I am often tasked with planning a Mitzvah celebration within a limited budget.  It’s one of the trickiest situations I face.  The costs of the necessities like catering, bar, linens, and DJ always take a big bite out of the total cost, leaving me very little for thematic decor and ambiance.  So what is a party planner to do?  Get creative and use what one has on hand.

In my most recent situation, the theme was New York City!  Knowing that floral centerpieces were going to be too expensive, I opted for something that would capture the feel of New York which could be created easily and inexpensively: New York City Street Signs.

Handmade NYC street signs as centerpieces|sophie-world.com

Using my computer, I created oversized stickers of intersections the client wanted represented. I mounted these on black foam core, cut them out and then attached them to a wooden marshmallow skewer (much thicker than a regular skewer) with my handy dandy glue gun. I then hid the dowel by cutting a black straw down the middle, opening it up, and sliding it over the stick and sign edge.  The tricky part was drilling a hole through the middle of a cork to make the plug that would hold the skewer, but once that was done it was smooth sailing. I slid the dowel through the cork, trimmed the excess wood, and using a clear acrylic tube from my stock filled with colorful gel balls. I used balloon lights from Amazon to add a bit of pizazz.  The base was hidden with a styrofoam disc covered in black duct tape (also always in stock) and the whole thing was placed on one of our revolving mirror stands.

New York Theme Mitzvah Party|Seating Arrangement|sophie-world.com

Now, the express concern of my young Bat Mitzvah was that she and her friends have their own area. So, the parents were relegated to another room for dinner, in other words, New Jersey.  

New York Theme Mitzvah Party|NY&NJ Seating|sophie-world.com

To delineate the rooms I made signs welcoming the guests to both New York and New Jersey.  

New York Theme Mitzvah Party|Street Sign Decor|sophie-world.com

The middle foyer became the Hudson River Bar.  

New York Theme Mitzvah Party|Street Signs|sophie-world.com

Exit signs, created in much the same manner as the street signs, designated adult tables.  

NY theme Party|I Love New York Seating Cards|sophie-world.com

Guests were guided to their tables with little “I Love New York” cards.

We created a photo realistic backdrop for the photo booth, by purchasing artwork from Deposit Photo and then having it blown up by stickersbanners.com.

NY theme Party|NY Backdrop|sophie-world.com

To add a little flair to the buffets, we accented each station with a representation of it’s New York roots - a cut out gate for Chinatown, a glittery tinsel arch for Little Italy, and our Bat Mitzvah gal’s own Jewish Deli.

New York Theme Mitzvah PartyRemy's Delicatessean|sophie-world.com

My favorite item was the candle lighting candelabra that Freda created from layers of black foam core.  Steve built her an “L” shaped stand out of thin wood that gave her the perfect lip for gluing all the various pieces of the skyline.  The candles were mounted in basic candle stands behind the facade.  I thought it gave it a nice, clean, look.

New York Theme Mitzvah Party|Candelabra|sophie-world.com

I and my team put a great deal of time into the creation of all these items, and we were aided by the fact that I had a great many items in stock.  When all was said and done, this decor was created for under $500.00 which I think, is pretty remarkable.

bathroom sign|sophie-world.com

The week before the Mitzvah my warehouse took on a new theme song.  To quote Old Blue Eyes, "if we could make it here, we'd make it anywhere".