Mitzvah Planning Tips and Tricks

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.

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!

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!

Need a Hotel Room Block for Your Bar or Bat Mitzvah?

Tips, tricks and questions to ask when reserving a hotel room block for out of town guests at your child's Bar or Bat Mitzvah. | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA
Nowadays many families live far away from extended family and this often requires travel for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration. One way to be a good host is to offer a room block for your out of town guests.

Where to start with your room block

You’ll want to block the hotel room before you send out a save the date (if you’re planning doing one), so you can give guests plenty of time to book their hotel rooms. Generally, this is around a year or so out, but can certainly be closer to the event date if you aren’t planning on sending a save the date. Ideally, the hotel will be convenient to your temple or party venue. If you have a lot of guests who are shomer Shabbat, being closer to the temple is obviously preferable. Sometimes temples or venues have preferred relationships with hotels which may help you get a better rate for your guests, so make sure to ask. Also, if you’re interested in hosting a Sunday brunch at the hotel, this is a good thing to mention to the hotel up front as it also could help with pricing.

When you call the hotel, ask to be connected to the sales office about a room block.

How do I know how many rooms to block?

Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all formula that works in all situations. People can be so variable and you know your guests the best. I recommend looking at your guest list to see who is from out of town and how many of them you realistically think will attend, then block for that number. It really is a guessing game! Some hotels will only allow you to block a certain number of rooms and then will give the block more rooms if you’re getting close to filling it. Definitely check to see the max number of rooms they will allow to be part of your block and confirm that they’ll let you add in more rooms if needed.

Courtesy vs. guaranteed block and cutoff dates

Generally, you’ll need to have at least 10 room nights (which could mean 5 rooms for Friday night and 5 rooms for Saturday night) for them to create a block for you. As far as the rooms, you’ll want to request a courtesy block of rooms vs a guaranteed block of rooms, if possible. This means that you are not financially responsible if not all of the rooms are booked by the cutoff date (the date when the block of rooms will be released to the general population) vs. a guaranteed block, where you’d be required to pay for rooms if not enough guests book.

And speaking of that cutoff date, make sure to communicate it to your guests! Before you sign anything, double check that once they quote you a rate for rooms it is actually a better price than what is being offered online (go to the website for the hotel chain and a site like Travelocity.com). If prices are expensive or you have a lot of guests, you could always have blocks at multiple hotels.

Check with the hotel and nudge those slow relatives to make their reservation before the cutoff.

Bonus Tips

Another thing to keep in mind is if there is anything in it for you.  If you book a certain number of rooms can you get rewards for their guest rewards program or is there a complimentary guest room that your family could use? Is there a possibility of having a complimentary hospitality suite for your guests? Will they waive fees for gift bag distribution (or is it complimentary, to begin with)? These are called concessions and the more you get, the better it is for you!

Need help with negotiating with a hotel? Pop Color Events can help!

Adding social action to your Mitzvah party

Many families include a social action, tzedakah or mitzvah component into their Bar or Bat Mitzvah party. Here are ways to include charity in your celebration. | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

Many families, including a number that I’ve worked with, choose to include some sort of social action, tzedakah or mitzvah component into their party. I love when families really want to focus on the meaning of the Bar or Bat Mitzvah! There are so many different ways to include charity as part of your celebration. Here are a few examples and ideas:

Collect Donations

Lindsey collected book donations from her guests. She included a note in her invitation and asked guests to bring books to donate to a local charity. Boy, were her guests generous!

Book donations Mitzvah project at Lindsey's pink book themed Bat Mitzvah party at DoubleTree Bethesda | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA | Photo by Bradley Images Book donations Mitzvah project at Lindsey's pink book themed Bat Mitzvah party at DoubleTree Bethesda | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA | Photo by Bradley Images

Donations could be anything from food to toys to clothes. Select an organization that is important to your child or that fits with the event’s theme and ask your guests to help!

Donate Centerpieces

Lilly and her family got creative with their centerpieces and donated the food to a local charity. A note from Lilly let guests know more about the centerpieces and where they were going.

Bat Mitzvah Can Centerpieces 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 Alison Tremblay

In addition to collecting donations of books, Lindsey also donated books that were used in her centerpieces as table numbers and as the base for the balloons.

Balloon and book centerpieces at Lindsey's pink book themed Bat Mitzvah party at DoubleTree Bethesda | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA | Photo by Bradley Images

A local charity, I LOVE is Repeat Roses. They gather event flowers and donate them to senior citizens, hospice care patients and others who need a little bit of cheer. You need to contact them early as they can get very busy!

Make a Tzedakah (monetary) donation

Instead of or in addition to traditional favors, why not make a donation in honor of your guests. There are a few ways to do this; you can make a donation on behalf of your guests, you can help your guests to donate or have your child contribute a percentage of their gifts to a charity of their choosing.

If you make a donation on behalf of your guests, a framed photo or note at each place can let guests know. It’s wonderful when this note comes directly from your child to let them know why it is an important charity to them.

If you want to facilitate your guests making a donation, there are a number of websites that can help. One of my clients allowed their guests to select a charity to donate to through a company called TisBest. All of the adults received a gift card with instructions and were able to donate to a select group of charities.

If you want to help your child understand the true meaning of tzedakah, have them take some of the money that they receive as gifts and donate to a charity of their choosing. This allows them to make tzedakah part of their celebration and sets a great example for donating later in their lives.

Donate Food

Talk to your caterer to see what they do with the leftover food. Will they allow you to donate it to a local food bank?  Find a local food bank or food rescue operation at Feeding America.

Finally

Let your guests know! Raising awareness for wonderful charities is another way to help. Your guests will feel good knowing that, in some small way, they’ve contributed to a good cause and you’ll feel good that you’ve included a mitzvah and social action in your Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration.

Need more social action ideas? Contact me and we can figure out how to keep the mitzvah in your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

Should I see a MC or DJ in action?

Selecting the right Bar or Bat Mitzvah MC/DJ is tough, but seeing them at someone else's party is a bad idea. Here's why and how to choose your MC/DJ. | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

It’s tempting to want to see a vendor in action, especially a band or MC/DJ before you hire them for your Mitzvah. After all, you want to ensure you’re picking the right one! But is it the right move to visit someone else’s party to see them? ABSOLUTELY NOT! I highly discourage clients from attending other events (that they were not invited to as guests) to see potential bands or DJ/MCs for their events. Why is that and how should you select your MC/DJ? Read on!

Random person at your event

I don’t trust vendors who allow you to essentially crash someone else’s party. I mean, would you want random people walking through your event? Or your DJ/MC’s attention being taken away from your event because they are trying to sell someone else on their services? I had this happen with a particular MC, who did not let my client or me know this was a possibility and had random people dressed in street clothes walking through their formal affair. They stuck out like a sore thumb and I had to ask them to leave. It was incredibly uncomfortable for everyone. And, needless to say, I do not recommend this MC to my clients.

You don’t know the host

Second, if you’re visiting a random person’s event, you don’t know the host family or the Mitzvah child at all. You have no idea what they’ve requested of their DJ/MC, so you’re not getting the full picture. At least with a friend recommendation, you know your friend’s personality and style which gives you slightly better insight as to whether you’d like a particular DJ/MC.

So how should you choose your band or DJ/MC?

A great and experienced DJ/MC is able to tailor your party to your family. If you go in with an understanding of the type of party you want and the needs of your guests, you’ll have a much easier time finding the right one. Do you want to the DJ/MC to focus on the kids and playing games with them? Do you want to have a solid balance of time when adults and kids are dancing? Does your crowd love to dance? Hate to dance? Think it through!

Then start looking at DJ company websites which often have bios or videos of their DJs and MCs in action. These allow you to get a feel for the style of the company before you reach out to talk to particular MCs.

Ultimately selecting the right DJ/MC is a gut check. You need to talk to a few to see if you and your child click with them. It’s a great idea to work with a company that represents multiple MCs so you can talk with a salesperson to see who might be the best fit. You can describe your child and your family to the salesperson and they can help you find the right one.

Looking for the right MC/DJ? Pop Color Events can help!

Food and Beverage Minimum for Bar Mitzvahs

What is a food and beverage minimum and why is it important for your Bar or Bat Mitzvah party planning? Tips, advice and tricks for your Mitzvah party f&b. | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

I recently spoke with a mom who was so pleased with herself for negotiating down her hotel’s food and beverage minimum. I didn’t want to burst her bubble, but I was concerned she didn’t really understand what she had negotiated. Sadly, I was right. I want to help you avoid making the same mistake!

So what is a food and beverage (f&b) minimum?

A food and beverage minimum is the amount you are required to spend on food and beverage to use a space. It rarely includes taxes, fees or gratuities. An f&b minimum often takes the place of a room rental fee or waives a room rental fee if you hit a certain number.

Why Is a food and beverage minimum important?

Where the mom got confused is that the actual amount of the minimum is not as relevant as how much the food on the menu costs. For instance, if you are able to negotiate a $7,500 food and beverage minimum for 100 people, but the cost for open bar and the type of plated meal you want will actually be $100 per person, having a low minimum doesn’t make a difference. In this scenario, you’re going to spend $10,000 (before taxes and fees) regardless of the minimum.

Having a high minimum and a low number of guests will ensure that they will have an incredibly nice meal unless you want to pay for food not consumed. What that means is, you have to pay the minimum. If you’re going to pay that amount regardless, you might as well have great food and beverage for your guests and get as close to the minimum as possible. If you don’t spend to the minimum, any leftover funds will be charged as a room rental fee. You will always pay the minimum!

More about minimums

Be sure to check what is included with the food and beverage minimum or a room rental fee. Does it include tables, chairs, linens, china, silverware, glassware…? Before you sign on the dotted line, also check to see prices on a menu or better yet, have them put together a sample menu for you. That will give you the best sense of how much the type of meal you’re looking for will cost and if you can hit the minimum.

There is a wide range of what food and beverage minimums can be. I’ve seen everything from $7,500 for a very suburban hotel property on an off-peak Saturday afternoon to $50,000 for a high-end hotel property on a Saturday night at a busy time of year.

Minimums are most common at hotels, banquet halls, restaurants or other venues with in-house catering. If you bring in your own caterer, you most likely won’t have a minimum at all.

So be sure to check not only what the minimum is, but how much the food on the menu costs. Those two factors will determine how much you’ll spend on food and beverage.

Looking for a great venue with (or without!) a food and beverage minimum? Pop Color Events can help!

What’s most important at your Mitzvah party?

What is most important in planning your child's Bar or Bat Mitzvah party? No matter what happens, your family and friends will make it special! | Pop Color Events | Adding a Pop of Color to Bar & Bat Mitzvahs in DC, MD & VA

You’re going to be making a lot of decisions when it comes to your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah party, everything from what song should play during their entrance to the color of the napkins. And here’s the biggest secret of all– most of it doesn’t really matter at all to your guests, so you don’t need to sweat those small details. Seriously.

Yes, your guests want to have a good time. Yes, you want to make sure that they’re taken care of. But, your guests will never know the option you didn’t choose. They’ll never know if your Mitzvah party goes off schedule. They’ll never know if the MC played the wrong song or if the caterer forgot to put out menu signs or if the photobooth operator didn’t put the logo on the photos.

In the grand scheme of things, those little details are not important. As a planner, I do my very best to cover every contingency, to plan every detail, to understand your every preference and to communicate that to your vendors. There are so many moving pieces that sometimes one doesn’t go just right, but the party will keep rolling along. And despite our careful planning, something will probably go wrong. It will likely be something minor that only you and I will notice since we are so invested in the planning.

It’s hard to let go, but it’s so important to remember that this day is about being surrounded by your family and friends and all of the people who love you and your child. There are so few times to gather for a real celebration that focusing on the minor blips will take your enjoyment away from your guests. And your guests won’t realize that anything ever went wrong or that something was supposed to be different than what they experienced.

So relax, enjoy the party that you’ve worked so hard to plan and don’t worry about it. Focus on what is really important–the people you’re celebrating with!

1 2 3 5

© 2015 Pop Color Events