10 Tips For Planning The Perfect Bar or Bat Mitzvah Celebration
Mazal Tov! So it’s time to plan for the Bar or Bat Mitzvah! Yashir Koach! What a special day. Like most important ceremonies and events, to ensure a successful time, we know that there will be some serious planning involved. And planning for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah can start as early as three years prior the special day.
No worries, I am here to help you - we got this!
1) To invite or Not to Invite
At the very top of the list, an accurate number of guests will help you decide on where to host and have the party.
While you might want to invite everyone you know, you are not the only one - it's in our nature. Yet, sometimes inviting so many people can get out of hand and very expensive. It might be more practical to start with close friends and family and expand from there. This way, the guest of honor can still enjoy their big day and celebrate with their loved ones. If you worry about leaving people out, try live streaming the celebration for all to see! Your DJ or photographer can help with vantage points.
2) Location, Location, Location
Once you have a general idea of how many guests will be in attendance, you can decide on where to host. When looking for a venue, it is a great idea to think about specific factors of a venue rather than the venue itself.
Consider a venue located close to home or close to your guests. No one wants to spend unnecessary money traveling outside their comfort area.
The quality and style of food, for instance, is a particular factor not to ignore. Calamari is never the same from venue to venue.
Some venues allow outside catering, while others insist using their in-house catering service. Same goes for photographers, DJs, florists, and other vendors.
3) Music to My Ears
The answer could come in the form of one being a better value than the other or personal connection.
Regardless of your choice, playing music is not all there is to entertainment.
Running the show requires the right music transitioned without hiccups, throughout the night.
A Bar or Bat Mitzvah is a special and solemn occasion, full of tradition for those celebrating. Typical timelines include kiddush, candle-lighting, toasts, montages, dinner, dancing, and games. Lately, there has been a trend of less tradition and more party. Whatever you decide, ensure you consider everyone.
Look closely at the event timeline and plan important parts to take place when there can be the most exposure. Think about how the energy of the room will be lower right after games, where the kids have been running around. These are moments when the toasts or photo montages can happen. While everyone is sitting for dinner, serve the guest/s of honor and family first so they can be ready for candle-lighting. When timing everything right, there is no downtime.
5) Sound and Lighting
Quality sound and lighting are important for the big day. If the event is held during the day, lighting is not as important as the sound, otherwise both are equal. Unless desired, try to avoid overloading the room with too much sound. A skilled DJ will be able to match the right sound system for the room and number of people attending. Consider the seat location of younger or older guests and their proximity to the sound.
While they might look incredible, flashing lights and lasers on the dance-floor can cause seizures and damage the eyes. Yet, when utilized by a professional, effects like up-lighting, spot-lighting, strobes, and other effects enhance the movement of energy throughout the event.
6) Age is Only a Number
The day might about the guest of honor, but don't forget friends and family. Guests, both young and old are as excited and thrilled to be at the event.
Consider the level of energy throughout different areas of the room. From music choice and volume, to seating and interaction. Close to the dance floor, around the sides, and near high-traffic areas like the bar or bathroom. Think about people taking pictures of important moments or how far people will walk to dance the Hora or get interactive on the dance floor.
7) Cell Phone Cameras ARE Decent
As advanced as camera phones have become over the years, they are still not as good as a professional DSLR. The same goes for guests taking pictures, who will never be as good as a professional photographer.
A professional who has photographed many Bar or Bat Mitzvahs will know how to pose your child with the Torah, when to get the best shots during the Hora, and will be prepared for a long candle-lighting ceremony.
8) Game Time!
When there is as much of a gap in age as there is at a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, it can be hard to incorporate and involve everyone. This is where games would come into play. Here are my favorite games to play at parties. These interactive examples are great ways to ensure both kids and adults alike have as much fun.
For prizes, I recommend gift cards or personalized memorabilia from the event, such as jackets or hats.
9) Honor Thyself
Keeping the guests entertained is important, but it's as important to make the guest of honor feel appreciated. Outside of the traditional practices such as the Hora, candle-lighting, and toasts/speeches, you might want to include other options. Focus the music around the guest-of-honors’ and friends’ favorites. Without being too embarrassing, consider playing a photo montage of childhood memories. After all, this is their special day, which they will remember for the rest of their life.
10) Relax, and Have Fun!
It's easy to get wrapped up in all the planning and organizing, especially on the day of the event. Conversely, it's hard to remember to relax and enjoy your own event.
Here are the tasks you have to look forward to.
All Events: Kiddush, Temple Service, Parties for Adults & Kids, Brunch and more
Master Guest List: Keep track of all guest information
Invitations & Inserts: Track RSVP's and more
Hotel & Bus Arrangements: Create necessary lists
Temple Honors: Keep information in one place
Party Favors: Assign sizes, other options
Party Details: seating arrangements, place cards, song list, candle lighting
Vendors: compare vendor proposals, then build a master budget to track your spending
My biggest tip: Hire a professional to help!