Real Events:

How to Throw a COVID-Safe Bat Mitzvah (with a Coachella Theme!)

The Planning Society Founder, Dena Cohen, was asked by her client, Jennifer, to help pivot her daughter’s New York Bat Mitzvah into a micro-Mitzvah celebration. The duo brainstormed what kind of party would not only be COVID-safe, but also fun, and Dena (being from Southern California) knew that Coachella would be the perfect theme, especially for a Bat Mitzvah girl named Ella! 

Here’s how one mom created a super safe and socially distanced “mini Mitzvah” with a festival theme…

Brainstorm new ideas that will be conducive with COVID.

“I was really stuck trying to figure out how to reimagine this event,” tells Jennifer. “It had to be small and outdoors, and I didn’t want a simple luncheon or dinner.”  Jennifer worked with Dena to conceptualize a festival-themed mini party since Ella has a love for both music and the outdoors!  

Find a safe venue to match your new theme.

Ella’s mom secured a “glamping”-type experience at Collective Retreats on Governor’s Island in New York. When it came to a theme, Dena explained that “in New York, Coachella isn’t a popular theme for Bat Mitzvahs like it is in LA, but it was the perfect theme for this particular venue.”  The venue is mostly all outside but also tented for shade, and in the case of light rain, there is a pavilion which was decorated with festival-style decor and florals. “Once we found Collective Retreats, the Coachella part seemed to follow pretty quickly,” tells Jennifer.  “This theme also lent itself to a casual gathering, and I really wanted everyone to be relaxed and have a good time together without fussing too much over the outfits, etc.”

Pack the schedule.

After a very small group of friends and family took a 10-minute ferry ride to Governor’s Island from New York City, they had a packed schedule from start to finish!  Guests played lawn games like corn hole (custom with the Coachella logo), they were served campfire s’mores and hot chocolate with custom Coachella mugs, and also given glow sticks, of course. The family also Zoomed in friends and relatives who were unable to attend in person, had a virtual candle lighting, showed Ella’s montage and virtually toasted Ella. It was important to have multiple activities planned since there was no dancing.

Serve food that lends itself to the theme of the party, in individual servings.

When you are in New York, individual boxes of pizza for your guests are a must. Jennifer also served fun festival foods like brisket sliders on brioche buns, grilled cheese and tomato soup shooters, truffle fries and salmon skewers. After dinner assorted cookies, cake pops, brownies, rice krispy treats and a Coachella cake filled the dessert table. There was also “The Flower Child” cocktail and other Coachella-inspired specialty drinks for the adults and a mocktail for the teens!

Provide custom hand sanitizers, masks and additional thematic merchandise.

Lastly, one really great way to bring in a little fun (and customization) to the mini Mitzvah is to hand out custom hand sanitizers, masks, hoodies and tote bags with the Coachella/festival theme for your guests to bring home!

Happy planning!

Xx, The Planning Society


Planning: The Planning Society & Travelesq // Photographer: Peyton Photography // Venue: Collective Retreats // Florals: The Fern Botanica


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