Bar/Bat Mitzvah Planning

Suggested Order of Events:

1.Guests Arrive

2.Cocktail Hour/Party games for the kids

3.Main Reception Starts (guests enter main room from cocktails, if cocktails in a different room)

4.Family Grand Entrance

5.Candle Lighting





10.Salad is served

(typically 25-30 minutes after Grand Enterance)

11.Guest of Honor/Parent Dance

12.Open Dance floor for a short period of dancing (usually group participation dances are done here)

13.Main Course

14.Host/Hostess Dance

15.Open Dance floor for a short period of dancing


17.Open Dance floor

18.Grand Finale

Note: This is a typical bar mitzvah schedule and is only a suggestion. Every reception is different. This is your reception and it’s completely up to you and your family how you would like things to run throughout the night. Any event may be added, removed, or rearranged. Just let me know in advance and it will be fine.

Candle Lighting:

A memory candle for deceased relative(s) may be lit by the guest of honor. Typically this is announced by the Guest of Honor and is done either before the first candle is announced, or before the parent’s candle is announced. Alternatively, one of the candles on the cake can be lit as a memory candle as well. This would be announced at the time of that candle.

There are two main ways to have the candle lighting done. The first is the guest of honor lights each candle on behalf of their guests or the guest of honor will call each guest up and that guest lights the candles themselves.

The general order for candle lighting is as follows:





5)Older relatives

6)Younger relatives

7)Friends of parents

8)Friends of guest of honor



11)Guest of Honor

The usual number of candles is 14 (13 for their age and one for good luck). Try to group relatives and friends together to keep the amount of candles to 14 as best as possible. You can have interesting tidbits of information announced as the individual comes up to light the candles. It is suggested to write this in advance as to make sure that everything you want said is included.

You will also need to choose music to be played while people come up and light the candles. You can have one piece of music serve as background music to all of the candles, or you may want to match a specific song to each person or group of people lighting the candle. It is highly suggested that the songs be kept upbeat and fun, although a slow song can work just as well if appropriate to the person. The total ceremony is suggested to take about 15 minutes.


The guest of honor is the primary person who is lifted in the chair. Other members of the family and special friends may also be lifted. Please let me know in advance who you would like to be lifted during this time.


Kiddush is a blessing usually given by a rabbi, priest or religious figure. Let me know who will be giving this special blessing so I can announce it appropriately.


Again, like the Kiddush the motzi is another blessing usually given by the same rabbi, priest or religious figure as the Kiddush. However, it can also be appropriate to have another person give this blessing. It’s all dependent upon what you want. Again, just let me know who will be providing this blessing.


The toast is a short speech in tribute to the guest of honor. It can be given by anyone and is suggested to be no more than 5 minutes long. It is also appropriate to have more than one toast if there are multiple people that would like to speak. Typically, the father of the guest of the honor is the one who gives a toast. Please let me know who will be providing a toast for the event.

After the toast, some guests of honor take a few moments to say something in response to the toast. This is a wonderful opportunity to welcome everyone and to do any special acknowledgements, such as guests who have traveled a long distance or friends or family who have contributed in the preparation of the ceremony or reception.

Host/Hostess Dance:

This is a special dance that is done typically after the first course is served. A slow romantic song is highly suggested for this dance. It is also customary (although not necessary) to invite guests to join in part way through the song. If you would like guests to join in let me know so I can announce to them when the appropriate time to join will be.

Guest of Honor/Parent Dance:

This is another special dance that is done typically after the main course is served. Again it is highly suggested that a slow song be selected for this dance. For some people, this is a special dance with a mother or father, stepfather or mother, uncle, brother or close family friend. More than one dance can be done if needed. Please let me know what song and who will be dancing for this special dance.

Grand Finale:

Before the very last dance, I can organize the guests in a circle around the guest of honor, pass a microphone around, and allow each person to offer a special final greeting or best wishes message. This is just a suggestion and does not have to be done if you don’t want it. It is highly suggested that you once again thank your guests for coming and for helping celebrate this special day with you.

Suggested Group Participation Games include:

1)Cha Cha Slide

2)Electric Slide

3)C’mon N Ride The Train

4)Conga Line

5)Cotton Eyed Joe

6)Greased Lighting

7)Hokey Pokey


9)Get Down Tonight

10) Shout


12) Alley Cat

13) Booty Call

14) Mississippi Mudslide

15) Apache

16) Limbo

17) New Electric Slide

18) The Twist


Here are a few suggestions for games. If you need more, please let me know.

Idea 1: The guest of honor fills out a questioner about him/herself and friends and family have to try to figure out the answers to the blanks. The person that has the most answers right is the winner.

Idea 2: Musical chairs

Option 1: with different ways of sitting each time (ie. Elbow on chair, bare foot on chair, etc.)

Option 2: in the dark with a strobe light and other lights

Idea 3: Freeze Dance Game: When the music starts everyone starts dancing. When the music stops, everyone has to stop. The last person dancing is out.

Idea 4: Multiplication Dance: When the music starts everyone dances. When the music stops I call out a number. Everyone on the dance floor then must form groups of people with that number. (ie. If I call out 3, three people have to make a group.) The winners are the last group standing.

Idea 5: Steal the Bacon

Two teams play against each other. Each member of the team has a number. Using glow sticks and glow necklaces everyone takes turns racing to the center of the floor to grab a glow stick when their number is called. If they can get the glow stick back to their side without being tagged they get to keep it for their team. If they get tagged the other team gets the glow stick. The team with the most glow sticks wins.

Idea 6: Balloon Games:

A variety of fun high energy games involving balloons. (see list below for complete listing of balloon games)

Idea 7: Human Knots

Have your group stand shoulder to shoulder in a circle. The group will be working through a challenge to untangle a human knot. Have each person stick their left hand into the circle without touching anyone. Then have them grasp the hand of a different person who is not standing next to them. This should tangle the group. Now have them work together to untangle the knot without letting their hands go.

Idea 9: Karaoke

Pick a song and sing to it. Groups or individual.

Idea 10: Coke/Pepsi

Divide group into two teams. Each person has a partner. If the word coke is said all the people on the left side have to run, tag their partners and get back to their spot. If the word Pepsi is said all the people on the right side have to run, tag their partners and get back to their spot. If the word 7 up is said, both sides have to switch. The last team back to their spot is out. The winning team is the last team standing.

Idea 11: Hula Hoop Contest

Each person is given a hula hoop. The person who hula hoops the longest is the winner.

Idea 12: Costume Contest/Mummy Wrap

Using props from the room, toilet paper, and the party pack gather kids into teams to decorate one member in the best costume. The winning team is the team with the most creatively decorated person.

Idea 13: Simon Says

Idea 14: Name That Tune

Using popular songs from the radio, have kids/team try to guess the song.

Idea 15: Game Show

Have trivia questions for the kids to answer. The kid/team that gets the most answers right is the winner.

Balloon Guidelines:

Why Balloon Activities?

* Balloons - in one form or another - have fascinated human beings for centuries.

* Balloons are incredibly forgiving and help in building people's confidence.

* Balloons are fun, portable, and inexpensive.

* Balloons add suspense to the atmosphere - there is a healthy sense of prolonged hope when playing with balloons!

Conducting Balloon Activities

Balloon games can be used as party games, fun fillers, energizers, icebreakers, or for longer trust-building, team building, and therapeutic sessions. Create a unique sequence for your group, using these 40 balloon game descriptions as a guide.


5 mins to 1 hour


Preferably inside. Balloons are susceptible to even the slightest wind which can be frustrating. Plus, there are fewer accidental balloon bursts inside.


Ideally, start with 2 to 3 assorted round 9 to 12 inch (medium to large) round latex balloons per person (deflated). The actual number needed depends on group size, the specific activity, and whether it involves bursting balloons. The best place to get balloons is at a dollar store or party store where you can get them in bulk.


Only one person inflates each balloon.


Can occur following quick, deep breaths from the top of the chest when blowing up balloons, leading to a lack of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) in the blood. Symptoms include lightheadedness. Encourage anyone experiencing this to sit down and to breath slowly.

Balloon Games: (can be done in any order)

Game idea #1: Balloons in a circle

Use a hula hoop or make a circle with tape or string. Divide up the group into even teams and give each team a bag of balloons. Tell them the object of the game is to get all the balloons in your bag to fit inside the hula hoop or circle. The team that completes the task the quickest is the winners.

Game idea #2: Over Under

Have teams line up in a single file line. Place a hula hoop or make a circle in the front of each line. Have one person stand in the circle and have the rest of the group line up behind that person. On go, have the participants alternate between passing the balloon over their had and through their legs. When the balloon gets to the back of the line, that person then runs to the front and begins the process of over and under again. The winning team is the first team to the very first member of the team back to the front of the line.

Game idea #3: Hot Potato

Have participants make a circle. When the music starts have the participants pass the balloon around the circle. When the music stops whoever has the balloon is out. Play until there is only one person left.

Game idea #4: Volleyball

Create a net by making a line of chairs across the center of the room or having two volunteers hold a limbo pole. It’s not necessary but a nice touch if you have a few blankets to cover over the chairs or pole to make a “real net.” Divide the group into two teams. Create three rows of chairs on each side and have participants sit in a chair. The game is played just like volleyball; however, you can only hit the balloon while in a seated position.

Game idea #5: Relay race

Have each team line up single file. At the other end of the room have a chair for each team. Have participants take turns hitting their balloon across the room, around the chair, and back to their team. If the balloon hits the floor, the participant must start over from the beginning. The winning team is the team that completes the game the fastest.

Game idea #6: Balloon Pop

Have each team line up single file. At the other end of the room have a chair for each team. On each chair place a deflated balloon. Have the participants take turns running to the chair, blowing up the balloon, then placing the balloon on the chair and popping it by sitting on it. The winning team is the team that completes the game the fastest.

Game idea #7: Balloons on the Wall

This game can be played either on a team or or' an individual basis. A large pile of balloons is assembled in the centre of the room and each player or team is allocated an area of wall. On the word 'Go!' each player takes a balloon, rubs it on his or her clothing to create a static charge and attempts to stick it on his or her area of wall. If the balloon sticks then the player can try it with another one. After a certain period of time the game is stopped and the team or player with the most balloons on its patch of wall is the winner

Game idea #8: Balloon Juggle

Challenge participants to keep all balloons (1+ per person) in the air. This gets the group moving and cooperating. Once they've got the hang of it, make it harder by adding in more balloons or placing restrictions e.g., no hands to keep balloons up.

For an added twist try this:

Ask participants to keep juggling the balloons, but to sort them into colors (works best with large groups).

Game idea #9: Name Game

Have the participants stand in a circle. Toss a balloon in the air and call someone's name. That person must catch the balloon before it touches the ground. If the person succeeds he/she then tosses the balloon up and calls the next name.

Game idea #10: Ankle Pop

Give each participant a string with a balloon tied to the end. Have the participants tie the other end of the string around their ankle. (Make sure that the string is long enough for the balloon to move around freely. On go each person will try to pop the balloon of other members in the game. The winner is the person who has defended their balloon and popped all the others balloons.

Game idea #11: How many can you hold?

Just like the description sounds. Have a contest to see who can hold the most balloons.

Game idea #12: Balloon marble

Blow up balloons, putting a small marble through the neck of each one before tying the end. This makes the balloons move in unexpected ways. Release into the group one more balloon than participants. The object is to keep the balloons up in the air. Play this in two teams, each side with an extra balloon. The team who lets a balloon drop to the floor first loses.

Game idea #13: Balloon Art

Have kids create a balloon scarecrow using markers, tape, and props from a party pack or things found in the room. The team with the most creative scarecrow is the winner.

Game idea #14: Stuff The Balloons

Divide the group into two teams and have each team choose one team mate to put on a baggy pair of pants and a baggy shirt. The object is to see which team can stuff the most balloons into the shirt and pants of their designated team mate in just two minutes. Start your theme music and watch the fun. When the music ends, count the balloons each team has stuffed into their teammates shirt and pants. The team with the most balloons is the winner.

Game idea #15: Kaboom

Give each team a die (singular version of dice). Give each person a balloon. On Go, participants will take turns rolling the die. Whatever number they roll, that’s the number of blows they can do to their balloon. Once their turn is up, they pass the die on to the next person in their team. The team who can pop all their balloons the fastest is the winning team. If a player cheats, they must completely let the air out of their balloon and start over again.

Game idea #16: 16. Balloon Tower

Prep & Props: About 20 uninflated balloons per person, Plenty of tape, Stopwatch or timer, Tape Measure

This is a great game both for teambuilding and just for fun. Separate players into, preferably, 3 or more teams of about 3-10 persons each. Each team is given a pile of uninflated balloons and a few rolls of clear tape. Instruct the teams that they are to build the largest freestanding balloon tower possible in a certain amount of time. Give no further restrictions on the game. Start the clock, and everyone begins building the towers. When time is called, look at the towers (measure if necessary) and declare whose tower is tallest.

You can shock (and slightly annoy) the players by suggesting that it would not have been against the rules to combine resources with each other to make a much taller tower.

Note on location: Be advised that carpet works quite well, but surfaces like concrete tend to pop the balloons. Experiment ahead of time to make sure the surface is satisfactory

Game idea # 17: Closing Game

At the end of the time for games, put all remaining balloons in a big pile in the center of the room. Give each group a trashcan. Say to the group this is the final game. The object is to get the most balloons into your trashcan. The team with the most balloons wins. At the very end have one volunteer pop the balloons in the trash.

If this still isn’t enough for you, feel free to contact me and I’ll give you as many game ideas as you could possibly want and more.

Music Requests:

Please Provide in the space below all special songs you would like to have played during the night.


Dedications, birthdays, anniversaries or other special dances

Please list any special announcements you would like to have made. This is a great way to personalize your event and recognize someone special.

Additional Notes:

If there is anything else I should know to ensure your reception runs smoothly, please list the details here.

For example:

If you feel I need to be aware of any sensitive information regarding your event, family or guests.

If you are having a video presentation, a singer, musician, fraternity/sorority serenade, centerpiece giveaway, or any other personalized additions that will make your party unique.

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