bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah planning guide
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Bar Mitzvah / Bat Mitzvah and Jewish Wedding Planning and Resource Guide

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Event Planning: Invitations

Top Ten Tips for Invitation Selection
by Lauren Margolin of Inviting Ideas (847-684-8088)
  1. See your dealer 6 months before the mitzvah date. Depending on which company you order from, shipment can take anywhere up to 8 weeks.You will need plenty of time for stuffing and addressing..


  2. Order a proof! It costs extra but is well worth it. You'll get to see the layout and text before printing.


  3. Have a solid guest list ready so you will know how many invitations you will need. Make sure you order extra for any additional guests. Order extra envelopes for calligrapher errors.


  4. Be creative. Many companies do not charge or have a nominal charge to change paper colors. If you see it in black & white but want black and pink...go for it!


  5. Preview invitation albums first then select handful for your child to preview. It can be overwhelming for children to look through all of them.


  6. Order thank you notes along with the invitations. Many gifts will come in the response cards and you will be ready for your child to write thank you notes.


  7. Many invitation dealers offer a discount. Make sure you are receiving discounts or choosing a dealer that offers them.


  8. It is not necessary to match your invite colors to your room or theme. The invite should express your child and family.


  9. Review sample wording choices to fit your feelings and sentiments. Some parents are now using famous or biblical quotes to begin the wording on invitations.


  10. Enjoy the process! Remember, this should be fun and stress-free!
Sample Invitation Wording
While very original invitation wording can follow almost any pattern, most invitation messages follow a three-part construction:
  1. The expression of sentiment followed by the invitation to attend;


  2. Day, time, and place;


  3. Invitation to share a luncheon, dinner or some other simcha with the family, bride and groom, or Bínai Mitzvah. This is sometimes expressed on a separate card, allowing the option to exclude it in the envelope.
The following are some examples of

the wording of the first portion:

Bínai Mitzvah
  • With pride and joy we invite you to join us (or worship with us) as our daughter, Michelle Kim, is called to the Torah as a Bat Mitzvah...
  • With special feelings of love and pride...
  • With pride and pleasure...
  • With pride and delight and mostly with love...
  • We cordially invite you to share the Bar Mitzvah celebration of our beloved son Adam Eric on...
  • We invite you to share a proud and special moment as we celebrate with joy the Bat Mitzvah of our daughter Rachel on...
  • In the tradition of his ancestors our dear son Phillip Mark will be called to the Torah (or becomes a Bar Mitzvah)...
  • With the richness of tradition and the promise of tomorrow we invite you to share this special moment as our son Harris Simon is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah on...
  • Share a special day with us when our son...
  • We would be delighted if you would join us at the Bat Mitzvah of our daughter Allison ...
  • We invite you to share in our joy...
  • We invite you to share a special day in our lives...
  • Dorothy and Alan Klein invite you to share a special moment in their lives when their son Zachary David is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah...
  • My family and I would like you to share our happiness on the special occasion of my Bar Mitzvah on...
  • Please join us to celebrate the Bat Mitzvah of our dear daughter Amy...
Wedding
  • Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Gish request the honor of your presence at the marriage of Miss Louise Abrams to their son Alan Gish on...
  • ...request the honor of your presence at the marriage of their daughter Eileen J. Gish to Mr. Paul Goldstein on...
  • Miss Louise Abrams and Dr. Alan Gish request the honor of your presence at their wedding on...
  • We invite you to join us in celebrating the marriage of our children, Eileen and Paul on....Joyce and Randy Bloom, Howard Fish.
  • Our joy will be more complete if you can share in the marriage of our daughter...
  • ...will be joined under the chuppah...
  • We invite you you join us as we begin our new life on...
  • ...invite you to join in the ceremony uniting their children...
Invitation Tips
Start on your database of invitees early.

List everyone, select your final list later.

Ask you calligrapher about lead times for invitations and seating cards.

This will help determent the date you send invitations and the RSVP.

Not everyone you invite will be able to attend. This should figure into your planning. Consult your caterer, calligrapher, or party planner for advice on how many more guests to invite, based on your circumstances, over the number of attendees you are planning.

Order your invitations at least six months before the event.

Check the wording carefully, you donít want to inadvertently leave something out. Ask your friends to show you any invitations they may have saved to use as a reference, or examine wording arrangements in the invitation books. Also, donít rush the decision, you may need to look at several sample books over a period of weeks before you make up your mind, especially if you are letting your child help you decide.

Remember to order extra envelopes for address changes or if a mistake is made.

Hire calligraphy service as soon as the invitations arrive, to allow plenty of time for the project to be completed.

You Are Invited To Attend - The Fine Points Of Formal Invitations
by Norma J. Smith of Be-Me Announcements & Party Planning, Silver Spring, MD (301-648-0924)

The invitation is the first impression your guests will have of your upcoming affair. The invitation has become the cornerstone of the party giving a glimpse of what is in store for the event. Today's invitations give you a myriad of options and countless choices of colors, styles, papers, designs, ribbons, and wordings. Over the last twenty plus years many things about parties have changed, so has the formal invitation.

Parts of your invitation usually include: Invitation, return address on outer envelopes, lined inner envelopes, response card, reception card, informal or thank you note. You also don't want to forget other printed items like programs, ribbons, matches, notepads, napkins and bags, which seem to have as many options as the invitations!

Papers

Recycled, cotton, mirri, felt, ribbon, satin, chrome, buff, feather, are all types of papers you can choose for your invitations. The options are only limited by your imagination and budget. If you have an idea bring it with you to your invitation appointment. The professionals that you are working with will be able to find something that suits your individual personality and event. Options, Options Options. No longer are white, ecru or ivory panel cards the only options. You can choose sizes and shapes of papers including die cut or laser cut papers. Die cut and laser cut paper designs which are lovely, but, are among the more expensive styles available today.

A major area of improvement regarding invitations is the arrival of beautiful recycled paper invitations. Today there are companies that are using earth friendly printing methods as well as recycled paper. You can use companies like Naturally Yours and Checkerboard, which produce invitations and use printing methods that are environmentally friendly and are reasonably priced. Another great way to limit your paper use is to have the invitation include the reception information as well. Another way to be environmentally kind is to use seal and send invitations that have the response post card attached - it is removed and returned by the guest. Recently a bride told me that she wanted the recycled invitation, but she also wanted the traditional response card. It's up to you.

Lettering types & styles

The basics of the invitation have remained constant: date, time, place, and reply.

Though the engraved invitation is still a very traditional way to go, today there are many more options that are less expensive and more creative using thermography. Thermography is a raised print, it isn't engraved into the paper, so it's a less expensive alternative to engraving. Your printer can show you samples of each, which is just the start of the options. Price is not the only reason to choose a professional printer, feel free to ask for references, and ask to see a few of the invitations that they've recently printed.

There are two other options that may seem cheaper than getting you invitations done by a professional, but, there is more risk and possible aggravation for you: discount party stores and printing at home. Discount Party store may cost less, but you have to do all the work. Any mistakes are yours and you may have to cover the cost of reprinting. Take advantage of the experience of the professional printer to get it done right the first time.

Printing yourself at home

Many people today have the computer savvy, software and printers to print invitations themselves. While this may seem to be a cost saving option, you can go through a lot of materials and sanity, trying to get it all to line up properly and print out efficiently. Save yourself the trouble, let a professionals deal with the fine technical details. If you'd like to do something to make your invitations more unique, you may consider adding a ribbon or some other embellishments at home. A word of caution, adding to the invitation may change your postage rate and cost you more $. One of the options available is to have your own design invitation printed by a professional company. You'll end up with a very unique design, that will look professionally finished.

Wording

There is more than one way to say, "You are cordially invited." Feel free to express your excitement by using wording like "We invite you to share our Simcha" or "With Pride, Joy and love". Another format is paragraph format. This format can be used for any type of event, just be sure that all the information needed is easily found.

Cost

The most beautiful invitation in the world won't work for you If it is unaffordable. Luckily, a professional can give you options on the best mix of papers, style and printing to suit your budget. Professionally produced invitations can range in price from less than $1.00 each up to more than $20.00. If you have a tight budget and not much time, you can benefit from a professional printing job. Any mistakes made will emphasize that you are in a hurry and not able to concentrate fully on what you are writing. Many professional printers can have your invitations back to you within 48 hours depending on the book you choose. If you have $300 to spend on the entire invitation package, let them know up front, other wise you might end up falling in love with something that you really cannot afford. You also may be able to cut the cost by having one invitation for the ceremony and reception by adding the words "reception to follow".

You don't want to run out of invitations to your event. When buying invitations the extra cost of getting 25 more is minor compared to the cost of the initial order. Unless you are having the calligraphy on the envelopes done by the imprinting company, you'll want to order extra envelopes for mistakes.

Your event is important to you and you want your guests to feel special, so, don't print out their addresses on labels, consider using calligraphy. You can have it done by machine or hand, but, machine calligraphy will have fewer mistakes which will save you time and money.

So, you have your invitations and you want to make sure they get to your guests. If you are inviting people in your neighborhood you could hand deliver them, but, it would be easier for the post office to deliver them and save you the travel time. A word of caution: many invitations may require extra postage, be sure to check before you mail them. Be sure to put a stamp on the reply card envelopes, since you DO want to get the reply cards back.

Response cards

One of the questions that I get on a regular basis is:

You've mailed out your invitations and the RSVP date has come and gone, what do you do?

Absolutely call the guests and remind them that you need their cards back or they will not be counted as attending. Since you took the time to send the invitation, they should take the time to write their name and put the card in the envelope and mailbox. When you are calling these guests, they may say, "You know I'm coming" or "You know I'm not attending". Remind them that the cards need to be returned to confirm their attendance. They may not realize that you have to give the caterer a head count and pay for those guests who are attending, as many as twenty-one days before your event.

The first impression your guests will get of your event is the invitation - it should be as unique as you are. Use the experience and selection of an invitation professional to assist you in making your event memorable.

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