How to Plan a Bar/Bat Mitzvah?

A Bar Mitzvah is a pivotal event in a young Jewish child’s life. It represents the coming of age, and the celebration takes place when the child turns 12 or 13. A Bar Mitzvah is the coming of age of a young boy and is traditionally celebrated on the first sabbath after their 13 birthday. A Bat Mitzvah is the coming of age ceremony for a young Jewish girl, celebrated at the age of 12. 

The event is religious and consists of several traditions, rituals, and customs. This can include reading the Torah, reciting a speech about their assigned Torah portion (A D’var Torah), leading the morning service, and the Friday night service at their local synagogue. Different communities celebrate and honor the B’nai mitzvah differently, and there are many ways to celebrate.  

Planning this type of celebration can be quite complex as there are many things to consider. Like any other event, a Bar/Bat Mitzvah requires careful planning. In this article, we will break down how to plan a bar mitzvah party so that you can plan the perfect party. 

Planning A Bar/Bat Mitzvah Party

Choose Your Date

A lot of planning goes into such an important event, so you must start planning ahead. Some parents start planning years before. The most important aspect to consider is the date. You will need to approach your synagogue. Some of them will assign dates up to four years in advance. 

Theme of Party

Themes are a great way to ensure a successful celebration. This could be anything that interests the child or as simple as following a color scheme. Ideas include favorite sports, music, hobby, or anything important to the person being celebrated. Themes help tie an event together and make it feel cohesive. It may also help you choose the activities that will take place on the day of the event. 

Bar mitzvah event planning and party ideas should hold the child’s interest. Remember that while many adults will be in attendance, this party is meant to celebrate the child, and the more involved they are in the process, the more fun they will have on the day of the event, and the more engaged they will be during the party. 

Setting a budget

A Jewish bar mitzvah can be a very costly affair, so you will need to set a realistic budget and start saving in advance to reduce the financial pressure closer to the event. Set an overall amount that you can spend on the event. 

You may want to consider hiring a party planning expert to assist you with the planning and running of the event. These costs should also be taken into consideration.

Other costs include:

  • Party or Kiddush Luncheon
  • Party venue rental
  • Food and service
  • Beverage and bartenders
  • Party rentals
  • Talit/Tefillin 
  • Kipot 

Documenting the special day:

  • Photography and videography 
  • Photography 
  • Photo album 
  • Videographer 

Entertainment 

  • DJ and lighting
  • Live music
  • Entertainment/activities
  • Photo Booth
  • Henna Artist

Decorations 

  • Reception decorations
  • Candle lighting
  • Invitations
  • Invitations and reply cards
  • Other stationery
  • Cake 

Attire

  • Ceremony attire
  • Party attire
  • Hair and Makeup
  • Portrait shoot
  • Mitzvah day

Other:

  • Favors and Gifts
  • Mitzvah gift and certificate
  • Tips and extra expenses
  • Bar mitzvah planning checklist
  • Bar mitzvah ceremony costs

Book Your Party Venue

When Bar mitzvah is planning, book a venue for your event at least 9 -12 months in advance. The sooner you book, the more options will be available. Event halls and banquet halls book up quickly for weddings and other celebrations. So planning is key. Some venues will offer discounts if you book well in advance. 

Develop A Guest List

Develop a guest list of all the people you’re planning to invite. Once you know how many people to expect, you can proceed. A good rule of thumb is to invite 10% – 20% more people than you’re expecting to come. This will create a safety margin and prevent you from having an empty event. 

Book your vendors

Book your vendors at least 9 -12 months before the ceremony. There are only so many local vendors specializing in bar/bat mitzvahs, so it is not uncommon for the popular vendors to book even further in advance. Take into consideration exactly which vendors you will need and the estimated cost of each one. Most Bar/Bat Mitzvah venues will have an in-house catering service. This could help save some money if your budget is tight. Catering is usually the largest part percentage-wise of any event budget. 

Plan Food and Beverages

Catering services are not cheap. You can expect to pay anywhere from $10 per head to $150 or more, depending on the type of foods you will be serving. Some catering services will offer discounted rates if you invite over a certain number of guests. 

Decide on what beverages you want at the celebration. Mocktails are a fun idea and help cement the idea that the child is transitioning into an adult. Don’t forget to tie them into your theme!

Send Out Invitations

Invitations are your way of giving the guest a sneak peek of what to expect. They should make the guest want to attend and not miss out on your event. The invitations should match your theme. The child is the star of the event, so an excellent way to acknowledge that is to use a photograph of them and include it in the invitation. 

Don’t forget to include RSVP cards so you can keep track of your guest list. Send the invitations out 4 – 6 months before the event. 

Plan the Entertainment

Look for a DJ that has Bar & Bat Mitzvah experience. They will know what is appropriate to play and what isn’t. There are also ceremonies involved, so it’s better if the person knows the rituals and when to play. 

Middle school can be a difficult age group to manage and keep entertained. Make sure that when considering who to hire for your mitzvah entertainment, not only do they have a DJ with bar mitzvah experience, but that they include an MC to facilitate games and activities for the children. 

When Should You Start Planning A Bar/Bat Mitzvah?

Many Jewish parents start planning their child’s bar mitzvah celebration the day they are born, but most start planning once the child turns 10. 

  • 2 – 3 years before: Apply for a date from your synagogue.
  • 12 – 18 months before: Draft a guest list, set a budget, and decide on a theme. Get quotes and pay deposits to vendors where possible. 
  • 1 year before: Confirm the venue, band, DJ, caterer, and other services. Send out save the date cards. Make sure there is accommodation for out-of-town guests. Teach your child their portion of the Torah reading and discuss its meaning. Then help them select a mitzvah project. Contact your local synagogue if you do not know where to start!
  • 6-8 months before: Hire a tutor or teach your child the Torah portion. Set an appointment to study with the rabbi and cantor. Confirm your guest list and track RSVPs and all relevant information. Confirm your invitations and stationery and order them. Select and personalize the kippot. Order decorations and any extras. Consider this planning if you plan on hosting a Friday evening, Shabbat dinner, or brunch.
  • 3 months before: Finalize the menu, decorations, and centerpieces.
  • 2 months before: Mail the invitations and note the number of RSVPs and regrets. Select the music for the candle lighting ceremony and choose the corresponding music. Confirm all appointments and discuss the music you wish the DJ to play. 
  • 1 month before: Reconfirm all service providers. Confirm RSVPs, and create a seating plan. Coordinate rehearsal time for your synagogue. Write toasts and speeches. Have a final dress fitting. 
  • 1 week before: Confirm guest number and catering requirements. Pay any vendors and keep cash on hand for tips. Take formal family pictures in the synagogue. 

Bar/Bat Mitzvah Entertainment from Orion Entertainment

Contact us today for a free quote if you need help with your bar mitzvah party planning for this special event. Let us help you make the event a huge success so you can relax and celebrate this special day with your child, with memories to last a lifetime. 

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