Virtual Bat Mitzvah During the COVID19 Pandemic

Virtual Bat Mitzvah During the COVID19 Pandemic

Posted by EVENTS 4 LIFE on May 15 2020, 10:05 AM

Last week I experienced my first virtual Bat Mitzvah ceremony. Unfortunately, given the current circumstances, young children cannot celebrate their special occasions in a traditional way. Despite parties being canceled or postponed, some ceremonies can still be executed by doing them virtually. To be honest, I was very skeptical about doing the ceremony virtually, but in my heart I wanted to make this a memorable and special event. 

I wanted for Yvonne to experience a unique day. To feel like a queen. I made the call to Yvonne’s father and he was thrilled to meet and listen to the alternative options we had to offer.  It was an interesting experience. Time consuming, yes (since stores are all pretty much closed), but the vendors involved were amazing. Together (the family and I) as a team, had to come up with creative ideas in having to deal with social distancing and regulations. We are still all learning about what we can do in these cases so there were a few challenges. My big joy was the day of the ceremony; to see the smile and happiness of the girl, and her amazing performance. During her Alia la Torah, light rays struck her face. This was a picture that was worth a thousand words. She wasn’t at the synagogue, but God’s presence was felt. I wanted for her to feel the celebration as much as possible. I couldn’t let my frustration let her down just because I wouldn’t be able to work for several months. I should admit that it was a little weird. We were going to have to do several things differently, such as organizing the seating to be at a distance from each other with masks, but we all got excited with the fact that Yvonne will still have a beautiful ceremony. We realized how easy it used to be when you have everything accessible and you have suppliers that make your life much easier. When you have such a big selection of stores that can offer whatever you dream about to help you bring the client’s vision to life. Yet we still found a way. 

All aspects were taken into consideration, and this is what we did to put the ceremony together:

  • Organization:The ceremony itself ran on Thursday at 7:00 AM through zoom with the Rabbi and the audience: We incorporated a big screen for better vision and enjoyment. More than 100 people participated from about 10 different countries.
  • Decorations:Our theme color was a Royal Blue color: in order to fill the space with festive ambiance, I brought in from my inventory a royal blue backdrop that was displayed behind Yvonne. We planned on having dot garlands and her name hanging on it as well.
  • Supplies: After searching in many stores including Etsy and Amazon, I realized I wouldn’t be able to get the supplies delivered to us on time. This was extremely challenging. I wound up purchasing the supplies and together with my assistant Carola Chavez and her saw-machine we created the garland. It wasn’t the traditional simple purchase that can take 15-30 minutes. It took us several hours.
  • Kippot: My clients ordered a personalized kippot for the ceremony at the synagogue. We wanted to do something with the kippot, make it useful so we came up with a creative idea of creating Yvonne’s Hebrew name out of it. The name in English could be ideal to create out of wood and order it, but we didn’t have enough time, so I created her name out of foam board and silver shiny vinyl.
  • Florist:We were fortunate to have Ana from Distinctive Design gracefully volunteer to create a beautiful blue and white flower arrangement for the main table.
  • Make-up Artist:Michelle Shiriki amazingly collaborated on the day of, even waking up at 5:00 AM in the morning to help the mother and daughter look amazing.
  • Hair stylist: Eugenia Art also went above and beyond to collaborate with us the day of. 
  • Food (catering): For breakfast, Yvonne had her favorite food, fruits skewers served on a grass bed, nicely decorated on a wooden box.
  • Something fun we incorporated:We surprised Yvonne right after the ceremony with confetti poppers. Even the guests were excited and surprised with the effect.

After the ceremony, Yvonne returned to her home studies. I really wanted to spoil her and continue her celebration. During the day she got two deliveries, her favorite drink- bubble tea, and a beautiful cake stand with cupcakes, cake pops, macaroons and much more. Her huge smile and happiness were truly satisfying and joyful. Although this experience was new, challenging, and time consuming,  it was very well worth it, as every child deserves to celebrate their milestones in a special way. We all worked as a team, taking into consideration all the restrictions; social distancing, using masks and making sure everything was as clean as possible.

I am sharing my story to you in order to encourage other families to continue planning their kids’ ceremonies. Don’t hesitate, god-willing we can still celebrate our loved ones with a big party in the near future, and we can still be creative and put something fun together that can still be safe. On a personal level as an event planner, my role is to re-invent the industry and educate clients under these new circumstances. Everything is possible but in a different way. It is complicated, and the celebrations will be smaller in scale, but they will still be emotional and special. We must go above and beyond, every child deserves it. 

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