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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

Parties Galore!

Jun 06, 2011 12:00AM

It’s time to Party. There are lots of reasons to party now: traditional birthdays, graduations (pre-school to grad school) as well as Bar or Bat Mitzvahs, Quinceañeras. Then there’s the ‘end of school’ parties, ‘beginning of summer’ parties, ‘back-yard parties’, ‘Let’s-have-a-Party’ party!


Everyone wants a ‘Quince’ and why not? Beautiful dresses, dancing and presents, ‘belle of the ball’ — and all on your birthday? In several Latino cultures, a girl’s 15th birthday, called a Quinceañera, marks her passage into adulthood. This celebration often includes a mass at church, in which the young lady recognizes her heritage and her spiritual journey.

  • Secure the date at your church, so the rest of your plans can get underway.
  • The service is usually followed by a dinner and party with dancing at a banquet hall, restaurant, or another location. The father/daughter dance is an one of the most poignant and memorable moments, one of the most poignant and memorable moments: a once-in-a-lifetime photo op! Make sure your photographer know’s what you want.
  • Although very traditional, you can tailor the party to highlight your daughter’s personality. Many girls choose pink, but if your daughter loves purple or red, let her vibrant colors set the stage for the party’s balloons, cake, flowers or any other decorations.
  • Your daughter’s court of seven girls (damas) and seven boys (chambelanes) will spend a lot of time together. Help her choose these 14 attendants carefully.
  • Some of your daughter’s friends and guests may not be familiar with the tradition of Quinceañeras. To make them feel a little more comfortable, offer a Salsa lesson for everyone early on in the party.

Bar Mitzvah & Bat Mitzvah

Readings from the Torah, speeches and toasts illuminate the wonderful fabric of Jewish heritage. The party following the ceremony is rich in tradition, and the focus is fun!

Bar Mitzvah, the milestone event in a Jewish boy’s life, is the transition to manhood. At the age of 13, the boy becomes a full member of the congregation and can take part in religious functions as a man. The Bat Mitzvah is the 12-year old Jewish girl’s celebration of becoming a young woman.

  • Find out if there are other teens at your synagogue sharing the same birthday.
  • Following the ceremony, the celebration continues with dinner and a party at a banquet hall, restaurant, or another location.
  • A theme can give your party direction and simplify decision-making. Consult with your child first.
  • If you are expecting out-of-town guests, or want to continue the celebration for the entire weekend plan a few additional informal activities. Your guests might enjoy a visit to some of the wonderful events and sights for which the area is famous.

Party Planning 101

There are lots of party options nowadays. From simple to extreme and everything in between. But some things stay the same and it pays to plan ahead.

  • Decide on a date and time. This is often the most difficult task for a graduation party.
  • Decide on a budget.
  • Choose a location.
  • Create a menu.
  • Decorate.
  • Invite or Evite. Keep control of the invitation list. For birthdays a good rule of thumb is to invite as many children as the age of your child - plus one.

Most of all don’t forget to Have Fun!