Choosing an Event Planner in Israel: What You Must Know

Choosing an Event Planner in Israel: What You Must Know

autor iconBy Spencer Ho

One of the biggest choices is whether to use an event planner in your home country or in Israel because s/he will be responsible for every detail that determines the success of your wedding, bar/bat mitzvah, corporate event or any other occasion.

If you decide to use an event planner in Israel, then on the one hand, you can rest assured that they have good connections, know how to deal with vendors and event venues and, in general, get things done in a very different culture without wasting your time and money. However, at the same time, you have to worry about communicating with somebody you may only be able to meet once or twice in person if you're lucky, who lives in a different time zone and comes from a different culture.

Going with an event planner close to home means you'll probably get to meet him/her and be in constant contact during normal hours, but unless the event planner has extensive experience and a staff or partner in Israel, you have to worry about whether they can cope well enough with a landscape that's very different from the U.S., UK, Australia or really anywhere outside the Middle East to get your event organized on time and to your specifications without going over budget.

In the end, it's a personal decision that you have to make based on your own needs, but we asked local and foreign event planners to weigh in on the subject to paint you a picture of what a planner for your event in Israel must be able to do and what they think about going local versus using somebody close to home.

Top Qualities of a Great Event Planner

Batya Heller -- Batya Heller Events (Israel)

art-batya-5 Photo: Courtesy of Batya Heller Events

As an independent planner and consultant that deals personally with every client and every aspect of their event, I think the most important quality you're looking for in any event planner is communication. You should be able to feel like your event planner could be one of your best friends. If you can establish this level of open communication, then you can rest assured that your event planner understands your wants and needs, your tastes and the little things that are important to you.

Penny Rabinowitz -- Penny & Co. Events (US & Israel)

art-penny-6 Photo: Courtesy of Penny & Co. Events


The most important quality to have for planning an event in Israel is knowledge of the “terrain" -- the vendors and professionals that must be dealt with to produce a fantastic event from thousands of miles away.

Dealing with vendors in Israel is extremely different" than in Western countries. On the one hand, they are more relaxed (e.g. “Don’t worry! Everything will be fine!”), and yet extremely stubborn on the other (e.g “That’s the way we do it here and it can’t be done any other way!).

Of course, you also have to take into account what's important to you and how much work you want to do yourself. Different event planners offer different services. Some party planners solely coordinate logistics while others -- like Penny and Co. Events -- offer in-house custom décor and design, creating a full package and simplifying the process for the client.

Go Local or Stay Close to Home?

Penny & Co. Events

art-penny-8 Photo: Courtesy of Penny & Co. Events

Ideally, you should work with a firm that can provide someone in your home country to help with the pre-event planning and somebody on the ground in Israel for local knowledge and execution. And that is the model we've adopted at Penny & Co. Events.

We have planners in both countries in order to assure every client that making their event in Israel will be a seamless planning experience that allows them to enjoy the process without the stress.

Batya Heller Events

art-batya-3 Photo: Tekno Art Photography

When I first started doing events, I actually use to work with local planners in my clients’ home countries because I thought that somebody nearby would be able to communicate better and faster with them. But with experience, I learned that clients are basically describing their dreams, and they need to have a direct line with the person who is on the ground, taking care of all the details that make the dream a reality. For the event planner, that means adjusting to the client's schedule, but that is just part of the job.

So while I think it’s possible to plan a nice event from outside the country, if you want the best result possible, the event of your dreams, then you need somebody taking care of all the details in person, on location.

Word to the Wise

Some additional tips on the house from our contributors:

Penny & Co. Events

Photo: Courtesy of Penny & Co. Events Photo: Courtesy of Penny & Co. Events

Don't try to do it all yourself. When folks outside of Israel come so far to celebrate, their expectations, understandably, are that their event runs smoothly and looks magnificent yet they have no idea what it takes to accomplish that goal. A qualified and experienced planner is the perfect professional to make sure your event is executed in the manner to which they are accustomed without having to deal with unfamiliar vendors.

A case in point is when a friend of mine decided not to hire a planner when she made her son’s bar mitzvah in Israel and felt she could handle it all herself.

All her guests were hosted at a top tier hotel in Jerusalem, and she ordered hospitality baskets remotely for every guest room and sent the catering manager the list of rooms. She requested and expected them to be delivered to each room before Shabbat.

She never saw a completed sample basket but thought they would look elegant based on what she described to this vendor. The person she was in contact with assured her that she understood exactly what she wanted.

However when the day came, the baskets were not at all to her standards and worse, they never appeared in any of her guest rooms before Shabbat! When she asked the manager what happened, the answer was “you have to pay extra for that service!” it was the first time she'd heard of this.

Batya Heller Events

Photo: Courtesy of Batya Heller Events Photo: Courtesy of Batya Heller Events

I highly recommend using an event planner based in Israel, but if you are going to use an event planner from your home country, then you should make sure that they are as dedicated to making your event a success as you are.

That means they should be traveling to Israel for the days leading up to and of your event and make one or more trips during the planning process to coordinate things in person.

About the Event Planners

Batya Heller Events

Batya Heller is an independent event planner and consultant based in Jerusalem with a tremendous amount of experience planning events in Israel for clients from abroad, including the United States and the United Kingdom.

She takes a personal approach to every client and event, keeping an open line of communication throughout the planning process to ensure that every celebration exceeds expectations.

Penny & Co. Events

Penny & Co. Events (formerly "Save the Day Events") has been in the business of creating and producing exquisite events -- from bar/bat mitzvahs and weddings to corporate events -- in the United States for 23 years and in Israel for the past 6 years.

The company specializes in designing creative, one-of-a-kind celebrations where no detail is overlooked and employs associates in both the U.S. and in Israel, simplifying the planning process and assuring that their clients will be able to arrive in Israel as a guest at their own turnkey events and leave all the details to Penny & Co.