Bar/Bat Mitzvah Planning Issues Index
DJs vs Bands - The Bottom Line:
Basically, you will get more continuous music and children games for less money using a DJ; sometimes at a quarter the cost of a band. Disc Jockeys also carry a wider variety of music to satisfy everyone from the kids to your friends and family. And, specific songs can be played as the requests come in.!!! Most importantly, with a DJ, volume control is easier and DJs never take breaks during the event. Thus, your family can talk during dinner and the kids will be continuously entertained. Add a small light show, a blow up guitar and an energetic DJ and you'll have tons of excitement, music for everyone and a whole lot of dancing all night long.
DJ Services vs Individuals vs Music Agents:
So you are excited about hiring a DJ, but where do you go? Generally a DJ service will have a lower cost than a music or talent agent and possiblly some individuals (depending how popular they are). An advantage of a Music agent is that they will generally only hire DJs that meet their specific requirements. Meaning they have done all the foot work in interviewing and auditioning for you. But, as expected, you will probally pay about 25% more for their services and many times they use the DJ Services or individuals that you could hire directly. Remember, Music Agents do not own the DJ equipment or library of music, thus each system and DJ they send out will have different equipment and a different music library. Music agents are typically listed in the Yellow Pages under entertainment.
DJ Services and individual DJs are listed under Disc Jockeys. A disadvantage of using an individual DJ is that if something were to happen to him/her, you may be out of luck in finding a replacement. With a good DJ Service, you will always be guaranteed a DJ, no matter what. One disadvantage in using a DJ Service depends on if they use "subcontractors" or have employees. DJ Services using subcontractors, by legal definiton, lose control over the DJ's performance, how he/she presents him/herself, equipment and music requirements and even when he/she has to arrive for a function. Typically, employees of a DJ Service will have more rules and guidelines to follow to meet the DJ Service's reputation.
But most importantly, when searching for a DJ, make sure you can either meet or speak with the DJ that will be assigned to your Mitzvah. Also, many services only have a certain DJs that can handle Mitzvahs, so be certain that the DJ assigned has worked with middle school aged kids and has done Mitzvahs in the past. Make sure that the company, DJ Service or Music Agent, will guarantee the DJ you choose, AT NO EXTRA CHARGE. Also, services should provide you with planner sheets and songlists to help plan your party. Review these sheets with your DJ before the show and make sure that he/she will have all of the your music requirements. Other than that.... you'll have a great party with a DJ!!!
Who provides all those cool novelties and prizes:
This depends on the service your are working with. Typically, the customer purchases these items. The best place to find these novelties is from Oriental Trading Company at 1-800-228-2269. Ask for their main catalog, as opposed to their seasonal catalog, and you will find everything you will need to add a little fun to the event. Some services and/or mitzvah coordinators will purchase these items for you. You will probally pay a little extra, but it may be worth your time.
What type of novelties should I get? Leis, sunglasses, and light necklesses are the most popular items to hand out during the event. Note that light necklesses are only effective at night or in dark rooms. Too many handouts will lose their effectiveness, so plan carefully.
We like to recommend novelty gifts that are unique and are not normally given out at every mitzvah. Things like magic tricks, small games or puzzles, mind teasers or even mini stuffed animals will more likely be appreciated and held onto, than a top hat or toy tamborine. Instead of thinking of what novelty would go good with a particual song or dance, imagine what might be fun for someone to sit and play with during and after the party.
We also typically recommend not to purchase items that can be thrown around, used as toy weapons, used to beat each other or anything that can be used as squirt guns. Kids will be kids and toys will be played with during the event. If you do purchase such items, put them into individual bags and hand them out at the end of the party.
Prizes??!! The best type of prizes to handout are non-gender items. Edible items are very popular. CD and tape singles are also popular. If you provide the DJ with a lot of prizes, you may want to prewrap them before the party. This will allow the DJ to hand them out as surprises as opposed to having the kids searching the prize bag for the best prize. Prizes are not necessary and depend on your own budget... the games will still be played. regardless of winning a prize or not.
Be careful not to overplan:
Some extra activities work well with DJs, like caricature artists, button makers, karaoke and roaming magicians. Other activities can pull away from the DJ working with the kids, like arcade games and ball throwing games. Typically, DJs have set routines on playing games with kids and promoting dancing. By having too many extra actibities, the DJ has a tougher time in getting the kids to participate and to center on the group activities. Check with your DJ service on their input, if you have any other questions. Also, check out the VENDOR LIST link, located at the bottom of the MAIN PAGE, for some excellent vendors that provide extra activities for Mitzvahs.
Other Mitzvah tips:
First and foremost, there is no right or wrong way to host a Bar/Bat Mitxvah. Keep this in mind as you head through the planning stages and things are getting hetic. Its your party and however much time, energy, creativity, budget, and imagination you put into it is totally up to your own circumstances.
Everyone has had to plan their first Bar/Bat Mitzvah, so you're not alone!!! Your synagogue is full of friends who have been through what you are about to experience. Use their guidance and suggestions to help you plan the party. For instance, most synagogues have lists of past mitxzvahs and the vendors they've used. This is a great and valuable resource to find your DJ, Photographer, Videographer, Reception Site, Flowers, Gifts, and anything else the other members have used in the past. Vendor names that are repeatitively mentioned are probally done so because of their quality work and should be some of the first calls made.
Purchase or suggest the girls to bring boxer shorts and socks. The boxer shorts are to be worn under the dresses for games like the limbo or other highly active games. The socks can be worn instead of shoes, so the girls can slide around and not put holes in their panty hose or leotards.
If you have a theme to your party, use the theme to label the tables instead of numbers. For instance, if you have a football theme, make up place cards with NFL teams. It will help incorporate the theme with atmosphere.
Place the adult tables away from the speakers and the kids tables closer to the speakers. This will allow your adult friends to converse with each other with out worrying about the sound level.
Allow the kids to socialize in the beginning. Many times kids will talk with each other, much like adults, before starting into the games. It is okay!!! the DJ will key in on signs that they are getting restless and will begin the activities when appropriate.
Candlelighting Alternatives: The Candlelighting Service is a way for the Bar/Bat Mitzvah child to recognize certain individuals or groups of friends that are significant in their lives. But, the traditional lighting of the candle doesn't always have to be done up in front with a row of 14 candles. One option is to have the Bar/Bat Mitzzvah child walk around to individual tables and have them light the candle in the center of their table. One creative ideas has been for an Alohoa Theme in which the Bat Mitzvah girl called up individuals and put Leis around their necks. Another idea was for a Bar Mitzvah boy named Noah and he had an Arc to place plastic animals onto when the recognized individual was called up. The alternatives are endless with Sports Themes, making a basket or goal to place a ball into/onto, or a Hollywood Theme with ones own Star Studded Sidewalk, or Space Theme with a Galaxy and Stars to whatever your theme is and capitalizing on the fun.
Lastly, have fun!!! You've worked hard planning the party... enjoy the fruits of your labor. With the right DJ... you'll have as much fun as the children...
On tipping the DJ:
Tipping is an appreciation for a job well done. If your DJ went over and above your expectation, tipping is an excellent way to show your appreciation. 5% to 20% of the total cost is suggested, but any amount is truely welcomed.
Adding Karaoke to your event:
We've dedicated a whole page to Karaoke entertainment. Click on KARAOKE and find out what's hot with Karaoke entertainment and your next party!!!
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