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Just booked caterer for DD's Bat Mitzvah

March 22nd, 2007 at 05:26 pm

Well I had an expensive day, but for a good reason. My daughter will become Bat Mitzvah in Sept. 2008. We've already booked the DJ and photographer for the party that will follow the ceremony. Today, we met with the caterer we wanted to use. We know him and his staff well as they frequently cater events at our temple and we have attended many of those affairs.

We spent about an hour discussing menu options and how to structure the evening and ended up giving him a $1,000 deposit to reserve the date. Since he knows us well, he gave us a nice break. Rather than booking us at the 2008 anticipated prices, he booked us at the 2005 prices. So we will be paying $58/adult and $38/child. The bar will be another $3/head if we provide the alcohol or $18/head if he supplies it. That would bring the total to $76/head. Not bad when you consider that our wedding in 1992 was $72/head. And I know I'll get the alcohol myself and save a few hundred dollars.

Yes, we've had money put aside for this for years. I've got $25,000 earmarked for the affair though I'm hoping we don't need all of it.

7 Responses to “Just booked caterer for DD's Bat Mitzvah”

  1. Joan.of.the.Arch Says:

    Quick! Grow your own grapes and make your own wine!

    I'm putting in grape vines this year. ;-)

  2. livingalmostlarge Says:

    Holy cow. Now I can only guess what a really good of friend's bar mitzvah costs. His was at a super fancy hotel with 200+ guests. You're spending more than I did on a wedding in hawaii. Now I don't feel so bad spending so much! Thanks. Have a super day, those memories are with you forever, treasure them.

    Last family photo I have of my grandpa before he died in January was our wedding. Smile Actually my friend with the bar mitzvah, his grandpa died shortly after as well because I recall seeing his gorgeous photo album of the event.

  3. moneycents Says:

    Mazel tov!

  4. Sharon Says:

    Steve,

    First of all, Mazal Tov, second of all, have you lost your mind? $25,000 for a one time Bat Mitzvah? And you, being frugal? How did the trolly get so far off the track? What kind of message are you sending your daughter? A Bat Mitvah is a rite of passage, not an obligation to spend a year of college tuition in one day. My son's BM will be in '08 also and I will be spending about $6000 and am feverishly looking for ways to cut that cost. It's ridiculous. Who are you trying to keep up with: your daughter, her friends, the neighbors, the Steins? If you spend that kind of money (having it is irrelevant), you will be undoing 2 generations of frugality. Do you realize that for 1/2 of that you could feed a whole lot of hungry people for a long, long time (I'm not talking about the fressers on the buffet line)? How about making a nice donation to a soup kitchen in your daughter's honor, better yet, have her volunteer in one for her community service project and still scale back the Bat Mitzvah. With some ingenuity you can make a lovely reception for considably less. We are having the reception as a brunch/luncheon right after the service. No alcohol will be served, cutting the cost a lot and sending the positive message to my son that grownups do not have to be liquored up to have fun. I will make the centerpieces myself and am having just one DJ. I will also make my own invitations and have disposible cameras at the table instead of a costly photographer. One of my friends will do the video. I'm sure you can think of some other ideas, as well. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah has gotten out of hand and the point of it has been lost. There are whole industries making a fortune on this. It's not right. I beseech you to reconsider; it doesn't have to be that way. Good Luck!

  5. RobertR Says:

    Sharon,

    Frugality is a relative concept. I don't think $25,000 for a bat mitzvah is excessive if it's of value to you. You also don't know what he makes. How do you know he doesn't make $500,000 per year? Then it's only 5% of one year's earnings on a once-in-a-lifetime event. People are also frugal for a reason, whether it be to have more money at retirement, more to pass on, or more to splurge once in a while on big things. I know of many very frugal people who do it for those kinds of reasons. My brother and his wife earn a typical middle-class income, he's in his mid-50s and has a seven figure nest egg. Every other year so he and his wife take a very up-market vacation where they indulge in the kind of luxuries typically only the rich enjoy like suites at 5-star hotels, yacht charters, etc. and like I said their family income is nothing spectacular yet their savings is huge because of frugality in other places. If you think teaching your daughter to have a good respect for money will come from just cutting costs on everything or you think you will mess them up by occasionally spending a lot on something you are wrong. In fact if you read personal finance blogs like I do the overwhelming majority of people who have had debt problems were young people who spend carelessly when they were on their own because they grew up in families that constantly skimped on things and they wanted to experience a more expensive life. Food for thought.

  6. Sharon Says:

    Robert,

    I understand your point to a degree. I saddens me, though that so many people feel that they MUST spend that kind of money on a Bar or Bat Mitzvah party. The point of the whole B.M is lost. The boy or girl automatically becomes a Bar or Bat Mitzvah with or without ceremony; with or without a party. It is an automatic. What I have seen here is someone who is so frugal as to question a $1.00 purchase. I have to ask myself, what happened here? Where's the balance? If I were reading a conspicuous consumption blog, then $25,000 would not be out of place. Here, it is, so I can't help but assume, perhaps incorrectly, that there are outside forces at play, here, like peer pressure or the erroneous assumption that this sort of thing is a must. It is so inconsistent with the way they live their lives. How much the annual household income is, is completely beyond the point. They have chosen to live according to certain values. I just feel that they are compromising those values, perhaps unnecessarily.

  7. Caroline Says:

    We spent about that much on my son's Bar Mitzvah in 06 and I don't regret it. It was a fabulous day from beginning to end and far from over the top. I did make the centerpieces myself (baskets of items to be donated to various charitable organizations). And the idea of the purpose of the day was in no way lost. Believe me, to some, 20-25K is rather conservative. Things are so expensive today. To me, it was a lot of money, but well worth it!

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