Top 5 Invitation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Wedding invites or any occasion invites got you going crazy? Find out how to avoid these oh-so-stressful wedding planning snafus.

Glittered Bliss

Top 5 Invitation Mistakes and How to Avoid Them 
Whether you’re having your wedding invitations custom designed or even if you’ve decided to go it alone, purchasing invites can be an oh-so-trying process. Hopefully, you will not feel that way when working with Unique Invitations by Deborah.  Between the timing, cost calculations and diction, it’s hard not to lose track of something and make a mistake. Need some help? Here’s five things you definitely want to avoid:

1. Have Realistic Budget Expectations
Avoid wedding invitation “sticker shock” with planning and research. Before you get your heart set  on the “perfect” invite, determine your estimated number of guests as well as your bottom-line budget. Also, don’t forget to consider the cost of postage, addressing, and any additional stationary you may need (such as thank-you notes) when making calculations.  If you get the invitations addressed with your invitations, it will match perfectly (type and ink color) and if your list is correct, you will know exactly how many you need and not make mistakes.

2. Don’t Procrastinate!
A very common mistake in the wedding invitation process is not allowing enough time to choose, purchase AND print the stationary. Invitations should be mailed, ideally, eight weeks in advance, and printing often takes 3-4 weeks. So when should you order them? We say start the process no less than six months just to play it safe. Doing everything yourself? Take the amount of time you think you’ll need and triple it. (After all, you just never know if things will take much longer than expected.)  FYI…I was addressing envelopes years ago and NEVER had difficulty – this one time, my printed decided to constantly jam.  I needed to reprint everything and the new envelopes cost me $35.00.  That’s a lot of jams.

3. Order the Correct Quantity
“Correct quantity” not only means too few invitations, but also too many! When placing your order, be sure to account for late additions to the wedding, lost invites and keepsakes. It’s generally suggested that you order 10-15% more invites than you think you need. Quick tip: Avoid ordering too many invitations by organizing your guest list by couple and family rather than individually.

4. Avoid Typos (Duh!)
Proofread, proofread, proofread! Ask your grammatically-inclined family members and friends to read over your invitation proof a gazillion times, and even when they have given you the thumbs up, look over it one more time. How embarrassing would it be to send out an invitation with your mother-in-law’s name spelled incorrectly? (Can you say mortifying times ten?!?)  Remember the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding???   I highly recommend a proof of your invitation and Unique Invitations always gives you a proof of  your order before finalizing.  I had a client years ago who forgot to put “Dr.” for her father-in-law.  We had to reprint the order.  Expensive mistake.

5. Use the Right Postage
This one seems like a no-brainer, but don’t assume your invitations require the standard postage amount. Compile one complete invitation including any enclosures, and take it down to your local post office to have it weighed before placing postage on the envelope. Ask the post office to verify the size of the envelope.  Sometimes what seems like a standard size isn’t and you don’t want your envelopes returned.  You should also ask the post office about any upcoming postage increases as you may need to buy the Forever Stamp, which is good no matter how many increases are made through the U.S. Postal Service.

Please let me know if this was helpful.  I’d love to hear from you.

Deborah Carasso


To Professionally Address Your Envelopes or Not to Professionally Address them – That is the Question…


Recently we have been invited to numerous weddings/events and I have some envelopes from the past too.  Below shows an envelope printed by the Invitation company and looks lovely and totally matches the invitation.  It’s clear to read so that it will be delivered, the State is spelled out as etiquette advises – everything is done perfectly.


Lovely addressing in black with invitationThis envelope below was addressed on the computer and as you can see, it took a beating through the mail.  Didn’t look so fabulous when it arrived.  The State wasn’t spelled out either.   I also advise going for hand stamping from the post office and hopefully, it wouldn’t arrive so dirty.


Smudged addessGold lettering and invitationThe above envelope is quite lovely.  Only thing the printer wouldn’t do now (this was from a few years back) is they prefer not printing in gold or light inks so that it’s crisp and clear to read.   Notice that the addressing matches the invitation perfectly.


Clear LabelIf you don’t go the route of printing your envelopes, the above is the next best option (I always thought), using a clear label and printing it in a large, clear script font.  Again, the State is not spelled out and it was not hand stamped and arrived quite dirty.  If interested, this is a great reason why inside envelopes are a nice thing as it keeps your invitation clean.


These are the most convincing reasons to get your envelopes professionally addressed – The above came handwritten.  If handwriting your envelopes, I highly recommend purchasing a fine tip calligraphy pen, practicing printing on a 45 degree angle and write your addresses with this.  It’s won’t look professional, but will look a LOT nicer than a simple pen.  (I used to do calligraphy).  The one next to it is a  plain white small label, it isn’t centered, it’s not large print, it’s not in script, State is abbreviated and it looks like an advertisement or something like that – NOT a Wedding Invitation.

Here’s another thought I have – we received an e-vite for an event.  I highly DO NOT recommend this at all and would prefer any of the above envelopes with invitations to that.  With an e-vite, we do not have an address to send a present, we don’t have a printed copy to bring with so that we arrive at the correct location.  An e-vite may be ok for casual things, maybe, but the printed invitation is always BEST.

When planning your big day, there are expenses.  Some you can minimize and some, I, personally, do not recommend.  The company that I deal with has professional addressing which matches your ink color (unless light) and type and my favorite, the ink doesn’t smear.  The cost for the outer envelope, after discount, is only $1.12 each – not a lot of money.  I also have an awesome calligrapher who is only $1.50 each.

I hope that this is helpful.  Contact me to chat, schedule an appointment, pick my brain – I’d love to hear from you. While trying to watch your pennies, I also have a wide range of affordable, lovely invitations – We should talk!

Schedule your Free Consultation today!!  Have an awesome day!

Deborah Carasso

Unique Invitations by Deborah

As you can see from envelopes above, I’m located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  lol



Secrets to a Successful DIY Event

Please note…This was taken from my experiences and not all things were DIY but what I could, I did and I saved quite a lot doing it myself and I felt it was less stressful as I knew how it was made and if something was wrong, I knew how to fix it.

  1.   Plan Ahead – With anything, if you have the time, nothing is stressful.  If you do last minute, Everything is stressful. When I was doing centerpieces for my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, I needed mylar in 3 colors.  The most economic way to purchase this was Christmas door covers in mylar and I purchased them after Christmas at a considerable savings.  I cut them out in the summer while watching tv.  You often have to think outside the box for the greatest ideas and savings.  For my son’s favors, his theme was Super Heroes so when I saw nice duffel bags at Old Navy for $3.95 each, I bought about 50 of them and because of the large purchase, we got a free shirt too.  I walked out of the mall with 7 shopping bags and the phone number for their other store in reading to purchase the rest.  This will age my son, but we even saw palm pilots which were originally $40.00 and slowly reduced till they were $1.00 each.  Again, I purchased 50 of them.
  2.    By having plenty of time, you find that things you hadn’t anticipated needed some brainstorming.  Like how to set-up something, having a large tote to carry your creations in alphabetical order for the tables or will your candles put white spots on the gentlemens’ suits while holding at the cocktail hour.
  3.    If you need to paint something like your centerpiece, foam base or other lovely items, take in mind that you need a warmer temperature for best results to paint and dry outside.  Again, plan ahead.
  4.    If you are using something that’s battery operated, I highly recommend opening up one, even if months ahead and putting batteries in and turning them on.  We opened them up shortly before and had to tweak all of them as they didn’t work and they made quite a lot of noise.  In the end, they worked about 20 minutes.  When I contacted the company, they said all refunds had to be within a short time after purchase.  Oh well – live and learn.
  5.    Just the other day I saw something on Facebook where they had these rhinestone wraps on vases, napkins, candles, chair covers, etc.  Very elegant.  They were selling the ribbon to DIY but were sold out.  Again, if you plan ahead, this wouldn’t be a catastrophe but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen similar items in craft stores and even Sam’s Club around Christmas time.  Purchase it at a great price and do your magic.  I’m sure there are instructions online.  Note…if you use it on chair covers, check to be sure it won’t pull on ladies outfits or be itchy.  That effect would be ruined on those guests whose clothing got ruined.
  6. Keep your eyes open – you may often see the perfect item for your event and think – way too soon – the savings may be worth it to purchase now.  Look in the Wedding idea isle of your crafting store.  Often at Michael’s Crafts, they have free instructions for some crafting ideas.   David Tutera has some great ideas as well as Martha Stewart.  Again, by doing it early, you have time to tweak it and make it your perfect design.
  7.    This one is close to my heart…If you want to DIY or online Save the Dates or Engagement Parties or even programs, go ahead.  If you want to DIY your invitations, I have a much better idea.  If you schedule your FREE Consultation, I will be happy to show you beautiful, elegant, simple, inexpensive invitations which would be printed beautifully and correctly.  You can then bling them up, place them in wraps, ribbons – you name it.  If you use your computer, you could incur costly jams in your printer, smeared ink, wording incorrect, printing off-centered, and not grammatically correct.  I had a client whose neighbor did this as his wedding present to her.  They were horrible but she kept her mouth shut and came to me for professional invitations.  She mailed her neighbors’ one to them and never said a word.  By having the simple, professional invitations, you are still having a diy invitation as you’re doing the cosmetic aspect of it and making a simple invitation stunning and saving a lot of money.  Another thing to consider – when you see the diy stationery – it seems really inexpensive but is it???  Look at how much, how many you get and normally, everything is ala carte too so you would need enough Invitations, envelopes, Response cards, Reception cards – do they all match??  In the end, what’s the total price and can you replace the items if your printer goes on the fritz?
  8.    I highly recommend your asking your friends and bridal attendants to help you as it would be faster and would probably be a lot of fun.  Make a party of it – food afterwards as you don’t want to ruin your hard work.  I had a client who was tying ribbons on her invitations.  To make a crisp bow, she measured the invitation and got a wine bottle with the same circumference  as the invite and tied around the bottle, slipped it off and back on the invitation.  You then have a crisp bow tied with no invitation buckling and a delicious bottle to drink afterwards.
  9.   Do your homework, look online at Pinterest and YouTube, Think Outside the Box, make trial samples to see how it looks and how easy it is.  Have fun!
  10.    Find out if you need a decorator to set-up your creations.  Often it’s an insurance thing and you should know ahead of time.  If using a decorator, have a clear sheet of instructions of how you’d like things.  Also, check with your venue to see if they have any limitations such as hanging things from the ceilings.
  11.    Walk around before event to see how everything looks.  Be prepared with a tool kit of scissors, stapler, tape, glue gun, first-aid kit (just in case) and anything else you used in your creations.  You may even need extras if you have them.

I would love to see what you’ve created and thoughts of my article.  I hope that I’ve been helpful.

Unique Invitations by Deborah


How to Address Formal Invitations

Check out our guide to addressing wedding invitation envelopes correctly—according to etiquette.
by Amanda Black

Determining the appropriate way to address your wedding invitation envelopes can be a tricky process. As a rule of thumb, the outer envelope of your wedding invitation should be more formal, with titles and full names, while the inner envelope is more informal, leaving out first names or titles and last names (if you’re very close to the guest). Find even more ways to address your wedding invitation envelopes below.

At Unique Invitations by Deborah, you can, on most invitations, use their addressing software so that when they arrive, the invitations are all addressed in the same typestyle and ink color and my favorite, the ink doesn’t smear like calligraphy.  The price is excellent as well.

A Married Couple

On the outer envelope:

Mr. John and Mrs. Samantha Holt


Mr. and Mrs. John Holt

On the inner envelope:

Mr. and Mrs. Holt


John and Samantha

A Married Couple With Different Last Names

List the person you’re closest with first on the outer and inner envelopes. If you’re similarly acquainted with both, list them in alphabetical order.

On the outer envelope:

Mr. John Holt and Mrs. Samantha Thuente

On the inner envelope:

Mr. Holt and Mrs. Thuente


John and Samantha

An Unmarried Couple Living Together

As with a married couple, both names should be included on the envelopes, but in this case, each name gets its own line.

On the outer envelope:

Mr. Joseph Hirsch
Ms. Rebecca Strecker

On the inner envelope:

Mr. Hirsch
Ms. Strecker

A Same-Sex Couple

Use the same rules you would for any other unmarried or married couple. If the couple is married, list the names on the same line.

On the outer envelope:

Ms. Celine Elgin and Ms. Jacqueline Purcell


Celine Elgin and Jacqueline Purcell

On the inner envelope:

Ms. Elgin and Ms. Purcell


Celine and Jacqueline

A Married Woman Doctor or Two Married Doctors

If a woman uses her maiden name professionally and socially, the envelopes should read:

On the outer envelope:

Dr. Anne Barker and Mr. Peter Underwood

If she uses her husband’s name socially:

Dr. Anne and Mr. Peter Underwood

If both parties are doctors, you can address the outer envelope:

Doctors Anne and Peter Underwood

On the inner envelope:

Dr. Barker and Mr. Underwood


The Doctors Underwood

Those With Other Distinguished Titles

Apply the same rules you use for doctors for military personnel, judges, reverends and so on. If both titles don’t fit on one line, indent the second line.

On the outer envelope:

The Honorable Jane Kelly and Lieutenant Jonathan Kelly, US Navy

Or if they’re both captains in the military:

Captains Jane and Jonathan Kelly, US Navy

On the inner envelope:

Judge Kelly and Lieutenant Kelly, US Navy


The Captains Kelly

Children and Families

Younger guests can be included on the inner envelope of their parents’ invitation by their name(s)—they should not be addressed on the outer envelope. For girls under 18, use “Miss.” Boys don’t need a title until they’re 18—then they’re addressed as “Mr.”

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Abraham
Daniel, Jeffrey, Miss Brittany and Miss Kelly

Children 18 and Older

They should receive their own invitations (unless they’re living at home with their parents).

On the outer envelope:

Ms. Audrey Abraham


Mr. Jack Abraham

On the inner envelope:

Ms. Abraham


Mr. Abraham

Note: If you don’t include each child’s name, you’re implying that children are not invited. That said, don’t be surprised if some guests still mistakenly assume their children are welcome. If you’re concerned this will happen with your guests, ask your immediate family and bridal party to help spread the word that the wedding will be adults only and add the message to your wedding website. In the end, you may have to follow up with guests who don’t get the message via phone to gently explain the situation.

Reposted by Unique Invitations by Deborah

Schedule your Free Consultation today!!


How to Know What to Wear to a Wedding

From black tie to casual, our wedding guest cheat sheet has everything you need to know about wedding attire.
by The Knot

Wedding processional and guests


Has a wedding invite ever left you clueless about what to wear? Don’t worry, the info you need is likely there—you just have to know how to interpret the dress code wording. Whether it’s black tie, white tie or something in between, here’s a basic cheat sheet for deciding what to wear.

If the invite says “white tie”

This is the most formal of all wedding dress codes (think state dinners and the Oscars).

He should wear:
A tuxedo, a long black jacket with tails, a white pique vest and a bow tie. Formal black shoes and even white gloves for dancing are appropriate.

She should wear:
A formal, full-length ball gown. Glamorous makeup and dramatic jewelry and hair are appropriate.

If the invite says “black tie”

This is the next most formal wedding dress code and usually means the wedding is an evening affair.

He should wear:
A tuxedo. A black bow tie, cummerbund and patent leather shoes are also suggested.

She should wear:
A chic cocktail dress or a long evening gown. The bride, wedding party or close friends can help answer questions about the appropriate dress length.

If the invite says “formal” or “black tie optional”

The wording here suggests something slightly less formal than black tie. This means that a tuxedo isn’t required, but the event is still formal enough for one to be appropriate.

He should wear:
A tuxedo or formal dark suit and tie.

She should wear:
A long evening dress, dressy suit or formal cocktail-length dress.

The invite says “cocktail attire”

This is slightly less formal than black tie and black tie optional, which means no tux required for men and no floor-length gown required for women (unless you’d like to wear a long dress).

He should wear: 

A suit and tie. Lean toward darker hues in chillier months, and feel free to opt for lighter grays or blues in warmer weather.

She should wear:

A cocktail dress or dressy suit or jumpsuit.

The invite says “beach formal”

This suggests an elegant beach wedding—so dress to impress, but also dress for the elements (sun, sand and water). Anything you’d wear to a nice restaurant on a summer night is appropriate.

He should wear:
A summer suit with a linen shirt (no ties required), linen pants (or khakis) and sandals.

She should wear:
A formal summer sundress at tea or knee length with flat sandals. Makeup and hair can be natural.

The invite says “semiformal” or “dressy casual”

Depending on the time of the event, you’ll want to dress somewhere between formal and casual. Wear darker, more formal hues for an evening fete; opt for light colors and fabrics for a daytime wedding.

He should wear:
A suit and tie, dark or light depending on the season and time of day.

She should wear:
A cocktail dress or a dressy skirt and top.

The invite says “casual” or “daytime”

Generally, casual means anything goes—but jeans, shorts and tank tops are probably not appropriate unless they’re specifically noted as acceptable. For the purposes of wedding wear, assume business casual to be on the safe side.

He should wear:
Dress pants with a button-down shirt or polo.

She should wear:
A summer sundress or a skirt or pants with a nice blouse. Makeup and hair can be natural.

Not sure where to begin with your wedding planning? Take our Style Quiz and we’ll pull together a custom wedding vision and vendors to match, just for you. After that, create a free, personalized wedding website to keep your guests informed (and excited!) about your plans, and a time-saving Guest List Manager to organize your attendees. Even better? You can sync your Guest List Manager and wedding website to update everything at once.  

Republished by Unique Invitations by Deborah

Schedule your Free Consultation today!

10 Reasons to Purchase your Invitations from an Professional

1. You will receive Fantastic Customer Service (at Unique Invitations by Deborah you will – Deborah has over 36 years of experience.) Appointments available if in the Philadelphia, PA vicinity.
2. You have the assurance that your invitations will look like what you ordered.
3. The layout will be correct, grammatically and etiquette wise
4. It will be centered correctly
5. You will be sure to order the correct amount – not too many, not too few which is a very costly mistake often made.
6. DIY’s are nice, but it’s a lot of work, jams, ink, smears often happen, etc. You can easily purchase a simple, reasonable priced invitation from Deborah and bling it up/wrap it, tie a bow, etc. like you would one from scratch but it’s professionally printed and you received Deborah’s expertise. Deborah even has rhinestones and pearls at very reasonable prices.
7. If you shop online without service or in a store with minimal employees, they do not have the time to suggest ideas, proper wording, etc. Deborah always takes the time to give fantastic suggestions (look at her reviews). Deborah has the time and loves to help wherever possible.Arlene Love in Bloom Allure
8. Other’s will talk you into buying the moon. At Unique Invitations, Deborah respects your pocketbook and will only advise what you need so you walk out or hang up with her not feeling like you’ve been taken. She knows how expensive events are and wants you to have the very best value for your money.
9. More than invitations – Deborah has Holiday Cards, favors, attendant gifts, wedding items and lots more.
10. No pressure and tons of pleased clients nationwide.

I hope to hear from you soon – please tell a friend!

Deborah Carasso
Unique Invitations by Deborah
215-728-0328 or toll free: 877-837-9122

Schedule your Free Consultation today!!

Planning my children’s Bar and Bat Mitzvah’s

As many of you know, I loved making my children’s Bat & Bar Mitzvah’s.  Stefanie’s was in 2000 and Matt’s was in 2003.  There were some glitches, which I explain, but overall, it was lots of fun for me (I’ve heard others say, not for them).  By making my centerpieces, I knew what they looked like beforehand because I made them, if there was anything wrong when set up, I knew how to fix them which helped keep me calm.  They still weren’t cheap, but they were more affordable than the professionals and Stef’s dolls went to Variety Club for their holiday party afterwards and the Synagogue used the base for their New Year’s Eve parties for years afterwards which made me feel great.  Two mitzvahs!  Matt’s, when finished, we broke them down and gave the kids the posters.

Biggest tip:  If doing a partial DIY Bar/Bat Mitzvah or Wedding, Plan well in advance as to get good prices, sometimes sales are seasonal and if you need painting, the weather has to cooperate.  Also, if planned in advance, except for taking room in your home, it’s a lot less stressful as you have time to be creative, make mistakes and correct them and make things the nicest possible.

Stefanie Carasso’s Bat Mitzvah 11/11/2000

For Stefanie’s Bat Mitzvah, I had a wonderful time making her Tallit, Custom Programs which I sell customized, just ask,  Challah cover (photo shown below) was funny as it was placed on top of challah and I was afraid our uncle would get cut.  (Thank goodness it wasn’t).  I also made CD placecards and it was very hard to figure out a display but in the end, I think I did a great job.   I know, CD’s are not used much anymore, but use your creativity.   I used a black trifold board, put Stefanie’s name diagonally in mirrored letters and put the kid’s placecards in alphabetical order on the board with double sided tape as I felt it could be easily peeled off – I tried hard not to mess up anyone’s clothing.  The adults were on a large piece of foam which I cut to fit in the trifold, made several lines across to hold the cd’s which was made from one cd and then painted black.  Be sure to allow for weather restraints when you need to paint.  It needs to be 70° or warmer.  I then placed the labeled cd’s on the foam in alphabetical order.

Below is one of Stefanie’s placecards display.  At that time, her theme was Stefanie.  She liked Beanie Babies (Little stuffed dolls with cute names – Today’s Pops) (we used a less expensive version) and music – Each table was named a different group.  We weren’t able to get inexpensive music instruments so used the cd’s instead.  Stef was really into music/band/orchestra playing her flute.  The CD’s were actually aol cd’s (another thing you don’t hear of these days) which we put customized labels on with a cd labeling software.  We placed the larger stuffed animal in the center on a foam circle which we painted silver (again, allow for weather).  We purchased the mylar in Stef’s colors after Christmas when the pricing was less.  Some were mylar door covers.  I then cut 4” squares in the summer and about 1 month before the Bat Mitzvah, my friend came over and we hot glued the mylar onto the foam by inserting it in a hole.  Time consuming a bit but pretty easy.  I then tried to figure out how to insert the balloons – I used u shaped pins and had them attached around the back to look like a cage.    We also placed tent cards saying not to take them as they had a home.  Afterwards, the dolls went to Variety Club for their holiday party, which Matt and Stef helped wrap and give out.  This was her mitzvah project.  To be sure they didn’t walk off, the kids received other stuffed animals as their gift with personalized dog tag necklaces.  Below is a shot of the centerpiece.


Stef's Challah Cover

Above is a picture of Stef’s program (middle photo).  Funny thing is she was 6’1” at the time and definitely taller than the Rabbi.  We’re the Land of the Giants!  I’m the shrimp at 6′.  Since these mitzvot, I have created programs with the child’s photos and even sent the file via e-mail for client to print at their locations which was much faster and inexpensive – they just had to assemble them.

Below are 4 of the Tallitot that I’ve made.  Leigh, my husband’s has the Levy Breast Plate which he is very proud of.  It’s actually made on a Christmas Table Runner which is cream with gold and silver filament plaid.  Very nice.  Stef’s is white with iridescent linen and has rayon floss for embroidery and antique beads.  Stef picked out everything in colors I would never have chosen and it’s gorgeous.  Matt’s is like his dads but in black and mine is just beaded flowers on a piece of lace.  Very light and comfortable.  The four corners on Leigh’s and mine have the birthstones of our family on them.  I’m not wearing mine here but I am below as I hadn’t planned perfectly this time.  (Oy!)  Mine was from a simple piece of lace which I beaded, fringed and put tzitzit on.   One glitch here too…I went to clean Matt’s Tallit for his Bar Mitzvah and the black ran all over (indigo dye) making it a nasty grey.  I remade his Tallit in the beautiful silver in 4 months.  Again, having time to tweak is the key.

Matt’s Bar Mitzvah

Matt’s Bar Mitzvah 12/20/2003

Photos below to the right is a poster designed by Al Wiesner, author of Shaloman, a Jewish superhero.  It shows Shaloman, the Y Guys and Matt as a Superhero.   His

theme was Superheros, which he was

into back then.  (actually, at 27, he still is)  Al Wiesner also painted Matt’s tables centerpiece and his kippah to be like Shaloman’s with his name on it.

Matt’s Bar Mitzvah was a Havdallah service on the second night of Hanukah so I made spice bags for everybody, made out of Christmas ribbon after Christmas.  I recommend using pre-made mesh bags as this incurred many burns to my fingers from hot glue but was a big success.  I purchased Matt his own Havdallah set to use at his Bar Mitzvah too.    To make these bags, I cut about 3” of ribbon and folded in half, glued the 2 sides, put the cloves inside and glued shut and placed a ribbon on top.  Because the ribbon was mesh and you could smell through is why I burned my fingers so much.  The glue went through too.  Funny, true story

…Our Hazzan didn’t like to share his Havdallah spice box so often, we weren’t able to refresh ourselves (this is done on Saturday evening services) which is why I made ones for reveryone.  2 weeks later at another Havdallah Bar Mitzvah, instead of the Hazzan using the spice box, he used a bag from Matt’s Bar

Mitzvah.  I thought that was hillarious.

Left:  This is a photo of Matt’s Spice bags which we gave to all guests.  Another nice thing about the programs and bags were it gave Matt’s friends a job giving them them out instead of being kids and misbehaving.  They gave out the kippot too.


Here’s a photo of Matt’s challah cover which I cross-
stitched the challah, the blessing, his name and bar mitzvah date, the Shabbat



and Havallah candles and prayer cup and Havdallah candle.  The plaid design came on

the Aida bread cloth.

I don’t have a photo, but his placecards were for Hanukah.  Every guest received a Hanukah gift of a Hanukah cellophane gift bag with a Hanukah bear, pareve gelt (silver wrap and dark chocolate) and a gold dreidel.  The challenging part of this was transporting them to the synagogue in alphabetical order.  We also had to use 2 long tables to accommodate.  We put the gifts in 2 large, long plastic bins.  Worked out nicely and we had a Hanukkiah (Hanukah Menorah) on the stage lit for the 2nd night.  I also had the Dreidel game on the back of his program and we put some additional gelt and dreidels on the table.

His centerpieces were pretty simple.  Most were 3-d posters of superheros which I taped together in a triangle (challenging part was often, the tape didn’t want to stick – again, allow time to tweak your plans) and placed onto a cake box which I spray painted graffiti style.  I placed the balloons and a disco ball inside.  The disco balls looked nice but I wished I had checked them when they arrived as they were noisy and only lasted about 20 minutes.  Nice thought.  At the end of the night we broke down the posters and gave them to the kids to take home.    The right one was Matt’s table with custom Shaloman pictures which I laminated copies, not the original artwork.

His favors were, in addition to the posters on the wall and the broken down centerpieces, a gym bag (all superheros need a bag for their change of clothing, right?), a 3D drinking cup to match the posters, a copy of Shaloman Comics and a travel tag which I had laminated.  Matt went on a trip from Hebrew School later on and 2-3 kids were carrying the gym bag.  I was happy they were using them and glad they had the tags on.  lol

I hope that you like my ideas.  Both were wonderful parties and we had a blast.  Being creative is very time consuming but very rewarding.

I recommend brainstorming with your child to see their thoughts/likes and think where you can do it yourself.  If you contact me, if possible, I would be delighted to help.  Originally, for Stef who loved basketball, I was going to make a scoreboard out of a Xerox carton and battery operated Christmas lights.  I never finished but it should have looked nice.  I had even purchased white trash cans from the dollar store which looked like basketball nets.  Be Creative!  You can do it!

Note:  At our synagogue, we did need a professional decorator to do the balloons for insurance reasons (the balloons could get stuck in the air conditioning ducts).  The decorator set up things per my instructions, put the balloons we choose and made a few single arches which were beautiful and not that expensive.  Matt even had gold balloons on the stage with his name on it.  My decorator fees were much less than if she had created all herself and you don’t know what they look like until the day of (what if you don’t like it?).  I would love your feedback and feel free to share this post.

Deborah Carasso

Unique Invitations by Deborah