Guest Column

By Jason Kagan and Aaron Payes

All parents want their children’s b’nai mitzvah celebrations to be unique, once-in-a-lifetime events. How do you make that happen?

We have hosted parties for over a decade and have learned dozens of invaluable secrets. The party scene has changed dramatically the past 10 years, and what worked before won’t cut it today.

If you want to have an exceptional and memorable event, we can share five secrets to help you get some of the many important things right.

Jason Kagan and Aaron Payes - Studio B Photography

Jason Kagan and Aaron Payes – Studio B Photography

First, if you want to have a unique experience, you need to seek out the right entertainment company. Look for someone who listens to you and responds with unique ideas. Watch out for companies that tend to feed you generic verbiage.

You’re going to work closely with your DJ and MC, and you want creative people who will bring the action that will make your party stand out. Search for the group that can execute whatever type of requests you have.

A top-notch DJ will have not only bar and bat mitzvah experience, but also nightclub experience. You want someone who has been tested and can handle any situation.

Second, once you think you’ve found the best fit, put the entertainers to the test. Challenge their skills. There are things that happen at nearly every party (e.g., grand entrances, video montages and the hora). Be innovative with how you approach and create these elements. When you introduce them at the party, do something different from just having your MC tell everyone, “It’s happening now.”

Work with your vendors and your entertainers to embellish those moments. Ask them, “What can we do to make the montage neater than just a simple slideshow set to music?” After all, they are the experts, right?

Third, in an effort to throw a party that is special and unique, let me ask you this question: How is your child special and unique? Does your child have a hobby or a talent at which he or she shines? Find that special something and highlight it during the night.

Structure a time to showcase the thing that makes your child so cool. For example, if your daughter is a dancer or your son plays an instrument, allow a few moments for her to show off a dance routine (maybe with some fellow dancers) or stage a rock mini-concert for his grand entrance.

We’ve had huge success using these ideas and have witnessed countless children emerge from their shells, gleaming with smiles. Remember, this day is all about the child. Let your kids be the superstars they are.

Fourth, if you want to go the extra mile, hire a party planner. They are the experts, and they have their fingers on the pulse of the right people to hire to suit you best. They sit down with you and map out a plan to make sure your weekend is stress-free and delivers the best party of your child’s life.

Great party planners and entertainment companies take the time to get to know you and your family. We are genuinely interested in the things you guys like because we want to make sure the party reflects your personality in every way.

Fifth and most important, know that your party has a pulse. Everyone at the party, from your vendors to your guests, plays a vital role in whether that pulse rises or falls. When choosing a party planner and entertainment company, make sure they understand the proper flow of the evening.

Many parties feel choppy and awkward when they continually start and stop. Each activity should flow seamlessly into the next so that the energy level continues to rise. By the end of the night, you’re going full speed, everyone’s dancing, and you have that knock-down, drag-out party that people will be talking about for years.

We had our b’nai mitzvah many years ago, and we appreciate the milestone’s importance in Jewish family life. It’s a rite of passage, a fun celebration and a great reason to have your favorite people around you. It’s not about keeping up with the Joneses; it’s just about creating the best feeling that you’ll remember forever.

Use this advice in your planning process, and you’ll find yourself in the middle of an amazing party.

Jason Kagan and Aaron Payes are the directors of Kagan Entertainment (www.kaganentertainment.com).