Twin City Mitzvahs asked some of the top experts in the Twin Cities questions that many of our readers have inquired about this year.
Q: What is the best way to get the party started?
A: “Start exactly on time. Your DJ should play an upbeat, current song and your MC should be on the microphone, from the start, welcoming guests to the event and identifying activities happening that they will not want to miss. Once the kids have arrived, invite them all on the dance floor to play a game – this really breaks the ice and leads to high energy, fun events for all!”
Expert: Becky Salita, Owner | A-List Entertainment & Events
Q: How do you capture the perfect mitzvah photo?
A: “For me, capturing the perfect image of a family means capturing the honest, heart-tied beauty of who they are together and understanding that is different for every family–authenticity, and connection are everything.”
Expert: Chime Costello, Photographer | Chime Costello Photography
Q: What is a must-have photo for a mitzvah?
A: “When photographing a mitzvah, there are several must take shots: from the Bar or Bat Mitzvah child holding the Torah to a warm embrace by Bubbie at the Arc. Be sure to capture any special ritual items, such as a tallis passed down from generation to generation… L’Dor Vador… or a special Yad received as a gift, to be used for the first time by the Bar or Bat Mitzvah child chanting Torah!”
Expert: Sue Lund, Photographer | Sue Lund Photography
Q: How do I know what food to serve? Buffet or Plated?
A: “The more formal the event, the more appropriate a plated meal is for the occasion. Table service allows for better conversation between guests and maintains consistent serve times for each individual. A buffet is better when the planner is unsure about the dietary preference of their guests, then they may decide to offer three entrees (chicken, beef, and vegetarian) to appease everyone.”
Experts: Linda Nelson, Director of Catering | Minneapolis Marriott West
Q: What is new on the catering scene?
A: “Mash-ups are on-trend—combine two different styles of cuisine into one pleasing dish. Try a “Chewish” (Chinese-Jewish cuisine), Indian-Middle Eastern, Chinese, and Latin food mash-up menu. In addition to mash-ups, try custom international stations. Mixing many cultures into one event based on the clients’ travels or their experiences. It adds a personal touch to the event.”
Experts: Rachel Bruzek, Senior Creative Event & Trend Specialist | D’Amico Catering
Q: When should I begin looking for a venue?
A: “You can start looking at venues up to two years in advance. If you are booking a prime wedding month, then be prepared to book 18 months in advance.”
Expert: Janna Cave, Director of Sales | Pinstripes
Q: What is one question people overlook asking when choosing a venue?
A: “Taxes! There are so many things that are taxable that you would never think of! Biggest one… service charge is taxable in the state of Minnesota!”
Experts: Kate Anastasi, Business Development Manager | Radisson Blu Mall of America
Q: How do you choose the right music for your guests?
A: “Playing the right music is vital to making any event successful. It’s a good bet, not every guest will request the same playlist from other events they’ve been to. Experience and knowledge of many types of music are important, but knowing music will not guarantee success. If you do not know your crowd, then you are guessing what the guests will enjoy. This is where planning comes in, take your event to the next level by taking the time to plan the event and discuss the music. Just having a 10-15 minute conversation about music selection will often guide the DJ in the right direction.
Expert: Robert “Sarge” Gallo, DJ | Level11