10 Top Tips on How to make a simcha at Home 

Many of our clients choose to have their family simcha at home. Whether it is a formal affair, catered by a regular Kosher caterer, an informal party using Penashe Fun Food Stalls (or a combination of both; e.g. Kosher Caterer serves Shabbat lunch and Penashe serve at a disco in the evening) we have worked for clients since the 1980s who have made both formal and informal Simchas, either at home or in venues. Below are some tips we have picked up along the way:


1.          Entertaining family and friends in your own home for a Kiddush, Shabbat lunch, or even a full blown evening function can be a very rewarding experience, providing it is planned well in advance.  Remember, at a catered venue there is always a banqueting manager on whom you can rely and you walk out at the end of the night without any clearing up. At home you have to make your own arrangements.


2.          Catering at Home: The most important rule is not to over extend yourself. For example, just because there is no-one to tell you that you can’t sit more than 20 guests in a small TV room, doesn’t mean you should try it! 


3.          Guests and waitresses need to move between tables and furniture.  A 4’ round table sits 8 people and needs a 9’ clearance for people to sit down comfortably. Likewise a 5’ will sit 10 (12 if you have small chairs, but guests won’t thank you for it) and requires 10’ clearance which is not far short of the width of many rooms in the house.


4.          Marquees: If you need more room, consider using the garden. There are many marquee companies and it is worthwhile to shop around, not only for price, but for people you believe will give you the best service. For example, if the rain comes through after the marquee is erected, will the company stay on or come back to put it right on the night?  


 4a)  Flooring: All marquee companies will tell you that matting is the cheapest flooring. This is correct, but it is also the quickest way to ruining your lawn. So make up your mind how you want to spend your money; on re-turfing afterwards or using wooden flooring which is dearer but proves better value for money in the long run. If you are catering in cold weather, do not stint on the heating because guests sitting at tables in their coats looks terrible on the video.      


4b)  Toilets: Make sure guests can find the toilets without going through your kitchen, and keep an eye on the toilet paper. It runs out sooner than you may think. Alternatively, if there is enough room on your front drive, a mobile toilet delivered and installed, reduces foot traffic through your home (especially if teenagers are invited).


5.         Catering: Once you know how many guests you can sit comfortably, you need to consider how you will cater. Kosher caterers will happily undertake to prepare and serve the whole meal, bringing in extra equipment as required.


6.         DIY: You can also prepare everything yourself or buy in ready cooked kosher foods. If you are having some waitresses to help, check the menu with them first to ensure that they are happy that your kitchen has enough facilities, and room, to handle the preparation.  Using the garage as a kitchen / prep area: obviously, 120 meals won’t warm up in a domestic oven, so if you hire warming ovens;  (a) Will the waitresses have dry access to the garage in the rain? (b)  Will the food be cold by the time it is served to guests seated at the back of the marquee?


7.         Hire or Buy? If you are arranging the function yourself at home; tables, chairs and table clothes can all be hired. New cutlery and crockery can be purchased from retail outlets (stores IKEA are very popular sources for bulk purchases) You will be surprised how may times you and your friends will  borrow your crockery and cutlery for other Simchas!


8.         Invitations etc: Good invitations will take longer to produce than you think, and need to be posted at least 6 weeks before the simcha. Don’t buy haphazardly. Benchers, menus, kippot and invitations look best if they match in style or colour. That doesn’t mean you need to have an expensive theme – accessories can be simple, but stylish. A central colour can be the hostess’s dress or the table cloth. You will be surprised how stunning a simple room can look given a little thought. Throwing money at a simcha does not always give you style. 


9.         Finishing times:  Although this is your big day, unless the next day is a bank holiday, remember that many of your guests have work the next morning or baby-sitters back at home.  It is better to finish the party on a high with a packed dance floor rather than say goodnight to the last few guests who are still left standing at 2am. If you are arranging a Penashe teenage disco, or there are a lot of teenagers invited, you need to bear in mind that their parents will start collecting their children around 10.00 pm, regardless of what time you say on your invitations!


10.       Neighbours and the Furniture: Local van hire or removal companies will remove your 3 piece for the weekend and return it on the Monday. If you have a band or disco, set a finishing time and tell both your neighbours and the police. It is better to inform them first rather than having a policeman  knock on your door whilst you are in the middle of the speeches.

contact us now to check availabilty and ask any questions:-  mark@penashe.co.uk        Tel: 0845 456 2338