What is important when planning a Bar Mitzvah.
Ways of celebrating a Bar Mitzvah.
How to choose a theme for your son's Bar Mitzvah party celebration.
If your angel's Bar Mitzvah is approaching you are probably discombobulated with the myriad of choices and ideas available for celebrating the event. So based on my own experience let me give you a little advice in planning the big event.
The celebration can be celebrated in several ways; these are the more conventional ways:
His first reading of the Torah in Temple, this takes place at the Morning Prayer service, Shacharith, on the first Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday after, or on his Jewish calendar birthday. Most people have this on a Sabbath and invite guests to the temple morning prayers and to a meal afterwards.
The first time he wears tefilin also becomes an event. This is also done in the Temple, at any morning prayer after or on his Jewish calendar birthday. It cannot be celebrated on a Sabbath, as tefilin is not worn on the Sabbath. For both the bar mitzvah celebrations which take place in the Temple you may want to read about appropriate bar mitzvah clothing.
Many choose to take the Bar Mitzvah boy on his first trip overseas, and spend the money on that instead of a party, which will be over in a few hours.
In Israel many Bar Mitzvah boys also make a trip to the Wailing Wall, accompanied by friends and family. There they pray and spend the rest of the day sight seeing and having a good lunch.
A party, which incorporates speeches, candle lighting, entertainment and sometimes the kitchen sink. This is not restricted to any particular date. This is the form of celebration that is normally the most difficult to plan, the most time consuming and the most expensive. If people choose to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah only in one way it is usually with a party. However a lot of effort is put into finding the most original way to celebrate, and generally mothers go out of their way to be different and to impress. In Israel there is a pretty standard timeline for the bar mitzvah party events.
Some families celebrate the Bar Mitzvah in all of these ways, others choose one, but mostly people tend to have a party. So here are some thoughts about that all-important once in a lifetime event!
Firstly decide what would be the ideal, and work at getting as close to it as possible. To do that imagine that anything is possible and that there are no set standards or element that you have to have.
Consult with the Bar Mitzvah boy, but remember you are the one who decides in the end.
Take into account that it will cost more than you think, so don't budget on your upper limit amount, rather budget under your means. There will always be more elements and bar mitzvah party extras that you could have added to your bar mitzvah celebration.
The most important tip I can give you in planning a Bar Mitzvah is to plan it around the birthday boy. It is his celebration and it must reflect him, make sure that he is center stage. He is more important than the location, food, entertainment or guests.
With this in mind I would start by choosing a theme, or common thread that will run through out all of your party planning decisions concerning the various elements of the evening. That theme must be connected to your son or to the meaning of Bar Mitzvah. So find what your son is good at. What does your son shine at? What is his best feature? What is his talent? What does he love and what are his favorite things? Even the most annoying child or badly behaved son has some thing you can highlight or base a party theme upon. Don't have a baseball party if your son is a computer geek, and don't base it on religion if you son doesn't believe in G-d!
The bar Mitzvah is a celebration of him, make it about him.
To emphasis my point here are a few examples: if the Bar Mitzvah boy sings let him sing at the party; if he does capoeira, bring a group to perform at the party; if the birthday boy is passionate about school, or wants to be a writer, incorporate that into the decor and make the menus or invites into little books.
Once you have a theme consider it when planning every area of the event. If he is into nature, and going green for example:
Location: Have it in a garden, park, botanical gardens or your backyard.
Invitations: Use recycled green paper.
Color scheme – green!
Gifts for the guests: Something recycled, or environmentally friendly.
You get the idea. In this way the elements of the event are linked and complement each other.
Most of all make it about the Bar Mitzvah boy and the meaning of Bar Mitzvah, and don't forget that it is a joyous occasion so if you are getting too stressed, up set or angry slow down, take a deep breath and remember why you are doing it. Look out for further articles of mine about the various elements involved in planning a Bar Mitzvah event, and how to incorporate the religious aspect into your celebration.