The Brode/Krugel Bat Mitzvah

The Brode/Krugel Family of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, recently celebrated their daughter Darby Krugel’s Bat Mitzvah the weekend of May 15th and 16th, 2015. Darby’s theme, Books & Bling – Stories & Sparkle, combined Darby’s love of books and appreciation for all things that glitter.

Darby’s pink and sparkly invitation set the tone for the entire weekend. Darby’s name was laser cut into the top pink layer of the invitation, which allowed silver sparkle to shine through. The theme was introduced in the party card, which read, “Chapter 2: The Party” and the response card, which read, “Darby’s story is just beginning … We hope you can be a part of it.”

The Friday evening service was held at The Birmingham Temple in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Darby chose Patricia Polacco, an award winning children’s author and illustrator, as her Bat Mitzvah hero. Darby presented a meaningful speech about the humanistic value of acceptance where she related the many lessons learned through Ms. Polacco’s books and life experiences. Darby’s parents, Heidi and Joel, sister, Cami, rabbi, tutor, and teachers all lit candles during the service. The oneg following the service and Sunday brunch were both hosted by Darby’s grandparents.

Darby wore a beautiful necklace to the service which was given to her great-grandmother, Dorothy Fishman, by her great-grandfather, Morris Fishman, for their 50th wedding anniversary. Darby was named in memory of Dorothy and Morris.

Darby’s mom Heidi was surprised that Darby was nervous on the day of her Bat Mitzvah. Darby, a performer since she was three, never exhibited signs of stage fright. Luckily, Darby brought books to the service, which relaxed and comforted her. Heidi suggests that families plan ahead with activities that are calming to the Mitzvah child. This will help alleviate any nervousness or stage fright.

The party was held at Bay Pointe Country Club in West Bloomfield, Michigan. Darby’s mom, Heidi Brode, her grandmother, Penny Brode, Debbie LeClaire and Jon Gerych all worked together to bring the Books & Bling – Stories & Sparkle theme to life. Heidi and Penny were the perfect party planning team and had lots of fun shopping, glittering, painting, bedazzling, meeting, rhinestoning and planning.

The creative entrance to Darby’s party was made to look like a bedroom. The entrance included bookshelves, decorated books, bookends, photos of Darby reading, a nightstand, lamps, and a white chair and ottoman, which was used as a unique and fun sign in board. Friends and family loved signing the chair and ottoman, which are now in Darby’s room and her favorite place to read.

Darby’s place cards were bookmarks made with pink and silver sparkle cardstock. The place cards were displayed on big, foam core, open books made by Debbie LeClaire. Jon Gerych made a beautiful centerpiece which included pink roses and lots of silver sparkle.

Debbie, Jon, and the rest of Darby’s family worked together on the décor. Heidi, Penny, Darby and her little sister Cami spent hours spray painting, glittering, blinging and covering old books in pink and silver. Debbie LeClaire made huge bookends for the entrance to the party and centerpieces which featured cutouts of Darby from her Pre-Mitzvah Photo Shoot with Justin Munter. Debbie also made a pink sparkle cover for the DJ stand along with a light up sign over the dance floor. Jon Gerych displayed gorgeous flowers on candelabras and in vases, selected pink linens with a sparkly overlay and used ribbon to embellish the satin napkins. Jon provided the family with a beautiful light up dance floor, silver Chiavari chairs with pink cushions, pink drapery in the back of the room, pinlights for the tables and pink uplights. Debbie and Jon worked together to create gobos that said “Books & Bling” and “Stories & Sparkle.” A special family friend gave the Brode/Krugel Family hundreds of crystal candle holders which were placed on tables around the room.

Darby’s montage was created by Jeffrey Schoenberg. The family worked for too many hours to count to get the montage ready and Jeff brought their vision to reality. The montage was played at the end of the Friday night service and though the evening on a monitor near the appetizer and dessert tables. The montage, narrated by Darby’s dad Joel, was fitting with the evening’s book theme and began with Joel reading a bedtime story to Darby and Cami. Although the Brode/Krugels had watched the montage many time before their special weekend, it was still very emotional.

Darby’s sister Cami helped with the candle lighting. Instead of lighting candles, the family chose to turn on book lights. Darby’s candle lighting included 14 candles, each of a different genre. The candles included History for the memory candle, Epic for Darby’s grandparents, Adventure for friends, Fairy Tales for Darby’s parents Heidi and Joel, Fantasy for her sister Cami and Choose Your Own Adventure for Darby’s candle. Darby and her parents worked on the candle lighting together. Since Darby loves Disney, each candle featured a different Disney song.

Dennis from Star Trax kept the dance floor packed all night. Dennis understood what was important to each family member and made the Brode/Krugel Family’s wishes come true. Dennis and the Star Trax team passed out lots of light up items like headbands, hairclips, necklaces, bracelets, hats, gloves, boas, scarves, glasses and microphones. The kids loved receiving prizes, which included hats, Sugarlips tank tops, t-shirts and Malibu Sugar shorts, all with Darby’s logo from Perfect Trading. Other prizes included gift cards, Snuggies, slippers, jumbo stuffed animals, Lululemon headbands, Nike Elite socks, big candy and more.

Both the adults and kids received pink or gray fleece blankets with Darby’s logo as a giveaway. Cathy from Airbrush Stuff customized each blanket at the party. Each blanket had a little book tag that thanked the guests for coming.

In adding to the book theme, Darby’s guests enjoyed making photo flipbooks from Fun with Flipbooks. The flipbooks featured Darby’s logo on the cover.

As a special surprise, John Parmentier made a cake that looked like stacked books in Darby’s favorite flavor, Death by Chocolate. John also made pink chocolate dipped strawberries with sparkly pink sugar dust along with brownies and cake pops covered in pink chocolate, sparkles and gems which were placed on the sweet table. The tables featured pink and silver candies and pink twirly lollipops.

Heidi’s advice to Mitzvah planning parents is to enjoy the process. The weekend goes by very quickly. When Heidi looks back at Darby’s Bat Mitzvah, her memories are more than just the weekend. Most of the memories are of the time the family spent together preparing for the event. The Brode/Krugel Family enjoyed being surrounded by family and friends and will always remember Darby’s Bat Mitzvah weekend as one of the most meaningful and special times of their lives.

As part of Darby’s Mitzvah Project, she volunteered at Book Stock. Being around the books made her happy and knowing that she was helping others made her happier. Darby also enjoyed volunteering at the Roeper Lower School library.