By Shari Zatman | EVENT PRODUCER, EVENT DESIGNER, INDUSTRY EDUCATOR
We love a good movie about bar and bat mitzvahs. There aren’t many of them. Has there been one since “Keeping Up with the Steins”?
One of the most recent mitzvah-centered movies is “Cha Cha Real Smooth” on Apple TV. It’s a coming-of-age story that follows a young man as he tries to find his way in his new role as a “party motivator” at bar and bat mitzvahs.
As a professional mitzvah party planner, I feel there are several important points made in the movie. Here’s my take on three of them:
- VARIATIONS ON A THEME: Right from the start—at the very first mitzvah in the film—the mitzvah girl needed to change her theme because her friend had a similar one. This does happen! I have worked with many kids who decide throughout the planning process that they no longer want or like their original theme. For this reason, I often hold off on committing to a theme and suggest not committing to a theme too far out from the event date. Kids’ interests change.
- FUN FOR ALL: In the movie, one of the main characters is on the autism spectrum and finds it difficult to attend parties because of the noise, lights, and overstimulation. It is always important to remember that not all kids are the same, and, therefore, they may have different needs than others when they attend a party. When I am onsite at one of our mitzvah events, I routinely look around to make sure all kids are feeling included. If someone is sitting out, I always go check on them to make sure they are comfortable and OK. Sometimes, they just need a break, or maybe they need encouragement to participate with others. If you are aware of any kids who will be attending who may have special needs, it is fine for the host of the party to reach out to the parents of the attending child to ask how they may be able to accommodate making them feel more comfortable at the event.
- GET THE PARTY STARTED: This movie emphasizes the importance of a good “party starter.” In “Cha Cha Real Smooth,” this is the person who encourages the kids to get on the dance floor, leads the games, and builds the energy in the room. Oftentimes in real life, this is done by the party’s DJ or emcee. No matter who has this role, there is no doubt it’s important.
Shari Zatman is an event producer with more than two decades of experience. She owns two companies: Perfectly Planned by Shari, which focuses on luxury events (like weddings and mitzvahs), and Eventful Event Producers, which focuses on corporate and non-profit events. Her latest venture is event training, coaching and consulting for event and hospitality professionals. She created a handbook and seminars to work with them to identify problem areas, create solutions and share best practices.