Bar Mitzvah Guest Etiquette
Whether attending Bar Mitzvahs is routine, or this is your first, you'll want to make a good impression on your host. After all, there's more to attending a Bar Mitzvah than getting dressed up, shedding a few tears, and partying all night long -- you've got responsibilities too! Here's everything you need to know to be a great guest.
For Bar Mitzvahs, there's a portion of the event devoted to special customs, such as dances or religious traditions. If you intend to join the Bar Mitzvah, you should plan to participate in all of these customs. It's definitely not kosher to put on a bored look if you find yourself feeling, well, bored, or to skip temple and then show up for the food later.
Do Your Homework
If there are any Bar Mitzvah customs you don't understand, do a little detective work on your own. "Go online, call up your local temple, or ask your friend to explain the ceremony to you beforehand," suggests Shawn Rabideau, President of Event Ergonomics, a New York-based party planning and design company. "It is respectful and shows that you realize how important this day is to your host."
Hold Back a Little
Your Bar Mitzvah host will be under a lot of pressure to attend to every guest, so don't get offended if you only get five minutes of face time. This is especially important at larger Bar Mitzvahs, where your host will be responsible for saying gracious hellos and good-byes to longtime friends and family.
Put Your Host First
Chances are, your Bar Mitzvah host will be nervous about how the event turns out. She'll be worrying about the food, the weather, or how to get everyone to dance! Don't add to the stress by voicing your own concerns about the menu, a hairstyle or outfit that didn't go well, or a foe who's in attendance. No matter what happens, it's best to keep your complaints to yourself -- put on a brave face and keep dancing.
Mind Your Manners
At the Bar Mitzvah, say hello to your host (don't wait until she comes to you) and try to comment on a specific aspect of the party that's especially interesting. "Wow, I can tell a lot of work went into those decorations!" sounds a lot more personal than "Uh, this is nice." And extend that politeness to the venue's staff if the Bar Mitzvah is being held outside the home. Always use "please" and "thank you." You might think no one notices the little things. Trust us, they do!
Make a Perfect Exit
When you leave, say good-bye and thank your Bar Mitzvah host. Didn't have a good time? Remember, it's the thought that counts -- so keep your opinions to yourself. You don't have to gush about how wonderful everything was, but something like, "Thank you for having me -- it was great to be included" is a must. Being polite is a small price to pay for what will probably be a fun night out.
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