I speak regularly with families who are concerned about the costs of having a Bar or Bat Mitzvah party for their child.

There seem to be two schools of thought on good Mitzvah celebrations. In the first group are parents who pull out all the stops and throw a big, flashy party. If this describes what you want – go for it. Be prepared both for significant costs and a great party. Remember that the best Mitzvah’s manage to keep the focus on your child and the spirit of the occasion, no matter what the final budget of the event.

But what if you want something less flashy, less expensive, and just as (or maybe more) meaningful? In this group are families who are not interested in trying to out-do others on spectacle. The best part of planning a party for this second group is that you’re already focused on the heart of the event: planning a special, memorable and fun family party that incorporates Jewish tradition, special ceremonies and good times.

Here’s how you can have a special, exciting and memorable mitzvah party for your child without having to take out a second mortgage on your home!

1.  CHOOSING A VENUE

Choose a venue that has great dynamics for a party vs just a room in a fancy building – look for a large main room sized to the number of guests, allow for some alcoves/smaller areas that allow people to get away to talk, that has clean restrooms, and that has easy access for setup and takedown.

2.  PARTY FAVORS

Choose inexpensive but interesting party favors to hand out to guests as a special memento

3.  GAMES

Choose game prizes like I-Tunes gift cards, $2 bills, or other small chatchkis; small gift bags

4.  CHOOSING DECOR & PHOTO BOOTH

Make good use of simple fabric backdrops and up-lighting to make the room look beautiful. Use your photos, videos, and LCD projectors to best advantage. In some rooms this may be off to the side; in others your slideshows may be part of the main event. Think about interactivity for your guests. A digital snap shot booth, a live camera fed to a projector, a fun game table off to the side, and so on. Keep the focus on your child and your guests.

7.  DELAGATING

If you are the host parent, then delegate, delegate, delegate even if you are not hiring coordinators. This leaves you free to work the room and relax. Sweat the details of the guest list. A good party starts with a good crowd.

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