Mitzvah Timeline

Putting together a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is no small feat. There are a lot of details from booking the date to tutoring schedules to seating arrangements to choosing the venue and so on. While this doesn’t have to be an over-the-top mortgage-your-house event, it is still important to begin with a timeline and checklist so you stay focused, don’t get overwhelmed and allow plenty of time for the details to be worked out.

1-4 Years Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Work with your Temple or Synagogue to set a date
Determine your budget

1 Year ahead
Decide on the type of Simcha event you want (day, evening, formal etc.)
Estimate number of Bar/Bat Mitzvah guests and book the venue (this might be a banquet hall, club, hotel, etc.)
Depending on the venue selected, you might need to book a separate caterer
Book the Bat/Bat Mitzvah photographer and videographer
Book the Bar/Bat Mitzvah band or DJ. Ask about booking other alternate entertainment such as magicians, caricaturists, virtual reality games, photo favors and cocktail hour music

6-12 Months Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah

Decide on your Bar Mitzvah party theme and color scheme.
Your child (the Bar or Bat Mitzvah) will start learning his/her Torah portion
Talk to decor providers about table and room signage, centerpieces, balloons, etc.
Start looking at Bar Mitzvah or bat Mitzvah invitation designs and prices

6-8 Months Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Book hotel block for out-of-state guests
Start shopping for Bar/Bat mitzvah clothing. Boys will need a bar Mitzvah suit and possibly a tuxedo for a formal evening event. Girls will need a Bat Mitzvah synagogue dress and possibly an evening outfit for a formal Bat Mitzvah celebration. Mom and dad, brothers and sisters may need Bar Mitzvah clothing as well

3-6 Months Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Order or design your Bar / Bat Mitzvah sign-in board and guest book
Order imprinted yarmulkes
Decide if RSVP will be via email, website or printed reply card — if e-reply, get that set up
Order your Bar / Bat Mitzvah invitations

3 Months Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Finalize the Bar / Bat Mitzvah guest list
Make a hotel packet for out-of-towners
Try to make your final selections on Bar Mitzvah clothing and accessories
Buy stamps for mailing Bar mitzvah invitations and for RSVP cards
Have completely assembled invitations weighed to ensure correct postage
Find Bar/Bat Mitzvah invitation calligrapher or print at home
Order Bar / Bat Mitzvah favors.

6-8 Weeks Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Mail the invitations
Work with DJ/band to develop song list and flow of party
Make appointments with florist/balloonist and place order

1 Month Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Arrange catering for brunch (if applicable)
Have final fittings done for Bar/Bat Mitzvah clothing
Make hair stylist and manicure appointments

2-3 Weeks Before the Bar/Bat Mitzvah
Choose people for aliyot and honors during the synagogue service
Choose the people to be honored for the candle lighting ceremony and write poems