It is Time to Plan Your Bar or Bat Mitzvah Party. What’s Next…
Choose Your Date
The first thing you’ll need to do before you plan your party is the date your child will celebrate his or her bar or bat mitzvah in your Temple / Synagogue. Some Temples’ / Synagogues’ may be able to assigned dates up to three years in advance, depending on the size of the congregation. Usually, it’s close to your child’s actual 13th birthday. Book early and get the date you want.
Booking Your Party Venue
Before you choose the location, it will be best to decide whether you want your party to be held in the afternoon (Lunch) or evening (Dinner). If evening, keep in mind those dates will book up first at the location you may want. Some of the other details you should consider before you speak to the food service company may include:
Where will my party be held?
Will the party be only for the kids, or will it be mixed ages?
Will the food be kosher or non-kosher?
What is my budget? Is it worth paying more for the room or on the decorations / gifts?
Do you want to have a open bar or alcohol free event? Either way that will go into your choice of facility
Does the location serve dinner or will you need to have it catered?
Taking Care of Out-of-Town Guests
If your guests will be traveling from far and wide, it’s considerate to reserve a block of rooms with a local hotel to get favorable rates.
Welcome your out-of-town guests with a small gift package. The package might include the itinerary of the events with directions along with some snacks and a custom printed gift or another thoughtful gift.
It is great to include out-of-town guest in extra events such as a dinner on Friday evening, brunch on Saturday or Sunday morning, and a casual get together at the parents’ home after the celebration is over.
Plan Your Meals
If you plan to host a pre cocktail party before the main meal, here are some typical options you can discuss with the venue’s food director:
- Having adult hors d’oeuvres and fruit and cheese board.
- Hors d’oeuvres specifically targeted to the kids such as pizza slices or chicken fingers.
It is a great idea to have a separate menu for the kids at your party? A way to save on your party expense is to choose less expensive, kid-friendly options for all the kids at your party. Kids love a buffet style.
For both the cocktail party and main reception you’ll need to decide whether to offer a full or partial open bar (wine and beer) versus an all-cash bar for alcoholic beverages. Some parents offer a full open bar during the cocktail party, which then turns into a cash bar during the reception.
With your Bar / Bat Mitzvah Child Choose Your Theme
It isn’t necessary to have a theme at your party, but it can make some the planning a little easier. The theme is often selected to reflect the child’s special interests. Your can create a logo for the event. Here are theme possibilities to get you started:
All about me (meaning the bar or bat mitzvah child)
Sports – Soccer – Baseball
Your theme can be tied into the decorations, banners, invitations, centerpieces, cake, and party favors.
Book Your Entertainment
There are many entertainment options you could consider, depending on your budget. Whatever you do, remember to choose a good balance of entertainment for the different ages of your guests, e.g. at a mixed age party, you don’t want all of the entertainment geared toward the kids no more than you want to entertain the adults, only, and leave the kids sitting bored at their tables. Some of the options you will consider include:
Hiring a disc jockey versus a band .
If you hire a disc jockey, you can hire them to entertain the kids with games during slow times in your event.
Dance party games for the kids to play.
Arts and crafts tables to amuse younger children throughout the party.
The disc jockey can be part of a large entertainment group that includes an emcee and dancers to amuse the kids. They may give out prizes for games and dancing throughout the party.
A photo station to send guests home with framed photos or key chains.
Gaming systems with projection screens around the room for multiplayer fun.
TV screens for a live video feed of the party and to have your video montage playing.
Make Sure Your Invitations Are Sent On-Time
Invitation are a great way to tell your guests all the details of the places and times they’ll need to be there. Invitations are usually the first place you’ll show off the theme and mood of the party.
Party favors are usually only given to the kids and reflect the theme of the event and for take home gifts. A typical party favor is personalized with the name or initials of the bar or bat mitzvah child. It might be a tee shirt, balloons, beach balls, or cap.
Candle Lighting Ceremony
A candle lighting ceremony has become popular. The bar or bat mitzvah lights a candle for the important people in his/her life, or for special family members who have recently passed away. Very often, as the candles are lighted, the bar/bat mitzvah recites the names in a clever, rhyming or poetic speech, which oftentimes ties into the theme. There may also be photos of those honored placed around the candles.
Will you need both a still and video photographer? Make sure you check your synagogue’s policy with regard to taking pictures during the service. Many synagogues only permit photography during the rehearsal.
Photographers can interview guests throughout the party to create a video montage of the event.
Other Important Stuff
Parents will most likely give a speech about their child during the synagogue service. You may also want to prepare a speech for the beginning of the party.
Select someone to bless the wine and challah either in the synagogue or at the beginning of the party. This is an honor that could go to the parents, grandparents or another special guest.
Some parents provide socks for the girls so they can take a break from their high heels while dancing and playing games. Socks may be personalized with the name or initials of the guest of honor.
You’ll want to prepare place cards to tell your guests where to sit. These can incorporate the theme of your party.
When guests arrive at the party, ask them to sign a large poster as a commemorative guest book for your child.
We at Mitzvah Mart hopes this helps make your ceremony and party the best ever.