Austin Bat Mitzvah Photographer | Paris in Texas

“Kid, you’ll move mountains! You’re off to great places,
Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting,
So…get on your way!”
-Dr. Seuss


“They just grow up too fast…” — a phrase often spoken by parents reminiscing on the sweet days of childhood.

But then, overwhelming love and pride fill our hearts when we watch our kiddos work hard to reach new milestones and achieve great things. It’s a funny balance. Childhood is so very special; but at the same time, we can’t wait to watch out children take flight and soar on to new adventures. What an incredible gift it is to watch them grow! And what an incredible honor it is to act as the Austin Bat Mitzvah Photographer for these lovely familes.

That’s what makes mitzvahs such unique traditions. A mitzvah is not the necessarily the end of childhood, but rather a purpose-filled turning point in a child’s life. It is an exciting coming-of-age time when the bar or bat mitzvah is ready to take on new responsibilities, understand religious precepts, take part in public worship, and live with intentionality. It’s their first step toward independence!

A Lovely Bat Mitzvah for a Special Girl

It was quite an honor to photograph this sweet young lady’s bat mitzvah celebration. As a mother myself, I had tears in my eyes watching her parents come alongside her, supportively ushering her into the next wonderful stage of her life.

After three full days of events with Addison and her family, I could see why this occasion warranted such a celebration. Addison is such a sweet and special girl. I was amazed by the poise she consistently demonstrated. She is strong, passionate in her beliefs, and full of love for her friends and family. Her smile and laughter can brighten any room! This lovely lady couldn’t be more deserving of such a celebration.

A bar or bat mitzvah is not just about the big party (although that part is pretty awesome, too). It’s what family and friends are celebrating that matters most. If you’re unfamiliar with the tradition, this post is for you!

Family Photos from Bat Mitzvah

Mitzvah Planning | What to Expect at a Bat Mitzvah from Beginning to End

If you would like to learn more about mitzvahs, or if you have an upcoming mitzvah ceremony and celebration to plan, here’s a typical schedule of events. Addison’s Austin mitzvah event was a perfect example of what to expect. Check out the pictures from her day, filled with planning inspirational and flawless details thanks to Caplan Miller Events:

Pre-Celebration Portraits

A few weeks before the ceremony and celebration weekend, Addison starred in her very own photoshoot. Her parents wanted portraits of their daughter from this milestone year. I aimed to capture Addison’s personality as authentically as possible, so I followed her to the place where her heart feels free – the stables with her gorgeous horse. We also included a some Parisian and urban-themed portraits around Austin that she could use as décor at her bat mitzvah party. Featuring portraits of the honoree at the bat mitzvah party is a must! See more of her stellar pre-mitzvah celebration photos HERE!

Shabbat Dinner

The weekend of celenration begins with a traditional Shabbat meal. Shabbat itself means “day of rest,” and it lasts from Friday at sundown until Saturday evening. During that time, family and friends share three meals together. The first is dinner on Friday evening, followed by lunch the next day (see the Kiddush luncheon below), and another lighter meal on Saturday afternoon. The purpose is to spend quality time together with your closest family and friends while sharing a multi-course dinner. It gives the family time to savor the moment, relax, and focus on what’s most important. Typically, a Shabbat dinner includes lighting candles in preparation of the dinner, singing traditional songs, sharing words from the Torah, and prayer. It’s a joyful time spent sipping on Kiddush (“blessed”) wine and sharing a braided loaf of bread called Challah.

Malverde in Austin, Texas hosted and served Addison’s delicious Shabbat dinner. If you are a non-Jewish guest, read “What to Expect at a Shabbat Dinner” for more information.

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Temple Ceremony & Tallit Presentation

Although it’s not permissible to photograph the actual mitzvah ceremony at the Temple Beth Shalom synagogue in Austin, I was able to photograph the rehearsal, which provides a good example of what to expect. The bar or bat mitzvah is presented with a special Tallit, or prayer shawl, to begin the ceremony. The tassels on the shawls (called Tzitzit) serve as reminders to observe the commandments. After putting on the Tallit gifted to her by her parents, the confirmation ceremony takes place. The bar or bat mitzvah recites a blessing and reads from the Torah publicly for the first time. Addison did a wonderful job at the rehearsal! I’m sure the actual ceremony was even more moving, and I know her parents are just so proud!

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Kiddush Luncheon

Immediately following the bar or bat mitzvah service, friends and family gather for another meal. A Kiddush blessing is recited, and then guests mix and mingle before the party. This is usually a lighter meal with finger foods rather than a large sit-down gathering. Since it is Shabbat and traditional Jews do not use an oven, the luncheon usually consists of a cold, dairy meal including platters of bagels, cream cheese, lox, egg salad, tuna salad, fruit salad and/or cookies. Everyone (old and young!) particularly love the cereal bar, complete with all kinds of sweet cereal, strawberry and chocolate milk too. A coffee bar from Riser with custom initial foam toppers was a nice touch to help the guests caffeinate up for the big party ahead.

There is usually a specific place at each synagogue where this happens, a Social Hall, Multi-purpose room or similar. At temple Beth Shalom, this room is in the same building next door, so it’s very convenient! This is a great time for the bar or bat mitzvah to greet and chat with relatives so that he or she can spend time with friends later on at the party in the evening. Think of this as a kind of ice breaker before the party – everyone can reconnect in anticipation of the full celebration to come later in the evening. 

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The Big Party!

Then, it’s time to celebrate – in style! Addison’s amazing celebration took place at the Four Seasons in Austin. She chose a Parisian theme, and it couldn’t have been a better fit for her personality and exceptional style. I loved the details and pink personalization – from a Parisian wall of “locks” for guests to sign and hang, to the carousel horse balloon sculptures, and Oh La La napkins, each part of the design lent itself to a full Parisian experience. These thick clear acrylic invitations had everyone invited saying OUI! Upon arrival in the hotel, out of town guests were greeted with an exceptionally designed welcome box of goodie with the weekend’s schedule printed on the top. And upon leaving, guests took boxes of Parisian themed goodies home too!

A Little Bit Extra

For refreshments, guests sipped on colorful mocktails (spiked for the adults) and munched on fluffy cotton candy (to fuel those endless dance moves, of course). Carnival games with prizes were set up in the lobby for the kid’s fun and enjoyment. Addison’s gorgeous portraits from our photoshoot together were featured in gigantic 4×8 frames surrounding the reception space. She looked like a movie star when she arrived in her glittered high tops and pink party dress! This was a one-of-a-kind party for a one-of-a-kind young lady!Her custom initial logo ALP was used for custom swag that she threw from the stage for the party, including sweat pants, t-shirts and comfy slides for tired feet. Who doesn’t love free party swag?

Mazel Tov, Addison and family! I had a blast documenting every part of your big weekend and feel so blessed to be an Austin Bat Mitzvah Photographer.Mitzvah Party Invitations AcrylicMitzvah Party FavorsMitzvah Party Planning Welcome Boxcandid Bar Mitzvah PhotographerIndividual Cubby's for Mitzvah Guests to Store their belongingsBar Mitzvah PhotographerMother Daughter DanceCandid Bar Mitzvah PhotographyAustin Bat Mitzvah at Four Seasons Austin ballroomAustin's best Mitzvah PhotographerBar Mitzvah PhotographerAustin Bar Mitzvah PhotographerMitzvah Balloon Decor InspirationMitzvah Party Theme by Austin Balloon CollectiveMitzvah Theme Ideas by Austin photographersFour Seasons Austin Bat Mitzvah in BallroomParty Decor for Austin MitzvahsMitzvah Party FloralsFrench themed party ideasAustin Mitzvah Photographer PortraitsMitzvah Ballon SculpturesAustin Mitzvah Photographer

Celebrating your child’s bar or bat mitzvah soon? I’d love to be there to help you document every moment of it while you enjoy the big day. Simply reach out to this Austin Bat Mitzvah Photographer by filling out a Contact Form for more info.

AUSTIN BAT MITZVAH VENDOR TEAM :: Event Planners & Designers : Caplan Miller Events // Ceremony & Reception Venue, Catering & Desert Bar :: Four Seasons Austin // Floral & Balloon Installation :: Melony Rodwell of Crush Events // Balloon Sculptures :: Austin Balloon Collective // Carnival Games ::  Circus Picnic // DJ & Dancers : PRP Entertainment  // Rentals : Whim Hospitality & LOOT // Lighting :: FILO Productions // Alpha Letters :: Alpha-Lit Austin // Linens :: Nuage & La Tavola // Hair :: Ron King Salon // Austin Bat Mitzvah Photographer : Cory Ryan Photography

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