After Reed Aaronson returned from Israel, where he experienced his spiritual bar mitzvah ceremony, parents Tara and Richard assembled the potent team of Added Touch Catering and event planner Isabel Bryan to execute his November 2019 party. With five children, this was the Aaronsons’ third bar mitzvah.
Reed became a bar mitzvah at the Western Wall, Tara Aaronson recounted. “It was a beautiful and emotional time of homecoming and family reflection. Reed is a bit of an ‘old soul.’ He understood the solemnity and importance of the occasion, and although his friends were not there, he requested that each child be sent an announcement of his bar mitzvah details with the party invitation. He also asked that everyone in his entire Lovett seventh-grade class be included, which made my heart glad … but gave us some welcomed challenge!”
The Atlanta party hosted 180 children and 100 adults.
Meredith O’Brien, Added Touch’s event producer, recalled, “When designing the menu, we really wanted to play up their theme of ‘R U Ready to Party?’ We spent a lot of time working with them and planner Bryan to develop unique and delicious food stations.
“One of the customized stations was a salad bar with alcohol-infused salad dressings (margarita for the Southwestern salad, Cosmo for the USA salad, and ouza for the Greek salad). No one was getting a buzz, but they definitely gave the station a kick! It was really interactive, as we had live salad bartenders shaking up their dressings, fresh on the spot.”
Added Touch CEO Sandra Bank echoed, “One of our inspirations was a ramen station from our beloved Buford Highway. We had a chef making noodles live for guests, who then got to add their own broth and toppings. This was our first time doing this station on such a large-scale event, and it was a huge hit!”
Although much of the food and design with golden, waving Chinese cats echoed an Asian theme, Bryan designed multiple stations where East Coast meets West Coast with Argentinean dishes, poke bowl bar, cauliflower-crust pizza and more following the passed steamed vegetable pot sticklers and spicy chicken stuffed into fortune cookies.
The Stave Room, in the Armour-Ottley drive area, is a blank canvas. Master planner Byran, who operates out of New York and Atlanta, is known for being an out-of-the-box thinker.
Tara said, “The custom red-carpet entrance ‘Born to Party,’ was not a declaration of who Reed is as much as an invitation for all to celebrate. Looking at it just made you grin, and people were campaigning to keep it until the end!” The 3-foot-tall, free-standing letters for guests to sign became accent tables in Reed’s teenage room at home. The jaw-dropping Chinese noodle shop was revealed from behind drawn curtains with red Chinese lanterns and Lucky Buddha beer bottles filled with flowers, and tons of candles like a movie set.
Dessert was an “Ice Cream Experience,” based upon a Neapolitan world. Bryan brought in a soft-serve vendor with three flavors.
The theme was carried through in 10-foot-wide sections replete with coordinating draping, lighting and furnishings.
“Sandra Bank finished the dream with artfully displayed toppings and sweets,” Tara said. “Ropes with jewelry store-styled guards built anticipation until the dessert experience opened.”
Favors were insulated water bottles that were custom hand-engraved on site.
Button It Up also created a photo booth based on a New York model of mirrors, creating an infinity effect. And Todd Parker with Picture It This Way Productions created a comedic scripted movie.
Tara’s advice to b’nai mitzvah families is to invest in hiring a planner. “I know what I do and do not like; but I was not prepared to take on the stress and enormity of overseeing the planning and producing of another large-scale event. I was attracted to Isabel because of the fantastic feedback about her style and immense creativity. Reed has a lot of interests and charms, but we were never looking to create a particular ‘theme.’ We were determined to make the event kid-focused.”
The question now remains: How will the Aaronsons’ party for Reed’s younger twin sisters’ b’not mitzvah top his?
Planning, Design and Production:
BEE (Best Event Ever)
DJ Rhythm, Rhythm Entertainment
The Studio B Photography
Todd Parker. Picture It This Way Productions