A bar mitzvah marks the person’s acceptance of the responsibility to observe Jewish commandments. This is done upon a Jew’s 12th (girls) or 13th (boys) birthday. When a Jew reaches this milestone, a bar mitzvah ceremony is done as part of the ritual of the congregation. However, keep in mind that a bar mitzvah can invite a lot of expenses in your part, especially for the reception after the ceremony. Learn how much you have to spend for a bar mitzvah.
The Cost Of A Bar Mitzvah
The typical cost of a bar mitzvah ranges from $2,500 to $30,000.
This price refers to the cost of holding a bar mitzvah reception after the ceremony. The estimate quoted above already includes catering, entertainment, venue, decorations, cakes, invitations, and photography. Check out a detailed list of cost estimates of the different expenses in relation to a bar mitzvah party:
- Catering ($15 to $125 per guest)
- Cake ($.35 to $4 per slice)
- Venue rental ($250 to $2,500)
- Entertainment ($200 to $2,000)
- Invitations ($1 to $5 per guest)
- Photographer ($500 to $3,000)
Factors Affecting The Cost Of A Bar Mitzvah
Number of guests. The number of people you invite for a bar mitzvah reception will greatly affect the total cost of the bar mitzvah. For food alone, the more guests you have, the more expensive catering costs will become. Say for instance you have invited 50 people for the reception. If catering costs $50 per guest, expect to spend $2,500 on catering alone. Take note that the number of guests will also affect the cost of venue, cake, and invitations.
Quality of food. The type of food you choose is also a major cost factor, especially on the cost of catering. A complete-course meal will definitely cost more as compared to simple chicken meals. Moreover, a lunch meal will be more expensive as compared to snacks. Depending on your choice of food you want to be served to your guests, you can spend little or a lot on food alone. Also, the cost of catering increases if you choose to serve alcohol to adults. Choosing tiered cakes or carefully decorated cakes will also increase the cost of your expenses on food.
Venue. Where will the bar mitzvah reception be held? Depending on your choice, the venue can be cheap or expensive. You can have it free if you plan to do it in your backyard. Plan to spend a little for renting a small restaurant for a couple of hours, but expect to spend more for renting a five-star hotel function room. Also, the size of the venue and the length of time you rent it will affect rental costs.
Type of reception. A formal bar mitzvah party will definitely cost more because the atmosphere of a formal-themed party affects most of your choices. For instance, formal parties call for five-course meals and good quality foods and drinks. This is without mentioning yet that it requires a high class venue and great entertainment.
Choice of entertainment. Will you be hiring a band or a DJ for entertainment? It usually is cheaper to hire a DJ as compared to hiring a live band during the reception party. The reputation and experiences of the band or DJ can greatly affect hourly rates. However, take note that simply renting equipment to play music will be cheaper as compared to hiring anyone for the entertainment.
Photographer. Your choice of photographer will determine how much photography costs will be. Professional ones will usually charge more for their hourly rates as compared to amateur ones. Also, different packages are offered at different prices. A usual package of four hours of professional shooting, a photo album, and digital images can be around $500 to $800 already.
Time of day/time of year. Most events are cheaper during off-season months like August and January. This is true because you can often get discounted rates for the venue rental, photography, entertainment, and even catering costs. Holding the bar mitzvah on a weekday will usually be cheaper as compared to holding it on a weekend. Moreover, a dinner reception will be typically more expensive as compared to lunch receptions.
Location. Your geographical location has a lot to say when speaking of the cost of a bar mitzvah. Areas with a high cost of living such as Manhattan and Los Angeles have higher bar mitzvah costs.
It is a common tradition for the Jewish community to give the celebrated boy or girl a bar mitzvah gift. Getting a gift will cost you anywhere from $20 to $200 or even more. Most popular bar mitzvah gifts are jewelry, books, and accessories.
The family is expected to pay a bar mitzvah fee to the congregation. This covers the cost of the preparation of the student for the ceremony such as classes and workshops.
Tips When Preparing For A Bar Mitzvah
Plan for the bar mitzvah party ahead of time. If you want to save on your expenses and find good value for your money, you must be planning the party long before it happens. Most of the time, a not well-planned party turns out to be a disaster and leaves the host with a lot of unexpected expenses in front of him.
Create a checklist when planning a bar mitzvah party to ensure you don’t forget anything.
Shop around for the different details of the bar mitzvah party. Check out and get price estimates from different catering services, reception venues, photographers, and the like. Checking the reputation and credibility of different services will help you choose the best services for the bar mitzvah party.
Consult your child about the kind of reception he or she wants. After all, it is his milestone to be celebrated.
Get a written contract for all the services that you are getting for the party. Make sure the contract has a detailed list of information regarding prices, time and date of the party, inclusions in the package, and the like.
Save Money On Your Bar Mitzvah Party
Some people spend too much for a bar mitzvah party. However, your child’s milestone will not be any less if you do it simply and cheaply. Here are some cost-cutting tips for your bar mitzvah reception party:
- Plan your budget. How much are you willing to spend for the bar mitzvah party? Setting your budget in advance is essential to ensure that you don’t end up spending more than what you ought to spend. You can pick your priorities for the party and cross out things that won’t be that much necessary such as lavish invitations and cakes.
- Cut the guest list. The shorter your guest list is, the more money you can save on the reception. Imagine, if you remove 10 people off your current guest list and you have food worth $50 per guest, you already will be saving $500 on your bill.
- Don’t spend too much on invitations. Take note that you can do your invitations yourself for the bar mitzvah party. You simply have to print your designed invitations on your own printer. Going to a print shop and having an invitation printed will cost you up to $5 per guest. Doing the invitations yourself and adding a personal touch to it can mean $1 or less for each guest.
- Choose the photography package real well. Do you really need a professional photographer for the bar mitzvah? If you have digital cameras, you can ask someone to be a photographer for a day for you. If you want a professional photographer, you must be careful when choosing a package. Skip the extra effects on the photo album as they tend to cost more. You may even skip the photo album and simply get digital copies of the images for you to print out later.
- Go for cheaper decorations. Ask for cheaper flowers and other decors for the bar mitzvah reception. Some flowers will be a lot more expensive as compared to flowers that are in season. You may even want to choose silk flowers over fresh ones as they are cheaper.
- Skip the fancy extras. Service upgrades will simply make the bar mitzvah party a lot more expensive in your part. Train yourself not to give into any kind of temptation like this. Hiring a videographer is usually an extra thing that is not that much important especially if you have hired a photographer already. Getting simple cakes will also save you a lot of money as compared to getting multi-tiered ones.
- Plan the menu well. If you have a bar mitzvah reception dinner, go for three courses instead of serving five different courses. This will help cut down the cost of the food. Also, you may want to pick a snack or lunch reception over dinner as the menu will be a lot cheaper.
- Order a smaller cake. The cake is usually a decoration in any reception. However, do you really have to spend too much for a well-decorated cake to serve everyone in attendance? Experts suggest ordering a small decorated cake that matches the theme of the party for display and have several sheet cakes in the kitchen to serve the guests.