As a parent or family member of a young person about to be a bar or bat mitzvah, you are undoubtedly thrilled about the upcoming rite of passage. For many families, combining a birthday celebration with bar or bat mitzvah is a great way to throw an especially fantastic party that friends and family will remember. If you’ve never hosted such an event yourself, read on for our best tips!
First and foremost, the secret to a great event is to celebrate in a your own way. Everyone to host a stylish and entertaining party that recognizes the true meaning of the occasion and aligns with your family’s priorities, goals, and ethics. But only you can do you! So be yourself, be unique, and the planning will become effortless.
Also, don’t hesitate to plan very early! Starting your planning process early and making some initial decisions will allow you to celebrate this momentous occasion in style, and throw a mitzvah/birthday party that everyone will be talking about for years to come!
First Steps: Guest List
Before you do anything, you will need to have a number of guests in mind, because that will determine most of your subsequent decisions. For example, it will affect the size of venue you choose and the type of food/catering service. Set the date for your party well in advance to give yourself plenty of time to secure the venue you desire, to send out invitations and choose your caterer. If it’s a small affair, with just close family and key members of your synagogue, a smaller venue and kosher catering service is important. On the other hand, if inter-faith guests will be invited, a larger venue such as a banquet hall and a caterer that can provide both kosher and non-kosher menus is the way to go.
If your guest list is a combination of adults and teenagers, you may want to consider a venue that offers an adjacent room for the adults to retire to for cocktails and conversation while the teenagers are enjoying the entertainment. This allows both the teenagers and the adults to enjoy themselves to the fullest.
As you consider different event spaces, take the time to visit them in person. This will allow you to get a feel for the premises, and to assure yourself that they are well maintained and offer all of the necessary amenities. A good venue should offer adequate parking facilities, clean restrooms and accommodations for any disabled guests. The venue should also be able to provide all of the tables and seating you will require, as well as any necessary audio/visual equipment for the night’s entertainment.
A bar/bat mitzvah party is a great way to introduce your non-Jewish friends to kosher family favorites. You may want to keep the food 100 percent kosher, or pick a combination of kosher and non-kosher items. When shopping for venues, ask if they have an on-site catering service. Bundling services together often makes planning a party much easier, and can often save you money to boot.
The caterers should be able to accommodate all of your refreshment needs, including hors d’oeuvres, main courses and desserts. You will want to be sure that they understand the importance of keeping kosher, and that they are able to include any specialties or family favorites. The on-site caterer should be able to provide a tasting menu for you to sample before deciding on your final selections. They should also provide staff for both service and cleanup. If you are considering an open bar for your adult guests, you will want to check with the caterer and the venue to be sure they are licensed to serve alcohol.
It’s not a party without fabulous decorations! You can take your party to the next level with a great color scheme, fine table linen, table runners, decorative charger plates, chair covers and other special touches.
If you are looking for a particular fabric and color, BBJ Linen has an amazing selection in every color of the rainbow and all patterns from traditional to quirky. By renting your table accessories instead of buying them, you can rest assured that each of your tables will have a cohesive look.
Here are a few other things to consider in terms table design:
- Will you have a choice of different table types (for example, some round, some square? This depends on whether your catering company, the venue, or another company supplies the tables.)
- What do you want your plates, cutlery and glasses look like?
- Do you want a special table for the guest of honor and family?
- Should the tables be round or rectangular (banquet style)?
- Are the tables going to be outside, or indoors? (Many venues offer both options).
- Will your caterer supply tables and chairs?
A bar mitzvah is a time of great celebration in the family and the Jewish community. It is a time to come together and recognize the passage into adulthood. With the proper planning, and with the right attention to detail, your mitzvah celebration will also be a party no one will soon forget!