Bat Mitzvahpalooza

So for months I’ve been referencing Bat Mitzvah projects for Big Cutie that I wasn’t yet ready to share.  Well the big day has come and gone and was everything I imagined as a Mom and more.  We were blessed to have an abundance of friends and family make the trip from America to celebrate with us here in Tokyo which meant we had a week of celebrating, sightseeing, and of course, food!

And it was spectacular.

I knew Big Cutie was prepared.  She’d diligently studied with little to no prompting for the past year, including waking up early many mornings in Kiawah to Skype with the Rabbi back in Tokyo due to the time difference.  But her poise and confidence on the bima literally took my breath away that evening.

I could go on and on.

But, let’s get to the crafty, party-planning stuff because that’s what this blog is about 😉

{photos courtesy of 37 Frames}

In this digital age, I still felt strongly about sending out a paper invitation.  Big Cutie and I love to peruse stationery stores, and I’ve talked before about how we still send out invitations to almost all events.  I will admit I was surprised at how challenging it was to find what we were looking for ~ we wanted something very girly and appropriate for a 13-year-old, feminine and that also incorporated Big Cutie’s favorite color, turquoise.  Everything was too young or too sophisticated until we stumbled upon perfection at Just Invite Me .  Amber was lovely to work with, and readily turned the Adele Glitter Suite into a Bat Mitzvah invitation for us.

Leah's Bat Mitzvah. October 18, 2014. Tokyo.

Since we had so many out of towners, we really wanted to welcome them in style.  We created hotel welcome bags filled with subway maps, itineraries for the weekend, lots of snacks to help stave off late night munchies when suffering from jet lag and more.  Our favorite item in the bags were “survival kits,” containing band aids, Advil, Altoids, Tums, Shout wipes and tissues.

I found the perfect assortment of labels and tags at Evermine that I was able to customize in a variety of colors, sizes and shapes for a cohesive look at a very reasonable price.

labelsOne of my favorite projects for Big Cutie was the tallit bag I needle pointed for her.  I carried it with me on the subway, to volunteer meetings, and to several different countries in my attempt to finish in time to send it to the seamstress.

Leah's Bat Mitzvah. October 18, 2014. Tokyo.

We had a great afternoon in Skokie, Illinois last May selecting her tallit at Hamakor and my dear friend Lynn of Kanoa Pure Silver worked with me to design one-of-a-kind silver tallit clips with a sakura image.

Leah's Bat Mitzvah. October 18, 2014. Tokyo.

Finally, our last serious shopping was clothing for all of us, but especially for the Bat Mitzvah girl.

It took more legwork than I anticipated, but we finally found the perfect dress for her at Radical Rags in Mount Pleasant, SC.  They were so very helpful, and even ended up ordering us a few different dresses in different colors for Big Cutie to pick from with no obligation ~ isn’t that phenomenal customer service!  The Dress was from Stella M’Lia, who designs specifically for tweens and teens.

We found great formal shoes at the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet and then I blinged up some Converse for her to wear at the reception with mini crystals.


Now on to the party!

Our reception was held at the Decanter Restaurant in the Tokyo American Club.  We loved the set up of the restaurant and the color scheme was perfect for a party for a teenager.

Our guests arrived at the restaurant up an elevator and as the elevators opened a table was set with multiple trays of place cards.  These were made by cutting out card stock shapes with my Silhouette machine and writing names with a white Uni-ball gel pen.  I then attached a bamboo skewer to the back with clear tape and stuck the skewer into a Ferrero Rocher candy.  The candies were set into lucite trays filled with sparkly, purple crushed glass vase filler {I used a small gold dot sticker to indicate vegetarian meals}.

Leah's Bat Mitzvah. October 18, 2014. Tokyo.

The adults sat in the main dining room, where the pink velvet chairs and eggplant tufted banquettes complimented the peacock colors of Big Cutie’s theme.  The beautiful flowers were done by Bloom and Stripes here in Tokyo.  I printed menu cards on cover weight stock paper from Paper Source and rounded the edges with a corner punch, and a peacock feather was added at each setting.  I made the table numbers by painting inexpensive plain wood frames from Michael’s with glitter paint.


The teenagers all sat together in what is usually the restaurant’s bar.  They sat at high top tables, decorated with sequined table runners and cups of rock candy instead of flowers.  The favors served as place cards and were personalized L.L.Bean tote bags, tied to the backs of each chair with a tag saying “Leah’s Bat Mitzvah ~ It was totes fun!”   At the end of the evening, the wait staff gathered the rock candy in cellophane bags and dropped them into the tote bags for the kids to bring home.

Leah's Bat Mitzvah. October 18, 2014. Tokyo.

The kids had their own mocktails and kid-friendly appetizers on the terrace off their private seating area, which was decorated with custom pillows.  These were made with inexpensive plain covers and inserts from Ikea and Silhouette heat transfer material.



On the dance floor there were Mardi Gras beads, metallic top hats and plenty of glow sticks for the kids.  As the girls’ feet became tired there were custom socks they could take home with them, too. {we provided mini packs of ear plugs for adults since we know the kids like the music loud and it’s some times a bit much for the older crowd}


In lieu of a sign-in book, I painted a chair that will become Big Cutie’s desk chair back in America.  The back rungs have her name in English and Hebrew and the date and we had it out for everyone to sign throughout the night.  We then used this chair to lift her and the rest of the family as we dance the hora.

Leah's Bat Mitzvah. October 18, 2014. Tokyo.

Leah's Bat Mitzvah. October 18, 2014. Tokyo.

{check out how we blinged her WalkAid to match her dress!}

There were two other special things we wanted to include for the night ~

One was a birthday cake because Big Cutie’s Bat Mitzvah fell on her actual 13th birthday.  So everyone sang Happy Birthday to her and Yuka at Cookie Hound made her a delicious and beautiful cake.  Check out that hand-painted peacock!

Leah's Bat Mitzvah. October 18, 2014. Tokyo.

The final thing was that we all wanted a large-scale photo booth.  Our amazing photographers, Dee & Tracey offered a fabulous sequined backdrop and together we came up with some very fun props.  I found plain chalkboard thought-bubble signs and painted both sides for a variety of options in addition to the mustaches, lips and glasses.  The prop chalkboard sign {like the lounge sign} was made with my Silhouette machine and vinyl.

Leah's Bat Mitzvah. October 18, 2014. Tokyo.

And there you have it!

The ceremony was inspiring, we were surrounded by people who mean the world to us and the party was a labor of love.  I can’t remember the last time I smiled so much!


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12 Responses to Bat Mitzvahpalooza

  1. Kelly Badra says:

    Wow! Looks like a great celebration! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Looks amazing!! Happy Birthday Leah!!!

  3. Allie says:

    What a beautiful celebration! Leah is beautiful. I love the chair idea, that is lovely. Everything turned out beautifully. How fun!

  4. gena says:

    Happy birthday to your very special girl…May she be blessed with a lifetime of good health and joy!

  5. You outdid yourself! Can’t wait to see how you tweak on this for Cutie 2…

  6. Grandma says:

    It was an absolutely wonderful day and weekend! Everything was beautiful and of course so well organized!!! I smile every time I think about what a wonderful time we had. We couldn’t be prouder of Leah, and happy for the whole family!!!! now we await your arrival back in the states!!!! Happy for us, but sad for you all because you are leaving a place you love, but now a new chapter in your lives begin. We Know you are off to a great beginning!

  7. Valerie says:

    I started following your blog 3 years ago when I needed help with a Halloween costume, and I really love getting craft tips from you. But I must admit, I really love hearing about your girls. I look at that picture of Leah and I see a young woman that is so happy and confident! And she got to wear real formal shoes! Oh how far she has come! I don’t even know you and I am so proud of you and your daughter. LOL

  8. Peach Tailor says:

    I am in love with the idea of painting the chair, having everyone sign it, and having that be the chair she is lifted up on! Brilliant! I will be borrowing that for our future little ones! ❤

  9. Ashley says:

    Wow you are amazing! Everything looked perfect! All the special touches. I don’t think you missed a detail! Can’t imagine how her future wedding will be someday!! Thanks for sharing the beautiful day with your blog readers.

  10. So excited to see you on craft schooling Sunday, and Wow, what an amazing bat mitzvah celebration you put together, truly special! That silhouette machine was certainly worth it if just for this! Hope to see you again soon at the party, and I still remember that Purim peacock costume you shared years ago, so it was fun to see that the peacock love still lives on!

  11. Thank you so much for sharing images from this wonderful celebration! EVERYTHING LOOKED LIKE PERFECTION! We just happened upon it while researching a local fashion show fundraiser that we participated in last weekend. The Bat Mitzvah looks amazing in our BETH dress in Peacock. We’d love to share her photo on Stella M’Lia’s Facebook page and Instagram feed if that would be ok with you. We are just thrilled that she chose to wear our dress for her special day (and thank Radical Rags in Mt. Pleasant for taking such good care of you).

  12. rachel says:

    wow so nice Bat Mitzvah celebration photos…

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