beauty + romance
beauty + romance meet
a guide to simchahs
Budget from page C22
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219 N Old Woodward
two items that will be your "wow factory
You can then use the smaller items to
illustrate that and drive the theme home.
A really talented DJ is of paramount
importance. A DJ who keeps the kids
engaged and dancing all night long is
going to give them a really fun evening.
You don't need much else if the DJ is
talented and experienced. He will do
games and contests, or teach the kids
So, if you don't have the extra money
to add kids' activities, make sure you
choose a wonderful DJ.
Local talent is always less expensive
than bringing in people from other loca-
tions so look for DJs or bands in your
area. If you are really on a bare bones
budget, have a friend put together a
great playlist on a solid iPod system, or
do it yourself, but you'll have to arrange
for a player and speakers.
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Each venue comes with its own quirks
and deals. When looking for a venue,
make sure to find out if it has a food and
beverage minimum and what that buys
you. Sometimes it's not a great pack-
age, and it would be wiser to bring in a
Many synagogues have function spaces
and charge very little. On the other hand,
don't rule out hotels. If it's off-season
and a hotel has an empty ballroom, you
may be able to negotiate a low-cost
When it comes to food, you should
be realistic about the format for a party.
Think luncheons, food stations or buffet
— not a four-course meal.There are many
interesting ways to present food. You can
get a lot of mileage out of fun street food
— pizzas, a noodle bar, burgers. The kids
will love it, and it will cost you less.
Finding a venue that is closer to home
— school gym, town hall or college — as
well as a local vendor will always save
you some money.
After 35 years in the party-planning
business, there are a few tricks you
Get a planner: Although it may seem
counter-intuitive, a planner can actually
help you save money. A good and experi-
enced planner will help you stay on bud-
get, or let you know that what you want
is not realistic for your budget. A planner
can help you establish priorities within
your number and comes with a working
knowledge of what that number will buy
you. A planner will also have a Rolodex of
different vendors at different prices and
know whom to call.
Use the Internet: The Web is a great
resource, especially for favors. Edible
favors are the least expensive, and you
can create custom labels or wrappers to
make it fun and personal. There are also
a multitude of promotional items, like
T-shirts or drawstring bags that you can
find online now. Depending on the time
of year, there are frequent promotional
sales, and things will likely be cheaper
when bought in bulk.
The Importai Of 'Branding'
If you are really looking to have a lower-
budget party, make it less formal and
make it all about the kids.
You can do a simple and lovely lunch
and a kids' party at night. They don't
really need much to have a great time.
Still invite your friends and family, but the
message should be: This is for the kids.
With that comes a very different expecta-
At the end of the day, your family and
friends are there to celebrate and share
in your joy. You have to be true to who
you are — and to your child. You have to
know your child well.
An expensive party is also not neces-
sary to wow the guests. I recently saw a
candle-lighting that blew me away. There
was no cake, but each guest received a
light-up wand. Guests were called up in
groups, and instead of being asked to
light a candle, lit their wands. At the end,
there were 210 twinkling lights; there
wasn't a person in the room who didn't
have a lighted wand. It was beautiful and
B'nai mitzvah can often be so generic
that the "wow factor becomes what you
do to make the event meaningful. Identi fy
the little thing that people take away that
is unique to your event. That you can do
on any budget. 0
Janie Haas, the founder and president of
Janie Haas Events, has been in the event
planning business for more than 35 years.