bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah planning guide
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Bar Mitzvah / Bat Mitzvah and Jewish Wedding Planning and Resource Guide

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Event Planning: Choosing a Reception Site

Choosing a Reception Site
Questions to ask about facilities:
  1. How much do you charge for children's meals and what is the age range?


  2. What is the price of limited bar versus open bar and the price for non-alcoholic beverages?


  3. Do you serve buffet style or plated meals, and the prices for each?


  4. Do you have any upcoming renovations planned?


  5. Is your facility handicap accessible? What about accessibility of outdoor facilities, such as a gazebo, garden, or patio?


  6. What colors are available for table linens and chair covers? Are additional colors/styles available?


  7. Are additional rooms available for teens /children / entertainment, or for a bridal room for the wedding party? Is there a private room for family or bridal portraits?


  8. Are packages available that include flowers, photos, decorations, invitations, etc.?


  9. What restrictions are there for decorations, entertainment, and outside catering options? Are cakes/desserts allowed from outside? Is there limited electric or lighting available?


  10. Is there a coat room with an attendant? Is there valet parking or convenient, onsite parking spaces?
Reception Ideas
Your choice of reception style, location, and time will depend upon personal preference, family needs, local customs, budget and availability. Do not worry too much about pleasing others - you and your family must be comfortable with the arrangements. Here are just a few variants and ideas to discuss:

Kiddush Luncheon at the Synagogue:
This is probably the least expensive way to offer a celebratory meal away from home. It can be catered, or bring in platters prepared by you or some helpers (Note: This will not be allowed in facilities where kashrut is observed) . This can also be offered in addition to a more formal evening affair or a kids-only party.

Reception at the Synagogue:
Check to see if your Synagogue has adequate facilities and staff to accommodate your needs. Some Synagogues also have rules regarding kashrut, caterers, entertainment, photography, flowers and more. Consult with the Synagogue staff.

Non-Traditional Reception Sites:
  • Community center
  • Social hall
  • Country club (even if you don't belong)
  • Boats and yachts
  • Museums
  • Elegant restaurants
  • Theme restaurants
Kiddush Luncheon at a Restaurant:
Can be very reasonably priced, particularly if it is customary to invite all congregants to a Kiddush luncheon at the synagogue.

Reception at a Hotel:
This is often desirable, afternoon or evening, when many guests from out-of-town are expected. Ask about room rates and room blocks to reserve. Remember, too, the in-town guests who have to find the hotel and park, so make the location accessible.

Home Reception:
Yes, it's less expensive. But remember the extra work, the clean-up, the wear and tear - and you can't walk away from it after the party! Still, lovely home receptions have been done. Consider services such as a caterer, party planner, entertainers, and clean-up help so you can be a guest at your own party.

Kids-Only Party:
Usually held in conjunction with a Kiddush luncheon, this can be held anywhere your Bar/Bat Mitzvah and you agree upon. Arcades, zoos, pools, amusement parks, kids' museums, theme restaurants, bowling alleys, sports centers, and skating rinks all are appropriate locations. Some have food, some you'll need to bring. A D.J., entertainer, or inflatable attraction can add to the fun and please everyone.

Reception at a Catering Hall:
These are often beautifully decorated and well-run, because that is their only business. Ask about packages that include other services (flowers, decorations, videography, etc.) that you may want or need.

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