A Bar or Bat Mitzvah is one of the most important life events for a young Jewish boy or girl as they prepare to make the passage into adulthood. If you’re the parent of a son or daughter who is preparing for this momentous occasion, then you’ve undoubtedly begun the process of planning the exciting celebration.

The first thing you should do is set your budget, and make sure you start saving well in advance. Once you’ve done that, follow the below steps to ensure no stone is left unturned in your planning process:
  • Select A Date: Usually, the date of your child’s bar or bat mitzvah will be close to his or her 13th birthday. However, this date can be assigned up to three years in advance if the size of the congregation at your synagogue is rather large. The date of your party depends on the date your child celebrates his or her bar or bat mitzvah in the synagogue, so that needs to be determined first.
  • Choose Your Venue: Now that you’ve got your date, you need a location. Are you holding an indoor or outdoor celebration? If outdoors, make sure you buy or rent a tent large enough to accommodate your party in the event of rain. Do you want a venue that also offers event planning and entertainment packages to take some of the stress off of you? While you book your venue, you should also consider reserving a block of rooms at a nearby hotel for out-of-town guests.
  • Book Entertainment: The teenagers at your celebration will want to be engaged and entertained, but that doesn’t mean you can leave the adults out. Whether you opt to hire a DJ or go with a band, they have an important job – to manage the mood and flow of the event, and cater to all ages. If there’s a specific DJ or band you have in mind, book as far out in advance as possible to ensure they don’t get booked by someone else. Depending on your budget, you can also include extras – like photo booths, interactive games, carnival games, and more. Do your homework, and hire entertainers who are experienced and have testimonials from satisfied customers.
  • Select Your Theme: The most important consideration when selecting a theme is that it reflects your son or daughter’s personality. For instance, if your son is passionate about cars, consider a racing theme. Name each table after a different car model or make, and use street signs for the table numbers. Have a daughter who dreams of being a Broadway star? Theme her Bat Mitzvah celebration Broadway – invitations can be done in the form of tickets, and tables named after her favorite musicals and plays. There are endless ideas for themes – so work with your child and find one that reflects their interests and passions.
  • Build A Guest List: Now that your venue is booked, you know how many people the space and your budget can accommodate. Put together a guest list. It may be helpful to separate guests into an “A List” (must haves) and a “B List” (desirable but not mandatory to invite). Once you receive the RSVP’s back from the A List, you can then invite guests from your B List if space allows.
  • Plan Food & Drinks: Does the venue you are choosing also have in-house catering, or are you utilizing the services of an outside catering company? Regardless if you go in-house or bring someone in, you’ll have a lot of considerations to mull over: are you having a cocktail hour before the main meal, and if so, will you serve hors d’oeuvres with that? Will there be a separate kids menu? Are you offering a partial or full open bar?
  • Hire A Photographer/Videographer: You’ll want to hire a professional to capture the memories of this once-in-a-life special occasion. Some venues will offer this as part of a package, which ensures that the photographer is comfortable with the lighting, the room, etc.
  • Choose Party Favors: Party favors generally go along with the theme of your event. They can range from tee-shirts to water bottles, and can be personalized (if ordered far enough in advance) with your son or daughters name and the date.
The farther in advance that you plan, the less stressed you will be in the weeks leading up to the occasion. Most importantly, keep your child in the loop, as this momentous rite of passage is ultimately all about him or her!