A Bar Mitzvah celebration is a mark of new maturity and young adulthood in the Jewish community. A boy at age 13 becomes officially responsible for his own behavior under Jewish law, and he can then participate fully in the community. Considering the years of preparing – performing community service and studying religious texts – it’s no wonder that it’s customary to throw a big party after the synagogue service! Trouble is, it’s because it’s so big that you need to know just how to plan a Bar Mitzvah party.

The first step is picking a date to perform official rites at a synagogue. Once the date, time, and location of the service are chosen, you will know the most important and immediate circumstances you have to work with, such as whether the synagogue has a basement or back room for parties and, if it doesn’t, if there is a party hall nearby. Once you know what you have to work with in terms of location and date, consider the time. If you want an evening party, start planning way ahead because it’ll be harder to book than in the afternoon. 

Invitations and decorations

Decide if you’d rather spend money on decorations or a better place that doesn’t require you to go through the pain of decorating. If you plan to decorate, consider the possible theme for the party. Does the young man being honored have an interest in sports or theatre? If so, you have yourself a theme! Also determine if you want the party just for kids or if mixed ages are welcome. Either way, a kid-friendly entertainer is in order. Some options to consider are a magician, DJ, or even a clown for the more childish at heart.

Don’t forget – the party isn’t everything! A huge component to planning is the invitation process. You can go formal or funky, so be creative; if you have a party theme, throw it on the invitation. Be sure to be considerate and provide transportation options for out of town guests so that they can start considering how to get there for the affair. After all, it’s a once in a lifetime thing. If it’s in the budget, consider offering to pay at least part of their travel expenses to show your appreciation for their attendance. This not only applies to out of town guests but even neighbors: send invites far in advance – even several months! Nothing rains on your Bar Mitzvah parade like empty chairs.