CHOOSE ENTERTAINMENT THAT WILL KEEP THE KIDS HAPPY

When Stacey, of Cleveland, Ohio, was planning her son, David's, Bar Mitzvah, her husband insisted on hiring a band in addition to the D.J. that most kids want these days.

"My husband is a music purist," she explains, and he prefers live music. "But the band was not able to duplicate the sound of many of the songs that the kids like to dance to. David's friends clearly didn't enjoy themselves on the dance floor," she says.

Stacey says that the best choice for their family would have been a D.J. group that includes one or more musicians who play instruments along with the recordings. That way, she says, everyone would have been happy with the music.

LET YOUR DAUGHTER HAVE MORE SAY ABOUT WHAT SHE WEARS

For a young Bat Mitzvah girl, choosing the dress for her party is an exciting part of getting ready for her big day. Debbie, from Melville, New York, regrets that she took too much control over that decision for her daughter, Julia.

Encouragement beats insisting: The dressmaker who created Julia's special occasion dress had very strong opinions about what Julia should wear. Julia ended up in a light ivory cropped jacket and camisole with a long ivory skirt that had three layers of shaded pink ruffles on the bottom.

"My daughter wanted more color," says Debbie, but the dressmaker convinced Debbie to pressure Julia into going with the "simple and elegant" ivory outfit.

Though her mom says Julia looked stunning, Julia was unhappy with the way she looked. Looking back, Debbie regrets not letting her daughter have more voice about the most personal element of her Bat Mitzvah celebration.

Of course, you don't want your 13-year-old to dress too provocatively. Short of that, however, you might want to cut her some slack in deciding what she'll wear on her special day.

TAKE FAMILY PICTURES BEFORE THE PARTY

Lizzy, of Delray Beach, Florida, says that her daughter, Annie's, Bat Mitzvah celebration at a top local restaurant was wonderful. That's why Lizzy regrets having missed much of it.

Don't miss the party: "We spent so much time taking pictures of the extended family," she recalls, "that I didn't get to enjoy the party as much as I would have liked."

If she had it to do over, says Lizzy, she would have had family members arrive for photos at the temple, before the service took place.

MAKE IT EASY FOR PEOPLE TO WATCH THE CANDLE LIGHTING CEREMONY

The candle lighting ceremony, at which people closest to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah boy or girl are invited to come up to light a candle on the cake is a moving tradition. Looking back, Cindy, from Sherman Oaks, California, wishes more people had been able to enjoy it at her daughter, Shelby's, party.

"The cake was on a table right on the dance floor," she explains. However, because the party was extremely large, many of the guests sitting farther away weren't able to see the ceremony. "I wish it had been held on the stage area, or that the table had been on a platform, so that everyone could have seen the beautiful ceremony."

[Note: To help you decide which songs to have the band or DJ play while those lighting candles walk up, check out this amazing list, compiled by Jemstar Entertaining, a mobile DJ company in Tampa, Florida.]

 

MAKE-UP, YES; TANNING SPRAY, NO

As a special beauty indulgence, Michelle, from Livingston, New Jersey, took her daughter, Jamie, to a salon where beauticians carefully applied a coat of spray-on tanner to both of them the day before Jamie's Bat Mitzvah.

Michelle says that in person, she and Jamie both looked great. In the photos, however, their skin had an unnatural orange glow. "I wish we had never done the tanner," says Michelle. "If we hadn't done it, we would now have much nicer photographs of an otherwise wonderful day."

Image credit: Bar Mitzvah Florida

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