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March 28, 2003 - Image 71

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-03-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

.2-

"TraditiO/ /a/ diSi/CS

Su/ 1 1p C.krifr/I/C111

Danny Raskin
Jewish News\

everyone, the dinner would have to be
buffet, and the 110 kids would be eat-
ing in the attached WIG movie the-
ater. With no assigned seating and a
relaxed atmosphere, this could work.
Being the do-it-yourself type, I
wanted the party to be extremely per-
sonal and do what I could myself.
Raquel's dad took care of the religious
details — from arranging the study
dates _to the lovely Havdalah service.
I tackled the party. I identified five
main truths:
• You must make a plan.
• It helps to do what you can.your-
self.
• There's never enough time.
• It will always cost more.
• Trust, but always confirm.
It started with a plan. I knew I
needed a step-off point "thatcould be
fine-tuned throughout the process.
Part of the plan included endless lists.
I became an expert at list-making.
There was guest list, RSVP list,
menu, phone numbers, important
dates, etc. Within this plan were sub-
categories. I did this on the computer
so it could be adjusted as needed.
Then we needed a budget, a prelim-
inary figure with a built-in cushion for
the unexpected expenses that always
show up. Within this financial plan,
we knew we had to allot for invita-
tions, postage, food, music, photogra-
phy and decorations. We needed to
remember to designate an extra 23
percent, or more, of our food budget

for tax and gratuity.
Then came the inventory of what I
could do myself. It's virtually impossi-
ble to do everything yourself, even
with great organization. But I knew
that with a little help from my friends,
a computer and a color copier, we
could make our own invitations.
Additionally, I could bake, wrap, tie,
shlep, arrange flowers.
When friends and family asked if
they could help, I said, "Yes!" and
assigned tasks.
At first, there seemed to be plenty of
time. But we found that the date raced
toward us fast in those last months. I
learned quickly that whatever could be
done ahead of time had to be done —
even if it included wrapping giveaway
gifts three months before.
Endless hours we spent fussing in
front of the television. Then I put
what was done away in labeled boxes
in one room I designated as "bat mitz-
vah central." It will make things easier
when it's time to transport them.
As we added up the costs, we real-
ized that whatever we planned to
spend would always cost more — the
"cushion" wouldn't be enough. We had
to cut where we could. I looked for
deals. Sales and dollar stores were fre-
quently visited.
The phone was my best friend. I
called everyone two months ahead to
confirm everything was going as
planned. I, called a month ahead, two
weeks ahead, a week ahead, days
ahead. The conversations,
were brief: these were
confirmations, not des-
perate calls. I just needed
to know that whatever I
was not in control of was
being accomplished.
In the end, the party
was a success — not per-
fect — but memorable,
personal, lovely and fun.
And Raquel was very
happy. She felt special,
which was the greatest
outcome we could have
ever hoped for.

• Invitations: The invi-
tation looks complicated,
but was really quite sim-

CUTTING THE COST

on page C10

"Tradition is
everything at
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3/28
2003

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