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From finding a venue to creating the ‘wow’ factor, what you need to know.
So the time has finally arrived to celebrate your child’s transition to adulthood with a bar or bat mitzvah in New York City. You’re going to want to make your celebration of this rite of passage one to remember and so we reached out to Anthony Taccetta Event Design, one of the city’s top event planners for helpful bar/bat mitzvah planning tips and inspiring party ideas. From finding an event venue to creating that ‘wow’ factor, we’ve got everything you need to know.
Mitzvah event planners, photographers, and venues are often booked two to four years in advance. Soon after your child’s grad date gets set, you should start planning their mitzvah. Anthony explains, “With all the kids in the class making plans for the same time frame, it’s important to book early to secure a venue, planner, photographer, and any other supplier you have your heart set on to make certain your child’s mitzvah is everything you imagined it to be.”
Having a guest count and vision for your event will help narrow down the bar/bat mitzvah venues in NYC, after all, the city has many to choose from. Anthony notes that the Ziegfield Ballroom (that offers a customizable menu and technical package), The Museum of The City of New York (with indoor and outdoor options), Tribeca 360 (a loft and rooftop venue) and The Glasshouse (a new state of the art event space) are some of the best venues for B’nai mitzvah parties in New York City. For something a little different, you could look to your child’s interests for venue ideas like a theatre, a sports club or even Central Park Zoo.
Anthony advises, “You want to look for a space larger than you think you need. While a venue may be able to accommodate 300+ people, it doesn’t mean there is enough space for your mitzvah. The kids’ cocktail area needs a large footprint for games and activities. The adult cocktail area requires enough space for a big bar and any other specialty stations while still giving enough room for adults to mingle. Then, of course, you need a large space for the reception itself!”
You’re going to want to have a clear vision for your celebration. This can be a specific theme, but Anthony recommends choosing a concept instead. “A theme can sometimes feel too childish, whereas a concept allows us to be more playful and create an environment that the guests can be immersed in. A concept also gives more freedom to create unique experiences for both the kids and the adults in attendance at a mitzvah.” Photographer Michael Jurick agrees, “A mitzvah is about youth, energy, color, and excitement.“ Once you have chosen a concept, this will help make other planning decisions like the color scheme, decorations, and party rentals much easier.
Take inspiration from this aMAZing bat mitzvah party (featured throughout this article) held at Tribeca 360, designed by Anthony Taccetta and photographed by Michael Jurich. Inspired by American artist Jeff Koons’ sculptures, it featured the iconic Balloon Dog throughout the decor and as party favors. Red and yellow were used as the primary colors for the decor including flowers, balloons, graphics, and even chair decals—all Instagram-worthy details.
“It’s not enough for the event to look good, it also has to feel good,” says Anthony, “especially for an event in NYC.” The ‘wow’ factor for mitzvahs comes from unique installations. Something that relates to what is going on in pop culture, but customized to the child. This can manifest itself in the entry decor, photo booth, ceiling decor, and live entertainment.
According to Anthony, “Lighting is key. It helps direct the event in so many ways. When it’s time to dance, the lights can be moving and blinking to keep the energy really high. When it’s time for dinner, we can create a more subtle look so the guests can enjoy their food and great conversation. And when it’s time for the montage, we can bring the lights down and focus everyone’s attention on the screens. With mitzvahs, there are often many formalities, and lighting can really help direct and accentuate different moments.”
Hiring a variety of entertainment really takes the party up a notch and keeps your guests energized. “Because there are different moments throughout the night, entertainment can really help transition the party from a quieter moment like a speech or the candle lighting to a high energy dance set. The live entertainment elements also add a sense of theater, which I love.”
Anthony notes that hiring a great DJ is a must, but introducing live music is a great way to highlight important moments like the hora. He also suggests that interactive entertainment like a glam bar, magician or portable photo booth helps break the ice, especially among the kids.
“I think the best food at a mitzvah tends to be casual and approachable. Pick food that everyone loves— both the kids and adults. Think along the lines of steak houses and upscale burger joints. Save the proper formal plated meals for their wedding day.” Anthony recommends that allowing guests to graze throughout the evening helps keep all your guests fuelled.
A cake is a classic choice for a birthday, and these days, confections can be customized right down to the tiniest details, making them a feast for the eyes. “If you’re going to invest in a cake, I think the best thing you can do is present it on a display table. Something more than a folding table and linen. Using a nicely designed table will help make the cake Instagram-worthy,” says Anthony. Alternatively, you can opt for a candy bar or donut station for something a little more casual and fun.
Now that you have a list of dos, here are a few things that Anthony Taccetta advises to avoid: “Long montages, long speeches, and a long candle lighting… a long hora, however, is always a good thing and brings so much excitement and energy to the dance floor. The trick is to keep that going after the hora ends until the party favors are given out at the end of the night.”
Photographer: Michael Jurick Photography - @MichaelJurick / Event Planner: Anthony Taccetta Event Design - @anthonytaccetta / Venue: Tribeca 360 / Catering: Tribeca Rooftop / Entertainment: Total Entertainment
Published on 5/22/2020