In the Mitzvah Planning Facebook groups I belong to (psst… check out the local to DC, MD & VA one), parents are constantly asking questions like “Do I have to serve cake?” or “Do I have to have a candle lighting?” or ” Do I have to have a hotel ballroom event?” In the past, it may have felt as though there were rules or formulas about how a Bar or Bat Mitzvah were supposed to happen, but families are now realizing that if these “have to’s” doesn’t work for YOUR family, don’t do it. Simple. I give you permission that…
You can do anything you want for your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah party.
Does you child hate to dance? Don’t have dancing. Do you find candle lighting ceremonies long and boring? Skip the candle lighting. Do you hate theme-y events? Don’t have a theme. Do what works for your family and your guests, regardless of what happened at other Mitzvahs that you’ve attended. After all, you know these people the best.
What you should have at your party
While the old Bar or Bat Mitzvah rules are gone, there are a few things that you should have at your event in order to be a good host. First, food. Your guests will have been in services for awhile and many will be away from home. Give them something to eat (including the kids!). It doesn’t have to be steak, chicken or fish, but as a host, it’s your responsibly to feed your hungry guests.
Next, give guests somewhere to sit and/or put their stuff. You don’t necessarily need seating for everyone. However, there will be guests who can’t stand for long periods of time and they need a seating option. If you are serving a meal that needs to be eaten with a knife and fork, give your guests tables. Especially if you are having an event during jacket season, you need somewhere for your guests to put their belongings. It can be on the back of a chair, a coat room, a coat check or cubbies, but it will make your event space look nicer if there aren’t coats, purses or giveaway items strewn about.
Finally, important people to your family. The most important part of your event is who you share it with–friends and family. Cut what you have to so you can have all of the people you want at your event.
How to make it happen.
Do what works for your family for your Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Period. Don’t apologize. Don’t make excuses. Have the event that you want.