Choosing a theme for a bar or bat mitzvah celebration seems easy. After all, right now your teen is SO into soccer, or YouTube, or dance. But if you’re planning the simcha one to two years ahead of the date, be prepared that his or her passions, hobbies and interests may change dramatically during this time.
I remember a parent who went far down the road with a decorator on a Broadway-themed bash, only to have her daughter return from camp completely crazy about her sport instead. The decorator went back to the drawing board, but the parent was out a good bit of money and time!
Why does it matter to have a theme? It provides a framework for all the elements of the weekend. It can influence décor, of course, but also menu, favors, entertainment and even activities for your out-of-towners. Let’s explore the possibilities.
If your teen has played piano since preschool, music may be a no-brainer. Likewise, if he or she has been a lifelong sports player or artist. Consider all their hobbies and see what lends itself to a celebration that will be meaningful and fun for all. Peruse our Pinterest boards for ideas of how others used hobbies in their celebration elements and start your own boards with examples you and your teen like.
Is the beach your teen’s favorite place to be? Maybe he has a beloved city you’ve traveled to as a family or considers summer camp heaven on earth. A destination can be an excellent theme. Transport your guests to another place by bringing its sights, sounds and flavors to your venue. Or, consider making that place your celebration spot, like a location that overlooks the water or holding the simcha at your child’s camp (URJ Camp Coleman and Camp Barney Medintz both allow this at certain times of year, but check with your synagogue’s clergy before booking.)
Color Outside the Lines
If your teen isn’t attached to a hobby, activity, or place don’t sweat it! Not every theme fits a mold. Color outside the lines by using favorite hues as décor inspiration. This idea has become more popular in recent years because it’s timeless (colors never go out of style!) and easy to build on. Just the selection of certain color combos can set the tone for your affair.
The Name Game
Using your teen’s name to anchor decor is another fresh take on the theme scene. I’ve worked with families on successful celebrations that use a name as a logo that can be applied to dance floor wraps, projected on walls, and printed on napkins or favors in an eye-catching way.
As mentioned already, your teen may change his or her mind several times. Don’t settle on a theme until you are within 12 months of the big day. And make sure you’re clear what your teen means when he says he wants a Fortnite-themed party. Your vision may be wildly different from his, and you both need to meet in the middle about what’s realistic.
Anything goes when it comes to bar mitzvah themes! The only requirement is that the celebration truly represents the guest of honor’s personality and vision for this milestone moment. Ready to talk themes? Reach out to one of the outstanding decorators in the AMC Preferred Vendor Directory to bring your vision to life.
Featured image: Let's Celebrate
If you’re ready to move beyond your backyard for Mitzvah portraits, the AMC community of pro photographers and veteran Mitzvah moms and dads have some fantastic off-the-beaten-path ideas for session settings. We’ve added a few of our own secret faves, as well.