Bar & Bat Mitzvah Etiquette
The words “Bar” and “Bat” Mitzvah literally mean “son” or “daughter of the commandment.” A Bar Mitzvah happens for boys at age 13. A Bat Mitzvah happens for girls at age 12. We recommend ordering your invitations anywhere from 4-7 months before your event. Only one invitation is needed per guest’s household. You should always order a few extra, just in case; it’s easier and less expensive than ordering more invitations down the road.
Invitation - Your invitation does two things. The wording provides essential information and details of your event, while the appearance of the invitation gives your guest the first glimpse of what they can expect at the event, your overall theme and style. Begin by determining whether you want a formal, traditional or more contemporary style, and select your invitation selection accordingly. If you are having a themed event, choose an item that compliments or coordinates with the overall vision. It is wise to get a proof or a preview of your invitations before you place your final order to have them printed. Double-check that there are no misspellings and that all of the information - like the date, time and addresses - are correct.
Multiple Events and Locations - Keep in mind that if you are having multiple events, or separate dinners or parties for the kids and/or adults, you will need to include the date, time, and location for each event. If the additional event will take place after the service but in the same location, it is sufficient to add one line such as "Kiddush luncheon to follow" on the invitation itself. If there are multiple locations, you will need to inform your guests of where to go and when, but reception cards or party cards are recommended for these details.
What to do when select guests are being invited to the services but different parties - Use the invitation to invite all of your guests to one event. For example, if space is limited at the celebration, you can use the invitation to invite everyone to the service and include the reception card for those being invited to the celebration. You can always order two different invitations, but an easier solution is to order a reception or party card to invite certain guests to select events. A reception card is not just for reception information, and can be used for any information you do not wish to include on the invitation. If two different invitations are ordered, remember you will need two different response sets.
RSVP- We recommend setting the RSVP date at least 3-4 weeks prior to your event, but you can edit that based on your event and your needs.
Gifts and Donations - Don’t reference a particular gift or preference on the invitation. You also don’t need to register at a specific store or gift registry. Gifts given for these events vary, but typical gifts are: savings bonds for college, religious books, or gift certificates. Some parents include an additional card requesting that, instead of gifts, donations to a particular charity are welcomed.
Accessories to complete your Invitation Ensemble
Every event doesn’t need all the same accessories; determine what your event will specifically need.
Reception Cards - Traditionally, reception cards are included when the reception site is in a place other than the ceremony site. If reception cards are not used, put the reception information in the lower left corner of the invitation.
Response Cards - Response cards and envelopes ensure a thorough response from your guest list, as they provide a convenient fill-in-the-blank format together with a self-addressed envelope, which the host pre-stamps.
Please note the wording "will____attend" is correct, rather than "will attend_____." The line is intended for the guests either to write in the word "not" or to leave blank to indicate their presence.
Remember if you have multiple locations, or separate events you may need separate response sets for each.
Thank You Notes - This is the personalized stationery on which to write thank-you notes. Keep track of the gifts you get and whom they are from; this will make sending out thank you notes after your event much easier! Remember sending out a Thank You Note as soon as possible after the gift is received is best, but it is never too late to send your gratitude.
Mailing the Invitations
As a general rule, invitations should be mailed six to eight weeks before the event date. However, if the event date falls on a long weekend (Labor Day weekend, for example) they should be mailed eight weeks before the event date, since people tend to make their holiday plans far in advance. You might even consider sending save-the-date cards. Before you apply stamps, one completely assembled invitation should be inspected and weighed by the post office to determine the correct amount of postage.