The Bar and Bat Mitzvah – the traditional ‘coming of age’ ceremony that marks a child’s transition into pre adulthood – is a big cause for celebration across the United States, with parties ranging from intimate and traditional to OTT. Some of the most outlandish bar/bat mitzvah celebrations in recent times include a Titanic-themed party, a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-inspired event, and swish affairs featuring music by A-listers like Drake or 50 Cent. Alabama’s Jewish population is relatively small compared to other states. According to the Jewish Virtual Library, as of 2017, this population stood at a little over 9,500. Still, with statistics showing that roughly half of all Jewish families celebrate a bar or bat mitzvah, you could feel very much inspired to celebrate your child’s coming-of-age. Make sure you have all the essentials required to make this a party to remember.
Picking the Right Venue
Depending on the size of your party, picking the right sized venue is key. Alabama has companies that specialize in bar mitzvah celebrations, including Woodrow Hall (which can host small or large affairs of up to 350 people), Shadow Wood Manor (a rustic yet elegant venue that hosts bar mitzvahs, weddings, and other parties), and the Birmingham City Club (with a nice outdoor terrace for those who like to celebrate with cigars). The key to choosing the right venue is price, and size. Even if a larger space is within your budget, you should have everyone on the dance floor and interacting. Therefore, a small, cozy venue may be better if you have a small party of 30 to 50, while a larger hall would be required to accommodate various tables. For something really different, a stylish rooftop event is ideal if you can score a penthouse or other tall building that will allow you to party under the stars while enjoying views of the city skyline.
Enticing Guests with Delicious Treats
Once you have decided on a venue, getting your menu right is key. Modern bar mitzvahs usually serve foods kids love – think burgers, falafel, kosher hotdogs in a bun, and of course, kebabs – which are well loved by kids and adults alike. Sweets – both traditional and American – are also big at most bar mitzvahs. Ensure you have a nice blend of Jewish favorites like rugelach, and your son’s favorite sweet and sour candies.
Getting them to Dance on the Ceiling
Bar mitzvahs are known to have guests on their feet until the sun rises so make sure yours doesn’t disappoint. If many your guests are homegrown Alabamians then include a bit of blues and folk music to set the ambience. As the night progresses, get the crowd excited with classic ditties like Hava Nagila (use a dubstep, dance, or techno version if your child loves this music), as well as music that appeals to all ages. You might ask your DJ to run through the different decades – from the 1980s onwards, ensuring he or she doesn’t spend too long one musical genre. Catchy, lively, dance tracks and rock ‘n roll classics usually get people off their seats so run through the playlist with your DJ prior to the event.
The perfect bar mitzvah involves striking the balance between venue, food, and music. If someone in the family is a talented chef, cut down on costs by asking them to make a couple of dishes – for instance, the dessert. If a DJ is out of your budget, create your own playlist, making sure that all your child’s favorite songs are included.