5 Years, 3 Events, 1 Love: Arissa’s Triple Play Bat Mitzvah

April 16, 2005- Arissa giving a toast to her big sister Ilana. "Thank you for hiring Marcello to be the DJ.... I want him at my Bat Mitzvah too."

It felt a little like working at the Make A Wish Foundation.  Not only did Arissa thank her parents for “hiring Marcello” during her toast to her sister back in 2005,  she also said, “I want Marcello to be the DJ at my Bat Mitzvah!”; which you can see from the photo, filled the room with laughter.

As we all  know, life moves pretty fast.   Three years later it was her brother Ethan’s turn.  And then finally, last Saturday night- 5 years later- it was Arissa’s night to shine.

From the interactive cocktail hour to the grand entrance to the last dance; the Gazda’s and their family and friends partied like rock stars. I truly believe that some people were put on this earth to celebrate life and to teach the world to sing.  Nancy, Ken, Ilana, Ethan and Arissa definitely make the list…  The Landmark was over-flowing with positive energy.

March 27, 2010.  Arissa, Marcello, Ilana and Ethan

March 27, 2010. Arissa, Marcello, Ilana and Ethan

At one point in the opening dance set, we played the remix of One Love, by my friend, Nick DitriHe’s part of the platinum selling duo of uber-producers known as The Disco Fries. We had Arissa and a dance-floor full of guests doing the Jersey Shore fist pump and jumping up and down like it was a New Years Eve celebration in Times Square.  What a moment!

I was little concerned about having such a festive-frenzy so early in the event.  Really, it’s like.. where do you go from here?   Thankfully, it was a typical Gazda fiesta with limitless enthusiasm and joyful fervor. We experienced several similar peaks throughout the night; whether it was dancing to a Blend Brother’s remix of Don’t Stop Believing, playing Face the Cookie from the hit show Minute to Win It or singing along to the new friendship circle anthem, ‘Lean On Me’ from the Glee soundtrack… we were in perfect harmony from start to finish.

Nancy, Arissa and Ken

If you’ve got a minute, check out the video testimonial (below) that MMP Entertainment‘s production manager, Frank Di Giacomo,  captured at the end of the event on the “Frankie D Cam.” (Our future clients really enjoy seeing and hearing candid thoughts and opinions directly from other families who were once in their position; having to consider a significant investment in the entertainment for their event and wanting the peace of mind of knowing that they’re making the right choice.) Look out for more 21st century word-of-mouth video clips in our future articles.  I think you’ll agree that we made Arissa’s Bat Mitzvah dreams come true. She wasn’t shy with her feedback.  🙂

Special thanks to Dee from the Landmark for her hospitality and professionalism.  Hugs and kisses to Nancy and Ken for their friendship, patronage and generosity.

Encore Gallery:

Air Brush Tatoos

Mock Rock

Game Show

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words: Jake Celebrates at the Orange Lawn Tennis Club

group-shot-largeIf  you were to ask Jake and his family to reminisce about his Bar Mitzvah last Saturday night, it is safe to say that they wouldn’t be at a loss for words.  Not only did the Grubers hire professional photographers to capture the evening’s festivities, they upgraded to our  Coney Island Photo Booth and Paparazzi multi-media package. As you can see from the images  and customized visuals that we featured on this entry, Jake and his family and friends had a blast and enjoyed every minute of this once in a  lifetime experience.

ci-gruberFrom the initial design session at their home back in February, I knew this had the potential to be an awesome night.  Jake was a popular, well-mannered guest of honor who liked to dance.  His parents, Brenda and Craig, knew exactly what they liked, what they didn’t like, and liked to dance as well.  His brothers, Matty and Sammy, were very cool and supportive.  We all played the home version of our cocktail hour favorites- the Interactive Game Show and Picture This Game right there in their living room!

jakes-vip-crew1The week before Jake’s Bar Mitzvah was the second indication that his Bar Mitzvah was going to be fabulous.  I came back to the house for the VIP meet-and-greet dance party. Jake had some of best friends over so they could share their special requests, tell me about the other Bar Mitzvahs they’ve gone to and could review all the most popular dances that we’d be doing on Saturday.   I even taught them a brand new dance that just came out on the Bar Mitzvah circuit, we named it the Jake G. Slide. Special thanks to my good friend DJ Jeffrey B. from the Blend Brothers who produced the audio mashup remix of Jay Sean’s number 1 hit Down which I used as the soundtrack for the choreography.  The kids had a great time and were totally pumped up for the main event.

jake-hora-largeThe final ingredient in the perfect recipe was the location that the Gruber’s chose.  It was the Orange Lawn Tennis Club in South Orange, New Jersey.  The OLTC boasts an elegant ambiance and attentive hospitality thanks to the Catering Director, Lisa Haberman; delectable cuisine courtesy of their new executive “top chef,” Ariane Duarte; and a gorgeous new ballroom thanks to some major renovations by the club recently.

jake-ci-candid1After all the phone calls, e-mails, site surveys, design sessions and dance lessons, the only thing left to do was PARTY!   I was told Jake did an excellent job at Temple in the morning…  by the time he got to the club, he was ready to party all night long, and that’s just what he did.

One of the event highlights was Craig’s toast.   He prepared  a heart-warming collection of personalized anecdotes and reflections which he delivered with sincere grace. Jake was beaming from ear-to-ear with his trademark grin that lit up the room.

I asked Craig for permission to share this paragraph from his toast.  He graciously obliged.

craigs-toast-largecraigs-toast-2-large1“Jake – I’m sure you already know this but you are a very special person. …

You have a certain charisma that is electrifying.  Your smile is contagious and you can change the tone of an entire room – I see you do it all the time. You’ve seen hard work pay off (for you) and you have that thirst to achieve.  Above all you are a dedicated brother and loyal friend to your buddies. Those relationships are the kind that makes the world go ’round.  Just continue to smile, be nice, and fair and most importantly – be yourself – because the self we’re seeing is looking real good.”

As a new father, I can only hope to feel the same way about my child someday.

So if a picture is worth a thousand words: fun, exceptional, unique and memorable is where I’d start my list.  Take a look at some of the other shots we took and what our Coney Island photo booth captured and make your own list. 🙂

Encore Gallery:





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