Party Vendors (Sweet 16, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Birthday, etc)

Party Vendors 
(Sweet 16, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Birthday, etc)

All Around Support :

For information about things like locations, and anything else about bar/bat mitzvah planning, a great resource is local parent Audrey Korelstein. She's primarily an educator but she knows a lot about what goes into the process, from start to finish, and about both the service and the celebration. For my daughters, she created the prayer books we used, helped develop the content of the service (we did a combination of traditional and original things), helped my girls with their Torah commentaries, made the invitations and the centerpieces, and was invaluable in countless of ways. I don't know anyone else who does what she does. Her email is ask376@yahoo.com.

and from Audrey, herself :

It's easy to get all the items you refer to if you live in Brooklyn, although the internet also provides easy shopping. For yarmulkes (kipot), you can visit Eichlers on Coney Island Ave just a bit south of Ave. J. They have a huge range, from plain to beyond fancy. If you want your son's name and bar mitzvah date on them, they can do that too. They also carry tallit and clips, if you need to get those items too. I don't have a personal connection to the store; it's just one of the biggest that's fairly close. There are other places as well-- look in the phone book under Judaica.

For invites, there are many paper/card shops that can create your invitations, but you need to act soon, as you probably know. I like two stores in Manhattan on West 18th Street--Print Icon and another a few doors down, PaperAccess, I think. There are lots of paper choices and invitation ideas to look at. Again, you can also do your shopping on the web for invitations, or use the web to getter a better sense of what you want. Just google bar mitzvah invitations and prepare for a gazillion sites. After visiting a few, you'll see that styles repeat.

Party favors can mean a variety of things, depending on how you are shaping the celebration. If you are creating a theme party, then favors often tie into the theme. Another choice is whether you want favors that kids might play with during the celebration, or goody-bags at the end. If you want to provide something for adults, then that's another set of decisions. To start, there are the typical spots like Oriental Trading, but great options can also be found all over. It really depends on the kinds of things you have in mind.

I can talk about this for a long while, so contact me if you're interested.

A disclosure here: I'm an educator who works with parents and kids on bar/bat mitzvah preparation. I provide d'var Torah support, help parents design and create prayer books (siddur) for the day of the service, teach parents about the content of the service and the bar/bat mitzvah rite of passage, and make sure all the Jewish elements are in place at the service and celebration. I've also made invitations and helped on the party props and planning. My son, too, became a bar mitzvah last May, as well, so this kind of stuff is pretty much in the forefront of my mind. I'm happy to point you in the right directions if you want to do it on your own, or help you with aspects of the details that don't appeal to you.

DJ Recommendations :

(See "DJ Hiring Tips" on the American DJ Association website. http://www.adja.org/general/djHiringTips.asp)


last year, for my son's bar mitzvah, we used Scott of Rhythm of the night. he
was great--very nice to work with, very competitively priced and everyone had a
great time.

Rhythm of the Night
Scott Bragin
718-748-6706 or
516-569-1441
_______________________

For both of my sons' bar mitzvahs, we had Scott Bragin (Rhythm of the Night). He was great, and is also used by many Beth Elohim families. Her can be reached at either 516-569-1441 or 718-288-5043

___________________________

We were delighted with Larry at Havin' A Party, (718) 251-0500. They've been
around a long time, they know their stuff, and my son's classmates (mostly a
downtown Brooklyn/Manhattan crowd) were extremely happy campers.

__________________________
We used Havin' A Party in Canarsie for my son's bar mitzvah in June. They were
great. Larry (the owner) emceed and kept the party moving with lots of games,
the kids danced non-stop, and the music was loud but not deafening. He led a
spirited hora, did the cadlelighting, etc. I recommend him highly.


________________________

we liked EJtheDJ - you can find 'em online. they do a lot of gigs at garfield temple. not cheap but then if you're hiring a real company as opposed to a 20 -year-old guy with a turntable, none of 'em are. I say, skip the dancers to save money. you dont need 'em, and you'll save a bunch of dough.

________________________

We were very happy with International Sounds (www.internationalsounds.com) The owner George was very easy to work with, they were a little less expensive than some of the other standard bar mitzvah djs and made a great party for us.

________________________

I used Lightening Shakes for my older son's and will be using them for my
younger son....I thought they were amazing, and all in attendance said the same.

_______________________

We just had our son's Bar Mitzvah a couple of weeks ago. We used
http://www.avissoevents.com because we'd had such a good time at another Bar
Mitzvah where they did the entertainment. They offer all the bells and whistles,
if that's what you want. We're *not* into all that and chose to have only a DJ
and MC but it was great! Frenchy, the MC, really made the party. The kids had a
ball!

_________________________

We used one of DJ Jeff Yahney's staff (he has a website, just google him) for my son's bar mitzvah almost two years ago. It was quite expensive, but worth every penny. We did without centerpieces and I hired a friend's daughter (photography major at Bard) to take pictures, but splurged on the DJ and I'm glad we did. The DJ really makes the party. He got everyone up and dancing, including all the teens. They're also familiar with all of the rituals of a Bar Mitzvah and will be the MC's and guide you through the event. They were wonderful! Have a ball!


__________________________

We used Kenny Mendez, who is also a teacher at my daughter's elementary school,
at her bat mitzvah:
KennyBJammin @ aol.com

He will do exactly what you want. He asked for the songs on my daughter's ipod
and loaded them all up.

__________________________

We used Richie Hart richiehartevents@yahoo.com
and we had a great time.

The difference between the DJ's and a Band is how much of a kids party do you want it to be Some of the DJ's have music for the older crowd to dance to but most seem to focus on the kids and a lot of games and dance contests

_________________________

DJ - Avissoevents.com (516) 798-8880. We had a DJ and an MC, but they also have all the bells and whistles if this is what you want. MC, Frenchy, made the party.

_________________________

we're looking for a service that will do a dance floor/kids' casino set up for a bar mitzvah. can anybody recommend?

Try Sasha at the address below. Her company provides these kinds of services for private and corporate events.tell her Sharon Enlow sent you
snanus@mindspring.com - Manhattan Perfoming Arts


_______


We went through a lot of DJ options and they ran about $1,500.  However, we found a wonderful DJ through my younger daughter's MS teachers.

His name is Robby.  He is far less expensive, helped us out in a pinch, and was the nicest person.  He was very easy to work with.

845 300 4744
djrob323@hotmail.com

He has my highest recommendation.

____________

I highly recommend a young man named Nerenkar (Kevin) Bisnauth. He is a recent graduate of my school and DJs professionally. You can contact him directly at 347-233-6544.

___________

We love the DJ Hard Hitting Harry.  Our child went to school with his daughter.  I recommended him to a friend for her son's Bar Mitzvah because he wanted a, "real", DJ so everybody could dance like they were at a club.  Harry and his team were great.   He brought all the gear and she even had him handle some video at the party, if you want that as well.  He has a cute recording explaining what services he offers on his webpage:  http://www.hardhittinharry.com/  


Photographer Recommendations

I just got the slideshow of photos from my daughter's bat mitzvah last weekend
and they are truly fabulous. I found the photographer via another list (fgkids I
think) and she was very, very reasonable.
amy@amybolger.com

-----------

There is someone named Jen Davis.  Her site is something like Jendavis Photography.  She takes great pictures.  She is not cheap, but she is not overpriced either.  Her pictures are great and she is absolutely lovely.  I would use her again.  

__________

I recommend Marion Goldman   212 989 5377.    She is based in Windsor Terrace and does an excellent job. 


__________


I have a ownderful Photogrpaher recommendation to make. Zire Photogrpahy &
Graphics have taken alot of sweet sixteen photos. He's not only affordable but
great with teens and their eccentric tastes. :)
Check him out here: http://www.zirephotography.com




Party Space Ideas

The Old Stone House (set in Washington Park, next to J.J.Byrne playground on 5th Avenue, between 3rd and 4th Streets) is very affordable and has adequate space for a kids’ party. Also lovely for weddings or Bar/Bat Mitzvahs (adults can be downstairs while kids have the upstairs).

________________________

Hi. Several parents we know have had their teens' dance parties at the Lyceum on 4th Ave, near Union Street. We did not consider it because of price (which I forget right now, sorry). I believe rent was for a 4-hour period

_________________________

I think BAX on 5th Ave.and 8th St. is a great space...and you can save on the cost of a sound system.

_________________________

Spoke the Hub rents out their space-- my son went to a bat mitzvah
there and it was a big space and perfect for a dancing crowd. have no
idea what it costs but I wouldn't think it would be very expensive.

_____________________

The old first reformed church - may seem like an odd choice for a bat mitzvah party but they have a great space in their lower hall... Club Loco (now defunct, sadly - I think) used this space for their Teen rock concerts and it's great ... Needs some decorating but they have a little podium that can be used for a band or d.j. and they also have an attached kitchen if you need to use it....

I used to have the rental fees but can't find them in my email anymore but I remember thinking it was pretty reasonable.


___________________

There is this new place that also hosts kid and teen events.
___________________

We loved the Grand Prospect Hall for our son's bar mitzvah luncheon in September, but they are far from inexpensive. Just as everything has gone up recently, their prices have, of necessity, increased dramatically over the past few years. Of course, your idea of inexpensive may be different from mine, but it was approx. $100 per person (dairy/parve menu, including alcohol). They were a real pleasure to deal with -- extremely professional and very good-humored. If you want kosher food, it's much more, but that's true everywhere.

We had a kid party separate from the luncheon, which kept the cost down (no kids at the luncheon except family); if that's of interest to you, we had it at Tavern on Dean in the back room. The food was great, the kids had lots of fun, and Mick and his staff were wonderfully accommodating.

A friend just had theirs at Tempo, but it was a luncheon, not a party per se; they had a kid party at the Underwater Lounge at the Water Street Restaurant in Dumbo. I don't know how many people it can hold.

________________________


We had a beautiful reception in Il Fornetto on Sheepshead Bay. Not the most
traditional place to have a Bar Mitzvah - an Italian restaurant - but it was
gorgeous and we had a blast.

_______________________

We used the Hudson River Yacht Club in Bergen Beach -- which is all the way down Avenue U, past Kings Plaza -- and it was very lovely (and quite reasonable). The room was recently redone and is very pretty, with doors that lead onto the dock. The guests can go outdoors, weather permitting. Our party was only 55 people but I've been to parties there where 100 are seated comfortably. There's room for a DJ, dancing, etc. The caterer they use is excellent, too.

_____________________

Party space - Sirico's Caterers in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn. Not the most traditional spot for a bunch of Jews, but the food was great, we were treated very well, and the price was reasonable. If you don't have to pretend you keep Kosher, check them out. (They also include balloon centerpieces in their price.)

_____________________

We're having our daughter's at Deity. It's a terrific space and the fellow who runs it is really accommodating. We're very excited.

_____________________


My daughter (and many others from her synagogue) had her party at the Water Street Restaurant in DUMBO (http://www.waterstreetrestaurant.com/). I dealt with a guy named Ry who was very low-key and easy to work with. This was a couple of years ago, so I can't be sure he's there anymore.

Their private party room downstairs worked well for our needs. The kids pretty much took over the center dance floor area and the grown-ups had the banquets. It was a bit loud for some of the older family members, but they just had to deal - it was primarily a party geared towards the kids.

I'm pretty sure they have all the lights and DJ equipment you'd need there already, and because they're a restaurant they took care of all our food & bev needs, so no outside catering, except for a cake. We had one delivered from the Chocolate Room on Court St. (they were also great to work with). We also brought in tchotchkes from a party store to decorate, which was pretty inexpensive and fun (Mardi Gras beads, and stuff like that to spread around).

We had our party in the evening, but they're also available for afternoon parties if you're looking to do something directly after the bat mitzvah itself.

___________________


INVITATIONS

If you're the creative type, you can create your own original and have it printed. I incorporated a piece of my son's artwork and brought the Illustrator file on a flash drive to Print Icon (212) 255-4489. They did a great job with a very short turnaround time.

And if you're really creative, get inspired by the tallitot on judaiquilt.com.


DRESSES

Loehmann's, Century, Marshall's often have good deals, esp in after-holiday sales
Much depends on how fancy the day/evening will be -- both of my daughters had skirts/tops for shul and dresses for their parties. For one, we shopped the day after Christmas and got great, great stuff (at Lord and Taylor). Best score, though, was my 2d daughter's fantastic post-prom dress (after prom season, before the bat) that we got for $50 at Loehmann's -- great dress, great find, great price.
And a caveat: Remember that yr daughter's a young teen -- may not have finished growing, and may not have the same aesthetics in 6 mo as she does today. So it's not like buying a great party dress for yourself that you'll wear for years with pleasure -- it may just be a one-shot 'costume,' never to reappear (beyond the photos, that is). So consider your investment, esp if you're looking at swanky shops with big price tags.


________________
My daughter is a little older, but I wound up at the Loft and got a
beautiful skirt and fancy cami with a sweater over it. We couldn't
find a dress. This was for her Sweet Sixteen.

_______________

we got one daughter's at bloomingdales, one at all dressed up (in westchester)

_______________

Also Daffy's near Target Mall in Brooklyn has some hip European and Designer
stuff at good prices.

_______________


If you have a car, you might want to go to Roosevelt Field in Nassau County,
where there is a variety of stores, including department stores at different
price levels.

My daughter's bat mitzvah ceremony and party was last April. We went looking in
January but it was very difficult--between seasons with just picked-through
winter stuff in the department stores. Much better looking for spring stuff in
Feb and March.

Also, I found it extremely helpful to look online with her, so we had an idea of
what kind of styles were available. Also helpful if you see stuff in the stores
that you like but can't find the right size--usually the selection is better
online. She wound up selecting a strapless dress and then bought a nice dressy
sweater at Daffy's in Atlantic Terminal (near Target) to cover her shoulders.

______

We had luck at Loehmann's (Emmons Avenue in Sheepshead Bay) and Fox's (Kings Highway near Coney Island Avenue).