How to Plan a Bar or Bat Mitzvah in 2020: A Step-by-Step Guide

by the PartySlate Team

A child becoming a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is 13 years in the making — but the celebration doesn’t have to be. Use our 9-step checklist to plan your highly-personal, memorable Bar, Bat, or B’Not Mitzvah celebration. And Mazel Tov!

1. Hire an Event Planner

Your event planner should be your first hire, and PartySlate features the top event planners in the industry. A good event planner will ensure that every detail, both small and large, is attended to — on time and on budget. With your event planner, you will choose an event theme or mood, a venue, and the rest of your event team. If you’re eager to plan your own event, consider that some planners have flexible packages that allow for auxiliary services like day of-only assistance, which will allow you to more fully enjoy the event. Work with your planner to determine your needs and how best to meet them.

Photographer: Valerie Caviness Photography | Venue: The Rockleigh Country Club | Design: Ruth Ridgeway Designs | Event Planner: AMG Events and Visuals

2. Determine Theme & Style

Talk with your child to determine his or her interests, hobbies, and preferences. Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations are the most fun to attend, because they’re usually creatively-themed, with every detail engaged in a motif. A party theme can be reflective of the guest of honor’s hobbies and interests — like basketball, dance, or fashion — or can be more loose, embodying your new teen’s style — like boho, neon, or futuristic. The options are limitless, and PartySlate has thousands of photos to inspire your decision.

Event Planner: Amy Katz Events | Design: Diana Gould Ltd | Venue: Guastavino’s | Photography: Hechler Photographers

3. Find a Venue

Choosing a venue should be done early since event spaces and hotels can book up more than a year out. Your venue selection should take into account the theme or style of your event — for example, a warehouse-type space for a graffiti design or a ballroom for a Hollywood theme. Convenience of location should also be taken into consideration. You should consider whether you’d like a venue that can provide your event fare or if you’d rather bring in an external caterer. For the latter, often venues have preferred lists they will share with you, or browse featured PartySlate caterers.

Décor: Extraordinary Productions Event Design | Venue: The Crystal Plaza | Photography: Majestic Creative

4. Plan Your Entertainment

Often, hosts opt for a DJ/MC combination to fill the dance floor as well as moderate the flow of the event — from speeches and introducing the montage to making space for father/daughter or mother/son dances and other special moments. Work with your event planner to decide what type of entertainment is right for you. Additional entertainment options can delight guests and tie to the event theme. For example, a circus theme could include acrobats, while a sports party might employ basketball hoops, or a music theme could feature live bands. An art motif might have an etch-a-sketch or caricature artist on hand.

Entertainment: Flow Entertainment Inc. | Event Planner: Life of the Party | Décor: Kehoe Designs | Venue: Bryn Mawr Country Club | Photography: Moonhouse Productions

5. Choose a Photographer

Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations are filled with special moments that you’ll want to capture with a photography professional you can trust. Your son or daughter will only be smiling, hoisted in a chair for one special minute — you want to make sure that each memory is reliably preserved. The best photographers on PartySlate book up early, and you should make sure to reserve yours well in advance — as far as (or even earlier than) one year out from your event.

Event Planner: David Monn | Venue: L`Escale Restaurant | Photography: Craig Paulson Studio

6. Select a Design & Décor Team

Your event planner will generally narrow down the list of design and décor professionals for you, taking into account how floral-heavy your event will be and other elements needed to fulfill your vision. The design firm you choose will curate the aesthetics of your celebration — from the flowers and furniture to the lighting and dance floor. They will mix elements to create a cohesive vibe. Whatever the theme or style of your event, you’ll need a visionary designer to help you make it a reality.

Event Planner: Stillwell Events | Design: Adam Leffel Productions | Venue: Current | Photography: Sara Fox Photography

7. Hire a Videographer

In addition to capturing and preserving your Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration, a videographer often has resources to create a montage of your child’s life to be shown at the event. It’s wonderful to relive those moments surrounded by the friends and family who have been integral to your child’s first 13 years — and then, later, it’s just as joyful to re-watch the festivities of the Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration evening as captured, edited, and professionally presented by your videographer.

Event Planner: International Event Company | Design: Revelry Event Designers | Floral: Empty Vase | Venue: Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel | Videography: VidiCam Productions | Photography: John Solano Photography

8. Create Invitations & Printed Goods

Bar and Bat Mitzvah invitations set the tone for an event. They can indicate theme and dress, and help guests plan for the celebration. A good invitation will have them eagerly anticipating your Bar or Bat Mitzvah party. The invitation style should match that of the event and be carried through in print items at the event, like menus, seating charts, gift tags, photo backdrops, and so on. Your selected stationer can help with all of these elements.

Photography: Page Bertelsen Photography | Venue: Terra Gallery | Planner & Design: Marilyn Ambra Party Consultants | Paper Goods: Hyegraph Invitations & Calligraphy; Arabella Papers

9. Secure Party Favors & Gifts

Offering guests a party favor or personalized gift to take home serves as a reminder of the wonderful celebration they’ve attended. Bar or Bat Mitzvah favors can range from thoughtful touches, like bottles of water and fresh donuts, to take home (or eat in the car on the way home) gifts and clothing bearing the logo, Bar or Bat Mitzvah child name, or theme of the event. Your only limits are your creativity and your budget — browse our favors and gifts photos to find ideas.

Photographer: Kari Otero Photography | Venue: Tribeca 360 | Planner & Design: Florie Huppert Design | Florals: L’Atelier Rouge

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