For thousands of years, Jewish youth entering adulthood have understood their new-found responsibilities as adults in the Jewish community.
Though a party to mark this milestone is not required, Jewish parents all over the world choose to mark the occasion with a big celebration.
Read on to learn all about bat and bar mitzvah planning in London and Essex.
Plan your Bar and Bat Mitzvah Guest List
You might be surprised that the first thing you should do is create a guest list. But the number of guests you plan to invite will dictate the size of the party venue you’ll need.
Ideally, you will start bat and bar mitzvah planning two years in advance. That means that your child’s friends may change.
You can keep your teen’s portion of the guest list fluid. Just estimate how many friends he or she will like to invite. Then make a list of all your family and friends including addresses.
Think about guests that reside outside of Essex and London. You may need to consider overnight accommodations.
Once you have a tentative guest list. You can move on to selecting a date and a venue.
Find a Party Venue
Some people choose to have their teen’s bat or bar mitzvah party at the synagogue. Others prefer to have the party at another venue after the ceremony at the synagogue. If the latter, you will need to coordinate two venue bookings.
Once you decide where you want to hold the party, you can start calling Essex and London venues and synagogues to find out about availability. Generally, a bar and bat mitzvah is held close to the child’s 13th birthday.
In busy London, certain venues are booked two or three years in advance. If you are set on a certain date, you may want to consider hosting the party during the afternoon. Evening dates tend to fill up first.
Now that you know which venues are available for which dates you can set the date for the big day.
When the venue is set and booked, it’s time to think about some logistics.
Do you want to host a cocktail hour before the reception? If so, you may need a separate room for the hors-d’oeuvres before the main meal.
Is your food going to be kosher?
Consider your budget. Would you rather spend more on the food and less on the decorations?
Is the party going to be mixed ages or just adults? If children will attend, what kinds of foods will be available for them? One way to save on your party expense is to choose a couple, low-cost, kid-friendly options for all the kids at your party.
Next, you will have to decide whether to offer a full or partial open bar or a cash bar for alcoholic beverages. Some people choose to offer an open bar during the cocktails and a cash bar during the party.
These are all the types of things you will need to discuss with your caterer.
Think About Bar Mitzvah Themes
You don’t have to have a bat or bar mitzvah theme for your child’s party. But, it’s a great way to highlight your child’s personality and make the party distinct from anyone else’s.
Depending on your teen’s interests you could choose a movie themed or sports party.
You can carry the theme into the day’s decor, invitations, centerpieces, and even the cake.
Hire Your Entertainment
There are hundreds of entertainment option in London and the surrounding area.
You may prefer to hire a live band instead of a DJ. Or you may want to offer games for the younger crowds in another room during an adult-only cocktail hour.
You may opt for a children’s entertainer such as a clown, magician or caricaturist. The adult guests may enjoy these types of entertainers as much as the kids.
Another idea is to make your own arts and crafts table for your youngest guests. This low-cost idea can give the kids something to do instead of being bored sitting at their table while parents talk.
A few well-placed gaming systems with projection screens around the room will make for a fun night for both the teens and the younger kids.
A live video feed of the party will encourage all your guests to get up and dance and be featured on the big screens.
Don’t Forget the Photo Booth
No party is complete without a photo booth to delight and entertain your guests.
Photo booths in the London-Essex area have evolved a lot in recent years. You can still rent the traditional “booth” where guests sit and take a photo. But, there are so many other options.
A social pod is a small photo booth that doesn’t take up much space. It has integrated social media capabilities so your guests can share their photos on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
The social pod has several layout choices, LED flood light options to match your theme and Boomerang and GIF capabilities.
Best of all, your guests can keep the printouts as a souvenir from your child’s bat or bar mitzvah party.
Bottom Line on Bat and Bar Mitzvah Planning
Bat and Bar mitzvah planning in London or Essex can be a huge task. But if you start early, and work through the items methodically, you can plan an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime celebration for your teen.
Next, read all about choosing the right layout for your photo booth.