitzvah Party | Pop Color Events | Adding a pop of color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA | Photo by Susan Hornyak Photography

Your Guests

You know your guests best, so you are the only one who can answer the question of whether or not they are big drinkers and how many are big drinkers. Go through your guest list and add a column to estimate the number of drinks each guest will have. Some people have told me that their Jewish guests drink less, but I don’t know if that is actually true.

Cost of drinks

The final decision about whether to do open bar or beverage on consumption comes down to math. How much does a glass of beer, wine, mixed drinks or soda cost each? How many drinks do you reasonably think your guests will drink? Multiply. What is the number of drinks per guest where it makes sense to pay for a package vs. on consumption? When considering the cost of drinks, also keep in mind what is included in the open bar package–does it include wine service at the tables, hard liquor, etc.?

Graffiti Bar at a midnight blue and lavender urban lounge and club-themed B'nai Mitzvah party for twins in Beltsville, Maryland | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

Advice

If you want to move forward with beverages on consumption check with your caterer to see if you are able to set a limit and once it is reached, either the bar will close or you will reauthorize to spend more.

In Conclusion

Doing beverages on consumption is risky, since you can’t predict how much guests will drink or how quickly will the waitstaff clear drinks. However, you know your guests best. After assessing your guest list and doing the math, you can decide what makes the most financial sense.

Jake’s Hockey Bar Mitzvah at Pinstripes Georgetown, Washington DC

I loved working with Jake and his family for his hockey-themed Bar Mitzvah Party at Pinstripes Georgetown. They are my favorite type of clients–they knew what they wanted, they appreciated my help and guidance and most of all, they wanted to have a really, really fun party. The venue was the perfect location for his low-key, Labor Day Bar Mitzvah celebration.

Jake's Pinstripes Georgetown DC Red and Black Bar Mitzvah Party | Pop Color Events | Adding a pop of color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA | Photo by Susan Hornyak Photography

The evening started with cocktails for the adults and delicious snacks, bowling and bocce for all!

Bocce at Jake's Pinstripes Georgetown DC Red and Black Hockey-themed Bar Mitzvah Party | Pop Color Events | Adding a pop of color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA | Photo by Susan Hornyak Photography

Bowling at Jake's Pinstripes Georgetown DC Red and Black Hockey-themed Bar Mitzvah Party | Pop Color Events | Adding a pop of color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA | Photo by Susan Hornyak Photography

After that, we went upstairs when the real partying began! The room looked stunning with red uplighting and centerpieces featuring lights, hockey sticks, hockey pucks and Jake’s logo. Some tables had hockey skates and others had hockey helmets as part of the centerpiece base. Each table also had a photo of Jake at various ages playing hockey which served as the table number.

Hockey centerpieces at Jake's Pinstripes Georgetown DC Red and Black Hockey-themed Bar Mitzvah Party | Pop Color Events | Adding a pop of color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA | Photo by Susan Hornyak PhotographyHockey centerpieces at Jake's Pinstripes Georgetown DC Red and Black Hockey-themed Bar Mitzvah Party | Pop Color Events | Adding a pop of color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA | Photo by Susan Hornyak Photography

Guests loved the seating chart which was shaped like a hockey ice rink with jerseys on top. The jerseys were removable and served as escort cards, directing guests to their table number.

Hockey rink and jersey seating chart with escort cards at Jake's Pinstripes Georgetown DC Red and Black Hockey-themed Bar Mitzvah Party | Pop Color Events | Adding a pop of color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA | Photo by Susan Hornyak Photography

I always love a good hora and this was one of the funniest ones I’ve ever been part of! With the low ceilings at Pinstripes, one of the guests had the bright idea to take a hockey helmet from a centerpiece and give it to Jake (and the rest of the family) to prevent hora-related head injuries. Hilarious!

Hora at Jake's Pinstripes Georgetown DC Red and Black Hockey-themed Bar Mitzvah Party | Pop Color Events | Adding a pop of color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA | Photo by Susan Hornyak Photography

It was a pleasure to work with this family for Jake’s Bar Mitzvah party and they were pretty happy too:

Brynne is super easy to work with, detail oriented and on top of everything. She is creative and will help you come up with a great theme, find you vendors that work with your personalities, provide the services you want and in your budget. Most importantly, Brynne was someone I could completely trust. I knew she had our best interests in mind when making decisions about the party. Our son had a clear vision of what he wanted and she never tried to convince him to do anything he didn’t want to do- instead she worked with him to provide the perfect party for him. We were impressed with how Brynne handled coordinating with all the vendors in the weeks leading up to the party. I felt super confident that Brynne had everything handled, so I took her advice and just enjoyed every minute of the party. We couldn’t be happier with Brynne and will be using her again for our other son’s bar mitzvah party.

-Jake’s Mom

Thanks to the awesome vendors who helped make it happen and mazel tov to Jake and his family!

Photographer:  Susan Hornyak Photography
Venue: Pinstripes Georgetown (Washington DC)
Entertainment: Unique Dreams
Green Screen: Snap Entertainment
Centerpieces/Lounge: DaVinci
Sign In Board: Sprites Ink
Shirts: Planet Cotton

Pop Color Vendor: Michael Temchine Photography

I love working with Michael Temchine of Michael Temchine Photography and Mitzvahs by Michael. His work is stunning and he has such a way of capturing the special moments of your family’s big day. I know you’ll love him too, so read on for a little bit more about how he became a photographer and why he loves what he does.

 

How did you get started in your business?

For as long as I could remember every I asked for a camera from my parents for Chanukah, or my birthday. My interest in photography grew exponentially in high school leading to my attending the Rochester Institute of Technology for a degree in photojournalism. At the final class my fellow future photojournalists and I talked about what we were all going to do. I said, “I don’t know what exactly I am going to do, but I do know I am never going to freelance or shoot weddings.”

Boy was I wrong. I just did not know it yet.

Upon graduation, I began my photojournalism career covering politics then freelanced for many publications specializing in features (culture, life, community, and portraiture). Along with many photojournalists, my desire was to use photography to change the world; to have an impact on how the public sees and interacts with each other.

So how did I become that which I swore I would never become, a wedding and mitzvah photographer? All it required was a change of perspective on what “the world” meant.

The focus of my photography is now on the individual world of each family I work with. Photographing their life’s most important moments could not be more consequential; with the impact lasting generations. I love being able to tell your stories. I love being able to show you, you with real moments – large and small.

Evan's bar mitzvah at Oheb Shalom in Baltimore, MD by Michael Temchine Photography

What’s your favorite part of what you do?

A photojournalist friend of mine once told me when I was starting out that “… all stories are about people.” The people I meet and photograph will always be my favorite part. I love the interactions, relationships, and dynamics of people coming together.

I love finding those little moments that nobody else sees and capturing it for eternity. I love that a still image never gets older. Your bar, or bat, mitzvah kid will always be 13 in that photo even when you display it at their wedding, or to their grandchildren. You never get older in a photo and these are precious times in their lives.

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

What makes me, me is that I know that it is never about me. This is your mitzvah, not mine. These are your kids and friends, not mine. My job is to tell your story, not mine. I am a keen observer and a discreet photographer that does not interject, unnecessarily, myself into the event.

Whether it is portraiture or the party I am always looking for moments of personality to peek through. When you look through photos that I have taken they should ring true and not staged.

I see the moments that tell your story. That is my strength.

Sarah's bat mitzvah at Har Shalom in Potomac, MD. by Michael Temchine Photography

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

I don’t have a favorite moment, per se, what I have is a favorite overall feeling from the bar and bat mitzvah kid. What I love is to see the kid, the honoree, the star of the day, exuberant with joy at their party. I love seeing that the party they are attending is right for them. Unfortunately, I have been to parties that were not designed for the kid, where it is clear that they would rather be anywhere but there. Sometimes the party seems to be for everybody else, or the parents, and what the kid wants is lost.  That is why when I photograph parties where the kid has been involved, and listened to, are always fantastic.

Washington Hebrew Congregation bat mitzvah Washington D.C. portraits reform Jewish by Michael Temchine Photography

What questions should parents ask someone in your field?

  1. What is your approach to photography? Is it Photojournalistic/Documentary vs Traditional?
  2. Are you the photographer that will be there for the portraits and party?
  3. Do you have business/liability insurance?
  4. How do you handle equipment failure? (It happens and if the photographer does not have backups for their equipment then you are potentially without a photographer)
  5. What happens if we book you and you can’t make it? What are the reasons this might happen?
  6. How many years have you been a professional photographer? Do you make your living full-time as a photographer or is this a side gig/hobby?
  7. BONUS: What questions should parents NOT ask someone in your field?
    Have you photographed at X venue before?

If you are only looking at professionals especially trained photojournalists, then the venue does not matter. Having been someplace before does not mean the photographer will have any special inside knowledge over another photographer. I have photographed bnai mitzvah and multiple weddings for the same families, sometimes at the same venues, and each time the photos were completely different. In these cases, the venues may be the same, and many of the people are the same. What is different is that the honoree is different, the time is different, so the energy and event is necessarily different. Same people, same place, different feel.

Need an experienced photojournalist for your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah? Check out Michael Temchine Photography or see his most recent work on Facebook or Instagram.

Beverage Options for Bar and Bat Mitzvahs

Beverage packages, open bar, on consumption, specialty cocktails and kids drinks, oh my! Which will you select for your Bar or Bat Mitzvah? | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

There are two ways that caterers or venues with onsite beverage service can do bar service–either a package or on consumption. Then there are a few insider secrets to ask about — specialty cocktails or partial beverages on consumption.

Beverage Package/Open Bar

A beverage package or an open bar is a fixed cost per adult for the duration of the party for unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage consumption. Beverage packages can vary wildly from just including beer and wine to top-shelf alcohol. It nearly always also includes non-alcoholic beverages like soda, juice, and water. It is worth asking if there is a less expensive price for an afternoon vs. evening party since guests tend to drink less during the daytime.

Summer Berry Sangria for Camp Color War Bat Mitzvah at Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA | Photo by Greg Land Photography

Beverages on Consumption

Some venues or caterers offer a second option which is where you only pay for what your guests drink. Depending on your guests, this can be a more affordable option but is more complicated for your bartender. Your bartender is serving drinks while also keeping a tally of what has been ordered. I have a distinct feeling that is impossible to prove, that there can be some “fuzzy math” involved in this option. You’d be billed after the event for exactly what your guests have consumed. There are a lot of factors that go into deciding whether an open bar or beverage on consumption is better for your event and I’ll go through that in a later blog post.

Specialty Cocktails

An affordable way to offer some hard liquor, but not have a full, open bar is to have a few specialty cocktails available in addition to beer and wine. This is a fun option to select something that fits with the theme (a dacquari for a tropical theme) or color palette (pink decor with a pink drink!) or come up with a creative name.

Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs | Serving DC, MD & VA | Photo by Paired Images

Partial Beverages on Consumption

If you think the vast majority of your guests will stick to beer and wine, with only a few taking advantage of hard liquor, ask about partial beverages on consumption. Note that most venues are not set up to handle this, but some restaurant venues are. If the bar that your guests will drink from is a permanent fixture (ie, not being set up and taken down for your event only), you may be able to take advantage of this option.

Kids Beverages

Since your kids are obviously not going to be drinking alcohol, there is usually a soda bar price. This may be included in your price for the kid’s meal or it may not. Be sure to check, so you aren’t surprised later!

Beverage Advice and Conclusion

The most cost conscious option is to provide all of your own alcohol, but that may not be allowed. Make sure to confirm exactly what alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included. Is there a specific type of beer you’d like? Prefer Coke over Pepsi? Want to ensure there is lemonade? Can they make a Shirley Temple? If you know you want to drink it, ask!

Not sure what beverage option to choose? Contact Pop Color Events to help!

Pop Color Vendor: Event Video

I’ve really enjoyed working with Adam Nudelman of Event Video. He’s a true pro who will make sure you have a top notch experience plus give you amazing video coverage of your simcha. He also is going through the Mitzvah process right now with his own daughter (it’s this September!), so he gets it!

Here’s Adam to tell you more:

Pop Color Events interviews Adam Nudelman of Event Video about Mitzvah videography, questions to ask about video and more. | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

How did you get started with Event Video?

I was involved in video production at different television stations, and I always wanted to run my own business.  After a while, I was really looking for a more creative and positive outlet for my skills, after working on negative news stories and dealing with the politics of broadcast.  I saw Mitzvahs as a way to create a positive production for families and as a way to establish myself as an independent business away from the corporate structure of many stations.

What is your favorite part of what you do?

My favorite part is delivering the final product and having the family absolutely love it!

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

I do my best to lighten the mood for families during a very stressful time.

What is your favorite moment of a Bar or Bat Mitzvah?

I always get my favorite moments of the video during the Hora.

Pop Color Events interviews Adam Nudelman of Event Video about Mitzvah videography, questions to ask about video and more. | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

What questions should parents ask someone in your field?

Are you going to shoot my event personally? There’s nothing worse than building a rapport with a videographer only to find out that they’ll be sending someone else to video your event.

Need an experienced videographer for your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah? Check out Event Video’s website or see their most recent work on their Facebook page.

Cori and Spencer’s B’nai Mitzvah in Beltsville, MD

I had so much fun working with Cori and Spencer’s family on their B’nai Mitzvah party at Fox Ventures (now closed) in Beltsville, MD. The family was hysterical and kept me laughing and very well fed throughout the planning process! They wanted an urban club/lounge vibe that would be appropriate for both a boy and a girl. We utilized lavender and midnight blue, mixing the soft and feminine with the gritty and more masculine to tie in the personalities of both of the twins. The warehouse venue with black draping also mixed the soft and gritty. The contrast was really cool.

Aren’t they the cutest family? I love how happy they all look in this photo.

Midnight blue and lavender urban lounge and club-themed B'nai Mitzvah party for twins in Beltsville, Maryland | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

The focal point of the room was an 8′ tall DJ booth with Cori and Spencer’s logo suspended from it. It was a major wow factor and guests kept saying that they’d never seen anything like it before.

DJ booth at a midnight blue and lavender urban lounge and club-themed B'nai Mitzvah party for twins in Beltsville, Maryland | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

The DJ booth lent itself to some amazing photos! And it’s a good thing that the DJ was okay with heights!

DJ booth at a midnight blue and lavender urban lounge and club-themed B'nai Mitzvah party for twins in Beltsville, Maryland | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

A fully stocked 12-foot bar covered in graffiti lent itself to the urban club-feel.

Graffiti Bar at a midnight blue and lavender urban lounge and club-themed B'nai Mitzvah party for twins in Beltsville, Maryland | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

A step and repeat tied together all 3 event logos–one for each twin plus a joint logo.

Unique and yummy desserts were a huge hit! Edible cookie dough shots and bites plus liquid nitrogen ice cream kept the crowd coming back for more.

Cookie dough and liquid nitrogen ice cream at midnight blue and lavender urban lounge and club-themed B'nai Mitzvah party for twins in Beltsville, Maryland | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar and Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

Thanks to the awesome vendors who helped make it happen!

Photographer: A La Mode Photography
Venue/Decor: Fox Ventures
Invitations/Logo: Event Prints
Desserts: The Cookie Jar DC, Love N Faith Cafe
Videographer: Event Video
MC/DJ: A-Squad Entertainment
Step and Repeat: ARS Events

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!

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