When the child is born, start saving! It's not a bad idea to start two savings accounts; one for college and one for the bar or bat mitzvah.
One to three years ahead
- Set the date.
- Reserve the synagogue.
- Reserve the hall for additional receptions.
- Arrange for caterer, party planner and band or DJ.
- Buy a loose-leaf binder or start a filing system on index cards.
Ten to 12 months ahead
- Begin b'nai mitzvah lessons.
- (Continue to) attend weekly Shabbat services as a family.
- Arrange for photographer and videographer.
- Book hotel accommodations and investigate transportation for out-of-town guests.
Six months ahead
- Plan colors and theme.
- Arrange for florist and make guest list.
Four to five months ahead
- Order invitations and thank-you notes, imprinted napkins and personalized party favors.
- Purchase a tallit and tefillin, if applicable.
Three months ahead
Two months ahead
- Meet with florist and/or decorations coordinator.
Six weeks ahead
- Order tuxedos.
- Take care of clothing alterations.
- Order wine for Kiddush.
- Mail in-town invitations.
Four weeks ahead
- Prepare speech.
- Finalize reservations and transportation.
- Meet with caterer.
- Make welcome gifts for out-of-town guests.
- Arrange aliyot.
- Send honorary gift to synagogue.
- Meet with rabbi.
- Make seating charts for reception (and dinner).
Two weeks ahead
- Give final count to caterer.
- Meet with rabbi.
A few days ahead
- Have rehearsal and take bimah photographs.
- Make copies of speeches, room and table layouts, and give them to a friend to hold for you.
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