A Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a momentous occasion when 13-year-old Jewish teens cements their statuses as adults by leading a service and reading the Torah in front of their family and friends. It’s a huge milestone in Judaism and takes years of practice and hard work.
After the ceremony, it’s time to party.
Some of the most lavish Bar and Bat Mitzvahs of New York City’s elite run 6-figure budgets with celebrity performers. Behind the scenes, event planning company Gourmet Advisory pulls out all the stops for these NYC bashes. Its president, Harriette Rose Katz, once dubbed the “Bar Mitzvah Queen of New York,” has been throwing the parties for 36 years.
Katz talked to Business Insider about everything that goes into planning these lavish events.
She says one of the main changes over the years is that today it’s “all about the kids.” In the past, the celebrations were more formal with separate rooms for children and adults. But today, every parties together in one “multi-generational,” inclusive shindig.
Even the kid’s food is being served to adults. “To be very honest with you, adults like kid’s food,” she says as recounts the “old days” when the men would sneak into the kid’s room to eat the pigs in the blanket. And the music is mixing too. Katz describes the music played as “mash-up, crossover,” in which oldies are mixed with top 40.
Another trend is the whole family acting in mini movies that are projected in a short video to the crowd. Katz says it’s popular for parents to write scripts that mimic TV shows like Modern Family or Family Guy that include the children and grandparents. The family then works with Gourmet Advisory’s producers to film the sketch and project it on the big screen at the party.
For venues, she said it’s “just like any other party” with the the most popular choices as “very hot” dancing places, like trendy NYC nightclubs. “They’re much less formal then from years ago,” she adds.
Entertainment-wise, there are plenty of magicians, casino tables, video games, and jewelry making — and even celebrity performances. “We’ve had celebrity performers,” Katz said. “Not my favourite thing to do for a Bar Mitzvah, but the kids love these crazy entertainers and singers.”
And some crazy entrances: “I had one boy who wanted to arrive on the Intrepid by helicopter. And I said no, I wouldn’t do. It was too nerve wrecking, too scary for me. He had a Hawaiian theme at Pier 60, and he came in on a mechanical tiger.”
Needless to say, these cost some major bucks. Katz says she can’t talk about budgets, but “they’re big.” On a Huffington Post segment about New York Bar Mitzvahs, Untouchable Eventsowner David Sharky said the events his company plans range from $US80,000-$150,000.
And if you want to party like a NYC Jewish teen, plan ahead. Katz said that most of her clients come to her when they get their Bar Mitzvah dates — three years in advance.
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