You just got your Bar or Bat Mitzvah date and are itching to get started with your planning, but what do you do first? Make your guest list. The number of guests invited (and who ultimately attend) determine EVERYTHING about your event. Where you can host it. How much you’ll spend. How many ____ you’ll need.
But who do you put on the guest list?
I recommend starting by making the biggest invite list possible, even if it includes people who may not be invited in the end or who won’t be able to attend. This is your first pass to brainstorm everyone who should be invited. Sometimes it’s even helpful to have your spouse make a list, your child make a list and you make a list to make sure you’re not forgetting anyone. Here are some groups to think about to get your creative juices flowing: extended family, family friends, work colleagues, college or grad school friends and friends of your child from school, Hebrew School, activities or camp.
Don’t forget to include your family (yes, I mean YOU)! You need to account for your immediate family in space and budgeting. It’s also nice to invite the clergy who is officiating your child’s Mitzvah. They probably won’t come to the reception, but they will appreciate the gesture.
Keep in mind
Eventually, you’ll narrow down this list dramatically, but this is a good starting point. You have time to look at this list critically and think through who you really want to spend this special day with. A lot can (and will) happen in these 2 years. Older guests may pass away, friends may no longer be as close, new friends will be made. While your guest list will fluctuate over the next two years, the number of guests is a good starting point to make sure you have a space that is the right size and can give solid estimates to all of your vendors.