How to throw a Mitzvah party without breaking the bank
So, you know how you go to a Bar or Bat Mitzvah and walk out thinking that was insanely amazing, but you cannot afford that? Been there, done that! We all want to throw our child an amazing party but where do we draw the line? Let’s bring it down a notch, shall we? How can you throw an amazing party without taking out a second mortgage on your home? I got your back!
10 budget-friendly tips for the budget-conscious parent
1) VENUES: The biggest expenses are going to be the venue, entertainment, and food. Don’t look into a major city for your destination - try a nearby suburb. Think a hall or the room in the back of a restaurant is boring? Think again. Any room can always (and I mean always) get glammed up.
2) ENTERTAINMENT: This is where I recommend not skimping. The music (or whatever avenue you choose to go) is what makes or breaks the party in my opinion. I laughed that I had to hire “dancers” as part of my son’s DJ package, but they had the teens, adults and little ones out there for the ENTIRE time. It was worth every penny to see my dance floor being utilized.
3) EVENT PLANNER: Can’t afford an event planner, but you aren’t crafty? Relax! Many event planners will work within your budget and will also help you out the month of or even the day of. I love the idea of hiring someone the day of. This allows you to relax and enjoy the day while someone else is worrying where the heck table 12’s centerpiece is.
4) CENTERPIECES: Which brings us to centerpieces. I love a good theme but don’t stress out if your child doesn’t want one. Colors can be a theme too! Orange and navy, purple and pink, black and white, etc. You get my gist. Flowers, balloons, baskets, glass cylinders from the dollar store, almost anything can be a centerpiece. I recently saw someone talk about putting baskets at each table with a different charity attached to them- (i.e. books or canned goods in a basket donated to your local shelters after the mitzvah...LOVE IT.)
5) INVITATIONS: Everyone loves a good invite. With that being said, this too does not need to break the bank. No need for a separate party card. Putting your service and party information on your invitation is a great way to save money. Colored envelopes often are an up-charge so go white with a great color ink and some cute font. Cutie Patootie Creations is not only affordable for invitations, but they will never skimp on design, creativity, quality and amazing customer service.
6) LINENS: When I was planning my wedding with my Mother’s expertise (19 years ago mind you) I was in hysterics that there was a linen lady. What? There was a person whose sole job was to rent out table linens? With a wedding and two Mitzvahs behind me, I now get it. Often linens are cheaper to buy and resell than rent. You can find them easily on Amazon or wholesale tablecloth websites for half the price your venue may want to rent them out to you. Same with the chair covers. My thought on chair covers, however, is to skip them. That being said, if you have a room with no pizazz - go with the chair covers. If your room speaks for itself with a nice view, beautiful chandelier, etc and you’re toying between the extra “dancer” in the DJ package or chair covers? Well, you know my vote. No one, except maybe your mother, is going to be talking about your chair covers two weeks later. I assure you, they’ll be talking about the blisters on their feet from all the amazing dancing that took place.
7) CANDLE LIGHTING: Yay or nay? This was a huge conversation in my house. My oldest son was dead against this so that was that. Youngest wanted one as did my husband, I vetoed it. Don’t get me wrong; it’s lovely but it’s lovely for the first five minutes or if you know you’re going to be getting called up at candle number 11. Otherwise, it often cuts into the party where time could be spent, you guessed it, dancing with the dancers! If you want the candle lighting but you don't want to spend the cash on the elaborate light-up name, there are so many other ways to go here. Repeat after me...the dollar store is your friend. Buy some clear cylinders, add some glass beads, and a few floating candles and you've just become a Pinterest mom.
8) DESSERTS: Cake, sundae bar? Umm, yes! Dessert is a must even though everyone is so stuffed from the buffet, 5-course meal or food truck dinner that you just provided them. Everyone loves a good sweet. We went with cake and I had, I kid you not, an entire half a cake leftover, BOTH times. Free advice: do not order a cake for 125 people if you are having 125 people. It does not look skimpy to go smaller. However, if you feel the cake isn’t enough, there are very few people I know who don't love a make your own sundae bar. Sundae bars are not just for kids! Which brings us to another item not just for kids….
9) FOOD ON THE GO: Looking for an exit treat for your guests? The candy bar is a favorite. You do not need to spend a fortune on this. Remember our mantra? The dollar store is your friend. Buy some cute little plastic containers and then hit your local Walmart, Costco or BJ’s to buy candy in bulk. Stephanie Feldman, the owner of Cutie Patootie Creations, did her own son’s Bar Mitzvah’s candy bar for no more than $150. See photos here! (All brought to you by Walmart, Dollar Store, Five Below and Michael’s)
10) FAVORS: Let’s talk favors. I realize that there are many teens out there who want the hoodie or the flannel pajama bottom. Then you find out the price per item. Remind your child that the sweats he/she got from attending their last 10 mitzvahs are sitting in their bottom drawer, unworn. There are other options that are much more affordable like water bottles, hats, portable chargers or even stress balls. Friendly tip: not everything has to be monogrammed with your child’s name, logo and Mitzvah date. How about a fun quote on the clothing item instead? Some suggestions: Be kind, Class of 2023 or even a fun emoji. If you do choose to go the personalized route, please remember that not everyone at your child’s school has been invited to your Mitzvah. Monday morning when 20 kids are strutting into math class in the new hoodie, others may feel hurt that they were not invited to your fabulous (yet budget-conscious!) party.
I have no doubt that with these (10) tips, you can throw a fabulous celebration without the second mortgage!
Abby Stern is a mother to two, married to one. She is most proud of her kids and her art of perfecting the homemade chocolate chip cookie. Abby is a sales representative for Cutie Patootie Creations in the Boston area and wants to be a writer when she grows up. You can find her ranting about her teenagers or her bout with breast cancer on the Facebook page “Eat the Frosting First”.