It’s bar and bat mitzvah season, meaning your child — and you — will likely be invited to several celebrations.

If you’re in planning mode, attending other people’s parties is a great way to find out what you might want for your family’s simcha. Use a notes app on your smartphone or keep a small pad of paper in your purse to jot notes on the elements you like. This planning hack will put you on the fast track to your ideal celebration.

Here’s what you should pay attention to:

  • Invitations. Does the invitation set the tone for the weekend? Does it express the mitzvah kid’s personality well? Do you like the wording? Keep it and bring it to your discussions with invitation vendors.
  • Music. What songs have everyone on the dance floor? What songs send all the kids to find alternative activities? While some newer songs will be hot when your celebration comes around, those that got a good response in the year prior to your date should still be popular. Note them for your DJ.
  • Party flow. Does the party start with a bang? When is the horah? When is the montage? When do the parents speak? Keep an eye on whether the sequence of events appears seamless or chopped up, and think of how you’d do it the same or differently.
  • Montage. Time the montage on your watch. Is it too long for you? Are kids getting restless? Then make yours shorter.
  • Favors. Do the kids like and keep the favors? Determine whether a favor has been added to the experience and tied in with the theme, or whether you think it was unnecessary.
  • Food. Are the kids going nuts over the dessert offerings? Do the adults at your table rave about a dish? Note them for your caterer discussions.
  • Decor. Do you love the way the room looks when everyone walks in? Do the lighting, balloons, flowers and signage appeal to your aesthetic? Snap an unobtrusive picture if you can, or note the parts you like most for future decor discussions.
  • Play the most/least game. On the way home, ask your mitzvah kid what he or she liked most and least about the celebration. You may be surprised about what stood out and what didn’t.

You might be thinking, “But I don’t want my son/daughter’s celebration to be just like someone else’s!” It won’t be.

Your vendors will work with your family to create a customized event that reflects your child’s style and preferences. But if you loved the game the kids and adults played with the DJ at last week’s party, be sure to mention it to your entertainment partner. If your mitzvah kid loved it, you should have it.

Shelly Danz is the founder and chief party officer of Atlanta Party Connection (www.atlantapartyconnection.com), the premier bar and bat mitzvah resource in the metro area, helping thousands of families to create their ideal mitzvah celebrations. APC connects parents with top vendors, secures exclusive deals and discounts on services, provides party consulting, and produces a twice-yearly Bar & Bat Mitzvah EXPO. The next expo is Sunday, Aug. 27, at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter North in Sandy Springs.