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Bar Mitzvah Invitations
you need to know for scoring standout party invitations.
Starting a buzz about your child's Bar Mitzvah begins with stellar invitations. As the centerpiece of your party's stationery, the invitation reflects the tone of the Bar Mitzvah, whether it's black-tie formal or a fun, kids-only fete. An invitation will have several pieces: the outer envelope, the inner envelope, the invitation, a reception card (if the party is held at a different venue than the temple), and a response card with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. Printed maps and information on hotels is often also enclosed. If you've already decided on a Bar Mitzvah theme now is the time to introduce it. Use a specific color or motif -- and simply apply it to each piece.
Party Pointer: For efficiency and cost-effectiveness, strive to order all your stationery needs from the same place, and, ideally, at the same time.
There is no rule of thumb when it comes to Bar Mitzvah invitations. But, a heavy card stock, cotton, or linen paper in white or ecru, and engraved with black or charcoal ink is always a safe and sophisticated choice. Using block lettering or a simple italic for boys will give the invitation a more masculine feel, and for girls, a calligraphed text will err on the feminine side.
Kids today are moving away from the standard invitation and using papers in unusual sizes, colors, and even exotic materials like rubber, metal, and fabric. You can also be waste-conscious by using less formal invites and forgoing the unsealed inner envelope (originally used to protect the invitation from the elements when mail was hand-delivered and would otherwise have arrived in shoddy shape).
What to Write:
Make sure you include the basics: who, what, when, where, and why. You may also want to incorporate Hebrew on the invitation. The most common method is to write the child's given Hebrew name underneath his English name. Also, ask your stationer about including Bais Hey in the upper right hand corner of the invitation. These Hebrew characters signify a traditional blessing. For a more religious service you may want do a double-sided invitation where one side is written in English and the other in Hebrew.
For divorced parents, the mother's name can be written first, with the father's name beneath on its own line.
It is with great pride and joy that we invite you to join us as our son
____________ [Child's first and middle names]
____________ [Child's Hebrew name]
Is called to the Torah as a Bar Mitzvah
Saturday, February tenth [day of the week, month, and date of service]
at ten o'clock [time of service] in the morning [time of day]
Tremont Temple [name of synagogue]
Seventy South Washington Boulevard [address of synagogue]
Scarsdale, New York [city and state where Bar Mitzvah will take place]
Karen and Mark Birnbaum [proper names of those hosting]
Kiddush luncheon to follow [or Reception, if held at night or in another location]
For Bar Mitzvahs, lime green and chocolate-brown is in. Or go with a traditional blue and pair it with chocolate-brown or other earth tones. We're also seeing a trend toward patterns as a layer or envelope liner.
When to Order/Send:
Invitation orders should be placed three to four months before the Bar Mitzvah date. The sooner you order them, the more time you'll have to proof them, make any changes, and address the outer envelopes (a calligrapher, for example, requires up to two weeks to address 100 invitations). The most common time to send out invites is six weeks before the party, though eight weeks is ideal (10 weeks for guests coming from abroad).
Reply cards often ask each guest to check a box letting the host or hostess know how many people will attend the Bar Mitzvah's ceremony and party. A date for the return of the reply card is essential.
Because so many people have dietary concerns, many Bar Mitzvah reply cards now include menu options so that guests can check off what they wish to eat that day, and so the caterer can be fully prepared for the number of vegetarian or alternative meals needed.
Personalizing your child's postage stamps will make a lasting impression. Try a site like PhotoStamps.com and use a photograph, monogram, or a logo in the same color as the invitation for postage that will wow your guests.
If the Bar Mitzvah is being held in the evening or at a location other than the synagogue, these small cards are included in the invitation. These are also a great option if your child is having a kids-only party, in which the same people will not be invited to the service and the reception. The reception cards will include the celebration date, place, and time.
If you went with a more formal invitation, take this opportunity to really showcase your theme. Use baseball-shaped cards for a Bar Mitzvah with a sports theme. The key is to make this portion of the invite a little more fun and playful. Even something as simple as whimsical fonts, a motif, or a monogram can help set the tone.
These notes are used to thank guests for their gifts and presence at your child's Bar Mitzvah, and usually feature your child's monogram. This daunting task is a by hand necessity.
Our favorite idea is to send a picture card or postcard featuring a fun photo of your child from the Bar Mitzvah. Check out photo websites such as Shutterfly.com or KodakGallery.com for more photo ideas.
When to Send: Ideally, thank-you notes should be sent out within two weeks upon receiving any gifts before the Bar Mitzvah day. For those who brought gifts to the Bar Mitzvah, thank-yous should be sent out within a month.
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