After 9 amazing years of dancing at Bat Mitzvahs, I had the awesome experience of planning & dancing at my own daughter's party.
Experiencing everything as the hostess/mother was a brand new angle, and of course, I learned a few things along the way.
So, let me share some of my lessons. I hope they'll help you:)
Chessed/ Mitzvah Projects really add meaning to a party. I got so many texts & calls about what we did from parents saying their daughter came home & told them about it. To me, that was a total win! We had managed to add real meaning to the fun. And, I kept it simple. We had each girl commit to doing a small mitzvah within 24 hours of the party- simple things- sharing a snack, saying Modeh Ani out loud, making a certain bracha... and then they wrote it on a sticky note. We attached the sticky notes to balloons (you can put in a pretty bottle or any other method of "making it cool") and watched our balloons soar up high taking the kabalos with them upwards.
If you want to do elegant, flowers trump balloons every time. I know, it's not an earth shattering revelation but balloons have become such a staple centerpiece we almost were scared to skip them. I'm glad we did. The simple flowers in statement vases looked so good.
Don't leave the montage for last second. I knew that. You know it too. But... somehow it's the thing that gets neglected. so, either hire someone to put together the montage & send pictures & videos early so they can do it well or do it yourself at least 2 weeks in advance. It's no fun to be searching for the perfect clip the night before the party. (Shhhh! Don't tell my daughter. I just said it was a surprise:)
Don't order too many of the giveaways. A lot of people don't take it home. Merch is so fun, but since it will have party branding it's not super useful afterwards. We now own a lifetime supply of Elly bags & have a great new siddur collection. I love the bags & all but I have no idea what we are going to do with them.
And for a last set of thoughts... The party flies by. I couldn't believe how fast the time went. Don't overthink every detail. It's not worth stressing about. Hire enough help. Hire good people. And then, let them do their things so you can just enjoy the moment. Because that's what it's really about, celebrating your daughter & this amazing milestone. You won't remember the little things, but you'll remember experiencing the joy or stressing the entire party.