How to Choose a Mitzvah Theme
SimchasShelly Danz is the founder of Atlanta Party Connections.

How to Choose a Mitzvah Theme

Teens can change their minds at the drop of a hat. Read on for tips on making a decision for an affair to remember.

Shelly Danz, Founder of Atlanta Party Connection, has been planning events for the past 15 years in the Jewish community from small, intimate parties to very large upscale events.

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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 simchah 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.

Consider Interests

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 for ideas of how others used hobbies in their celebration elements, and start your own boards with examples you and your teen like.

Color outside the lines when choosing a theme, says Shelly Danz.

Pick Places

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.

Using a teen’s name to anchor decor is a fresh take on themes.

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.

Communicate Clearly

As mentioned already, your teen may change his or her mind several times. Don’t settle on a theme until you are within a year 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.

Atlanta Party Connection helps families create their ideal weddings and mitzvah celebrations. APC connects families with top vendors, secures exclusive deals and discounts on services, and provides planning tips and inspiration. APC also produces four events annually to connect attendees with celebration vendors in a festive party atmosphere. The next Bar & Bat Mitzvah Expo is Oct. 14 at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter.

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