How To Throw A Less Traditional Celebrationbmitzvahs

Your child is 11 years old and you’ve just received their bar or bat mitzvah date. Mazel Tov! Your son or daughter is embarking on a two-year journey towards adulthood (at the recognized ripe old age of 13!). And YOU are at the beginning of the long process of planning the celebration. As anyone who has come before will tell you… putting together your child’s party is a joyous, loving, creative and ominous task. So… it’s time to get going. First stop- figuring out what type of celebration fits the personality of YOUR child. Many kids prefer some sort of dance party- either at a dance club or at a venue that supports an MC/DJ/Dancers and dance floor. This is an amazing and popular way to be festive together. But for some kids, it’s not the type of party that reflects who they are.

So, if this is your child, it’s time to consider other options. Here are some ideas to get the juices flowing:

Is your child more casual? Not the total dress up kid? You might want to consider a Sports Themed Party at a sporting venue. Many health clubs, gyms and sports bars offer great setups for parties that don’t necessarily require an MC and dancing. It’s easy for 12 and 13 year-olds to have an amazing time playing basketball, pool, ping pong, foosball, video games, pop-a-shot, driving cars, or bowling. Places like Club Fit, Saw Mill Club, Chelsea Piers, and Solaris all have party packages for the sports loving kid. Lucky Strike, Life and Grand Prix offer a variety of games and interactive activities. These are just a few of the many options that do not require dancing shoes!

Thinking about a place where you can be outside during the day? Celebrating at an outdoor venue can be lovely, and really allow you to take advantage of the seasonal surroundings in Spring and Fall.  It may take a little more research, but there are lots of lawns and patios that can accommodate an outdoor party perfectly. What to do while you are in the great outdoors? Enjoy the beautiful day with family and friends! Have a brunch or a BBQ. For the kids, consider games. A good ‘ole color war or an Olympics with varied activities can be a lot of fun. And a little different too. Westchester, Connecticut and Long Island have the advantage of being near the water. Restaurants like Harvest on Hudson, Half Moon, Sunset Cove, and Glen Island Harbor Club all are set up with options for celebrating outdoors and with a view.   Or if you are inland, look into a country club or one of the classic country restaurants like the Bedford Post Inn, Crabtree’s Kittle House or the Hammond Museum (just to name a few possibilities). Edith Macy Conference Center even has a lodge on a lake that you can party in. There are so many options- from more traditional and dressy to casual to downright campy.

Photo Credit: Crabtree’s Kittle House

Just remember, if you are celebrating outdoors, there is always the possibility of (dare we say) inclement weather. Make sure there is an indoor component to your outdoor celebration, and consider the possibility of reserving a tent. It’s always a beautiful day on a party… but just in case!

In the end, just remember that they style of your celebration should reflect the personality of your family and your child. Keep it true to you and no matter how you do it, it will be an amazing recognition of an incredible milestone.

Cathy Masinter Hildenbrand has over 25 years of experience as a writer, producer and director at Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, PBS, Oxygen, Noggin and Sesame Workshop. 

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