Thirteen Ways to Personalize a Mitzvah Celebration
Choosing a vibe and style for your child's Bar or Bat Mitzvah celebration can seem overwhelming, but it can inspiring and fun. The tone of your celebration will emerge as you begin to envision what you want. An evening party with club lighting will create a great dance party, while a garden party in the afternoon may be more whimsical and low-key. What feels right to you and your family? You want your child's personality to shine through. Being true to your child is what makes your event unique.
The guiding principle of the event could be as simple as a color scheme or as specific as a sport, such as soccer, complete with themed centerpieces, seating cards and dessert buffet. Think about interests or hobbies the guest of honor has, places and experiences that are meaningful to him/her. If he's an art lover, the venue of your event could be a museum or gallery. Does she love camp? Perhaps you could hold the party on the campground or in a venue like Brooklyn's Picnic House? Crazy about sailing? Perhaps a waterfront venue is in the cards. What words describe your child's personal style: cool, preppy, rustic, beachy, elegant, modern, glam? One of these words may lead you to a theme. Don't become overwhelmed with ideas or try to mix themes. Basketball and Broadway musicals won't work together.
No matter how you carry out your theme, it is a common thread pulls the event together. The beginning of this process is the dreaming phase: ideas can be varied and unformed. Start collecting images with your child, perhaps create a Pinterest together, and don't limit yourself to the usual sources. Something as unusual as the artwork they've created, a favorite movie or a trip can spark an idea. Each element of your event offers an opportunity for personalization. Here's how:
What colors are you and your child drawn to? What colors does your child wear? It's easiest to stick with two colors. And a color combination can inspire everything from cocktail napkins to tablecloths to lighting.
A logo is a flourish that will make your event memorable. It completes the overall look of your event. A monogram, or a sports or fashion-inspired logo will enhance your theme. You can also write a tagline in addition to the logo: EAT, SLEEP, PLAY for a sports fanatic, for example. You can project the logo or tagline on the wall or dance floor.
Think about your invitations early in the process. By choosing textures, colors, shapes and wording that express your event, you'll have guests envisioning and anticipating the party as soon as they receive the envelope. Draw from the invitation's artwork to create other decor elements for the party.
Traditionally centerpieces are an most important design element in the reception space. They create the wow factor when guests walk into the room and then create eye level interest when everyone takes a seat. Their size, height, shape and style should support your theme/vibe. You can also skip flowers and do lamp with customized shades imprinted with photographs of your child, or an edible centerpiece of fruits, candy or desserts.
Lighting is crucial decor. Existing lighting in a space is often supplemented with color uplighting, pin-spotting or overhead lanterns.
Large scale photographs of the guest of honor instantly personalize the event. How about creating a silent slideshow of his/her mitzvah project to run during the cocktail hour? Or have a graphic designer make poster-size collages of images expressing the bat mitzvah's interests and hobbies?
7. Escort Card Table
Decorating the escort card table is an opportunity to make an immediate impact as your guests walk into the room. We have set table cards on slabs of grass, printed sports tickets as seating assignments and used chalkboards for seating arrangements.
8. Sign-in board
This can be a huge pillow, a photo, a mirror or a book with blank pages alternating with photographs.
9. Lounge for kids or seated? Or both
The lounge is more than a comfy spot to rest, it creates a fantasy. With draping and uniquely shaped furniture, theme pillows and ambient lighting, the lounge creates an air of mystery.
For a Mitzvah, probably the most important element is entertainment, especially the DJ and MC. Will you have a dance stage? Club lighting? Confetti-drop? Co2?
From casino tables and basketball shoot-outs to beauty bars and amazing magicians, games and entertainment are ways to add fun, personality and flavor to your party. The possibilities are endless.
11. Cake/Candle lighting
I've seen cakes that are exact replicas of Yankees Stadium, pink layer cakes with gold-leaf edging, tennis racket cakes, and photo cakes. The candle lighting ceremony can be done more casually with glowing light sticks or floating candles - no cake required. You can do 13 candles or 3. Or anything in between. No rules.
12. A picture is worth a thousand words. Create a montage that is 10 minutes long and includes 100-125 pictures and add video. .
Creating a personalized giveaway for your guests is a great way to end the evening. Popular items include sweats, water bottles, and blankets.