Cake and refreshments at a Bar Mitzvah celebrationThe party for a bar or bat mitzvah can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose, but whatever you decide, you’ll need to find just the right size location to have your celebration.
Planning an elaborate birthday party is a lot of fun, but it can be quite pricey. You can spend as much as you want, but it is advisable to come up with a budget.
Your budget will set the tone for the party and determine how much you spend on each element. Once you’ve established your budget, you can lock down the venue for your party.
Knowing the number of people to expect will enable you to choose a venue. If you’re planning for a larger crowd of friends and family and want to have a cocktail reception before the party begins, think about renting a venue with multiple spaces for you to utilize.

A large, elaborate affair or smaller, more intimate group?

With a smaller crowd, you can take advantage of a larger space. Consider separating it into smaller areas where you can still offer a cocktail-hour, a place for guests to enjoy the party comfortably, and still have room in the main space for dining, entertainment, and other family traditions.
Large or small crowd, holding a cocktail reception in one area of the venue and the party in another will give you the opportunity to create a flow to your celebration and guide the guests along the way. All the while, it ensures you have ample room for everyone.

The cocktail party

Having a cocktail party before the big party is common at a bar mitzvah, but you need to decide who you want to do it. You can offer wine and beer during the cocktail party portion of the celebration. Then at the party itself, you can open a full cash bar. You can also provide a full bar at cocktail hour and then a hosted or cash bar at the celebration.

Daytime or evening start time?

Deciding whether you prefer a daytime celebration or an evening party can really affect the budget. Typically, having your party in the daytime will be a less expensive route. The hall rental will be less, and it is less likely that you would offer a cocktail hour. The food can be simpler, and the overall décor could be less involved as well. It just depends on how you would like to celebrate.

Theme or no theme?

Whether you chose a theme for the party is up to you and the guest of honor.
If your child has a particular interest, you can incorporate that into a theme as well. Choosing a theme can make the rest of the party planning easy as it will guide your decisions when ordering the cake, decorations, and party favors. But no theme can be fun too as it is a birthday party after all and what better theme than that?


When it comes to decorating, have some fun! There are many options in decorating for a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah from the simple to the over-the-top. All you have to do is research the ways to decorate for the theme (or no theme) of your choice, and you’ll find a host of ideas, including DIY ideas that can help save money. Many venues in Nevada County, like the Foothills Event Center in Grass Valley, have numerous options for décor from dishes to linens, up-lighting to flowers, centerpieces, and so much more!

Comfort for all

When planning, it’s important to remember that there will be people of all ages at your gathering. So, making sure there is a comfortable place to enjoy the festivities for everyone is important. When looking at venues, make sure that the kids have ample space to enjoy activities and eat.

Easy access

In most cases, all of the family and many friends are invited to a young person’s bar or bat mitzvah, as it’s such an important rite of passage when a young person transitions from childhood to young adulthood.
Choosing a venue with ample parking for all your guests will make enjoying the celebration much easier as they won’t have to worry about parking. Making sure your venue has ample parking will be appreciated by your young and older guests alike.

Help with planning

Some folks can add the expense of an event planner to their budget without a problem. But if you’re looking to have help but save a little bit of money, talk with your venue and see what event management services they offer.
Oftentimes, like at The Foothills Event Center, there is a level of help that is offered as part of your rental. Be sure you look at all your options before deciding which option is best for you. Having an event coordinator at the venue is just enough to help, and you don’t have to pay extra to get it!

Amanda Rodgers
Written by Amanda Rodgers

Amanda has over 30 years’ experience in promotions, marketing, event production, operations, and fundraising in both the entertainment and corporate markets. She began producing events at the young age of 16 at a local community radio station. A few years later, Amanda moved to Palo Alto to work at an Apple software retail company. She worked for several software startup companies, including Wollongong, Attachmate, and RadMedia, managing their trade show events across the country. In 1993, she moved back to Nevada County, resumed managing events for her local radio station, and produced private events and weddings as an independent contractor.

As an independent contractor, she has broadened her reach and experience and has participated in events with organizations such as Vanern Enterprises. There, she was in registration for a global congress in Montreal, Canada, and Caspian Agency out of Los Angeles, where she was on the team that orchestrated Al Gore’s worldwide VIP movie premiere for An Inconvenient Sequel, Truth to Power. She took a position with Music in the Mountains, a classical music production company. She managed both their Production and Operations departments for almost two years before joining Foothills Events Center as the Venue Assistant Manager in 2019.

Amanda assists with all aspects of the Foothills Event Center’s concerts, parties, celebrations, fundraisers, weddings, and other events. She observes our events as they happen, to ensure the clients and event attendees have a seamless event.