Monthly Archives

November 2012

Planning a Bar or Bat Mitzvah

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The Bar Mitzvah is a joyous Jewish celebration where the young man is celebrated as he comes into the age of accountability. As a boy turns 13, he is celebrated with this Jewish rite of passage ceremony and is surrounded by his loved ones, family and friends on this special day and this special occasion. The Bar Mitzvah celebration is geared towards the boy while the Bat Mitzvah celebration is geared towards the girl.

Planning the best Bar Mitzvah celebration is going to depend on what the likes or dislikes the honoree may have, the budget for the celebration, where the event will be held and what gifts or accolades will be bestowed upon the honoree.

Choose a Facility

The first thing to do in planning the Bar Mitzvah is to decide on where to hold the party. It may be held at the synagogue, but it’s going to be very important to secure whichever facility well in advance so that you’re assured that you’ll have the best place to celebrate this special time. Most synagogues assign Bar/Bat Mitzvah dates when the child enters fourth grade, so you should have ample time to find and book the venue that will be perfect for you.

Outfit for the Occasion

Purchasing the Bar Mitzvah boy’s suit is almost as much of a rite of passage for the parents as the Bar Mitzvah itself is for the boy. Fortunately, there are still many great clothiers in the area who specialize in this. Of course, you can always go to one of the major formal wear chains or a department store in the mall. Don’t forget that this is a Bar Mitzvah, though, and that there is more involved than just purchasing a suit. Make sure that you secure his first tallis (Jewish prayer shawl) and do this in a sufficient amount of time so there aren’t any surprises as the Bar Mitzvah approaches. Oftentimes parents will order custom yarmulkes that commemorate the day, so remember these too.

Food, Drinks

Food and drinks for a Bar Mitzvah ceremony will likely be party style food, along with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Make sure your reception venue has a liquor license, enough so that they are at least able to serve alcohol as many adults at the reception will want to consume alcoholic beverages. The food will likely consist of culture specific style foods and/or any food items that the Bar Mitzvah honoree likes and wants to have for his special day. In the case with the foods and drinks, it may also be a good idea to secure the services of a caterer or food service company to help with preparing and serving the food, especially if there are going to be a lot of people in attendance.


The Bar Mitzvah ceremony is likely going to be controlled by the Rabbi and Cantor at they synagogue, unless you are doing your own private ceremony at the reception hall, where you will need to rent your own. If that is the case for you, you are in luck in that there are many reputable Rabbis to hire in the area. In either case, do not be shy if there are any specific details you want to make sure are included. It might even be a good idea to design your own short checklist to make sure that everything is done as it should be. Also, check with your Rabbi to make sure the young man’s attire and accessories are correct, placed correctly, and to ensure there are not items missing that will be needed.


Gifts for the honoree are up to the invited guests to determine what to give, but you can always give suggestions on items that he would like to receive. For instance, electronic items are always a hit and always a welcomed item. Anything like iPods, iPads, laptop computers, speakers or DVD players are a good idea. The Bar Mitzvah young man would probably also like to get things like video games, gift cards for their favorite game store or cash gifts as well. If you do give the young man cash gifts, be sure to do so in increments of 18. Eighteen is the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word Chai, which means “life.” Since this is such a defining moment in a young Jewish boy’s life, this is the traditional amount given. Always account for your entire family when giving any gift, because you want to give a gift that reflects how many of you are coming.


The ceremony is over and now it is time to party! What entertainment should you choose for the reception? What kind of reception are you envisioning? Some people just like an elegant luncheon, while others want a bash that rivals Times Square on New Year’s Eve. As with choosing your venue, you have the time to find exactly what is the right fit for you and your family. However, don’t wait too long because if there is a specific band or DJ that you “have to have,” the longer you wait to book the more you run the risk that someone will snatch them up before you. At EBE, we have the right entertainment for every budget. This not only of course includes our talented bands and DJs, but our event enhancements, which are sure to kick your party up a few notches to the next level.

As the newly bestowed Bar Mitzvah honoree is celebrating with his family, friends and loved ones, it’s also worth noting that this is a time of fun and light-hearted celebration as well. After the ceremonial part is over, the partying will begin in earnest and with EBE as your entertainment source, everyone in attendance is sure to have a joyous time.

Is there anything I can do to prevent an evacuation due to a small fire at my venue?

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[dropcaps style=”fancy”]Q:[/dropcaps]Dear Ben, My fiance and I attended his company’s holiday party last night. Everything was going great until about half way through the party when a small fire on the roof of the building ended the night prematurely. We never even had dessert! Everyone had to evacuate the building (not a lot of fun considering we were over twenty stories high) and everyone left before we were allowed back in.

All that I could envision as we were standing outside freezing was something like this happening at our wedding. I know that there is nothing that can be done to prevent a fire from happening, but is there anything that could be done to prevent everyone from leaving? With all of the money we (and our parents) are spending on the wedding, it would be tragic for it to be wasted. Any advice?



[dropcaps style=”fancy”]A:[/dropcaps]Hi Stacey! I can only imagine the frustration you must be feeling. You put so much time and effort into something (not to mention the money), it is a shame to see it ruined by something completely out of your control. I can tell you that as someone who personally performs at over 125 per year (and has been doing so for longer than I would care to mention!), this is something that virtually never happens. It is unfortunate that you happened to have been there for the one time that it did. Truly, in all of the thousands of events at which I have performed, only once have I ever had to evacuate the building due to a fire. Fortunately in that case, it was just before the party was set to begin (most of the guests were not even there yet). We did have to wait outside for the better part of an hour before the fire commissioner would let us back in, but all that was lost was about half of the cocktail hour. As terrible as that is, it certainly could have been a lot worse.

As far as preventing the guests from leaving should disaster occur, I am not sure if there is anything that you can do. Short of asking them to stay, I think people are going to naturally go (especially if it is cold outside or if the fire is really bad). Depending upon the severity of the fire, you may not have much of a choice anyway. If this is something that you are truly concerned about, I believe that there are companies who offer to insure the event (similar to trip cancellation insurance). I hope this helps! I know that you’re going to have a beautiful night, though, and everything will proceed flawlessly.

Best regards,


Stephanie Fitzpatrick Review - Tesa's Bat Mitzvah

Tesa’s Bat Mitzvah

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Dear Stephanie,

Hope you had a wonderful Holiday.

Stephanie, I just want to thank you one more time. Absolutely everything went smoothly. You have a very professional crew. Everyone was very friendly and willing to accommodate all of our requests.

It was an unforgettable evening. Thank you for all your help and input!



Table Number Ideas

Inspired Table Numbers

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I love the idea of going for fun, inventive table numbers to help your guests find their way to their seats. If you get creative, your table numbers can become part of the decoration, or even be the centerpiece on their own. With a little inspiration, your table numbers won’t just be informative pieces… they’ll save you a bundle on flowers and make great take-home treats as well!

Above are some fantastic pictures I found to get those creative juices flowing:

The first is a fantastic idea from Wedding Bee. It is right up my fear-of-sewing alley! Modge-podge your table numbers with fabric and then hot glue gun like crazy.

Next, Martha Stewart knows her stuff. Usually she has me in a cold sweat panic over her perfect crafts, but it seems to me that adding photos of the happy couple holding their table numbers are fool-proof!

Finally, chalkboard table numbers like the ones featured on Pretty Entertaining have become quite trendy these days and rightfully so – it’s the perfect way to combine creativity that’s both decorative and easy on the budget. You can find self-standing boards like these for a very reasonable price, or place inside a small picture frame to list the individual guests on place cards.

No matter how you decide to display your table numbers, remember there are no wrong choices. Just find a fun, stress-free project and enjoy showing off your funky side!

My event is the same day as a major sports event, how do I keep from losing the crowd to the game?

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[dropcaps style=”fancy”]Q:[/dropcaps]Dear Ben, I just realized that my event is scheduled for the same night as an NFL playoff game. I know, poor planning on my part. Although I believe that the Eagles are out of the running, about half the guests are from North Jersey and New York and are Giants fans. There is no way for me to reschedule the date, but I do not want to lose half of my crowd or more to the game. What do you suggest I do?



[dropcaps style=”fancy”]A:[/dropcaps]Hi Danielle! Fortunately the playoffs are still several weeks away, so there is a good chance that it will be a moot point as far as the Giants are concerned. However, there are still going to be a significant number of your guests who are going to want to watch the game no matter what teams are involved.

In the past I have seen people who have just tried to ignore that a game is going on and I have seen others accept the reality and deal with it as best as they can. I once performed at a wedding that took place during a Phillies playoff game a few years ago. All but four of the guys (and this includes the groom!) spent practically the entire evening in the hotel lobby bar (where there were televisions) watching the game.

I have also had clients who put screens into the room to show the game, so that everyone would at least be together. This has its pluses and minuses, though, as it definitely has an effect on the decor and ambiance of the room. Sometimes it works out great. A few weeks after the incident above, I performed at a Bat Mitzvah which took place during a Phillies World Series game. Fortunately, they had already booked our Big Screen Video package, so we already had two large screens (in this case, our huge 80″ “Plexi-Screens”) on either side of the dance floor. We were able to tap into the venue’s cable feed, which gave us the ability to show the game on one or both screens, in addition the the screens’ regular content.

Another time, though, I was performing at a corporate event during a series deciding Yankees-Red Sox playoff game. About one-third of the crowd were Phillies fans, one-third were Mets fans, and one-third were Yankees fans. In this game, the Red Sox pulled off a major upset and defeated the Yankees. One Yankees fan at the party was pretty unhappy about this and berated me throughout the event for keeping the game on while his team was losing. The funny thing was in this case I did not even have control over the screens. The client had hired the venue to provide them to show nothing but the game, so I did not even have anything to do with it!

Oh well. In either case, you need to think about what is best for you and your guests prior to making any decisions. If the Giants won’t be playing during your event, my guess is that you will probably be OK not doing anything. You may lose a few NFL die hards, but the general vibe for the party should stay intact. If it will be during the Giants game, you are going to have a decision to make. No matter what you decide, we will be here to help you in any way that we can and will have screens available if you need them. Please let me know what you decide!

Best regards,


Matt Ostroff Reviews - Jillian Shiels' Wedding

Jillian Shields’ Wedding

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Hey Matt,

I’ve been wanting to send you this email for sometime, but with this being our busy season I haven’t had much free time. I can’t thank you enough for the great job you did at our wedding! We had a blast!! Everyone was dancing and enjoying themselves!! Everyone kept asking for a copy of the music from that night haha! Thank you so much for making our wedding memorable!! You guys are awesome!!

Thanks again,
Jillian Shields