How to Plan a Bar Mitzvah in London 2020?

The events industry in the UK is worth over £14 billion. It supports more than half a million jobs each year. That includes all of the very talented people who work hard to make thousands of Jewish Simchas feel special. With around 280,000 Jewish people in the UK, the demand for Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and other types of Jewish Simchas across the country is enormous, especially in London where there are so many different communities and families, each with its own traditions.

At UPSTAGE, we believe that each and every event we produce should be unique, meaningful, and affordable. Keep reading for some great tips on how to make the most of your own child’s Bar/Bat Mitzvah.


A Bar Mitzvah or Bat Mitzvah is much more than just a single event or party. It marks a time of personal transition, part of moving from childhood into adulthood for any Jewish person. It is one of the most important moments in our Jewish life and journey and therefore it deserves a real celebration.

In Hebrew, Bar/Bat Mitzvah means son/daughter of commandment. The Jewish tradition says that when a Jewish boy is 13 years old, or when a Jewish girl turns 12, he or she becomes an adult in the eyes of the Jewish community and God, with all the responsibilities and obligations of adulthood, including obeying the commandments of The Torah (The Bible).

This ritual is often celebrated with a ceremony in the synagogue, usually involving reading the Torah aloud, followed by a party. The Bar/Bat Mitzvah is automatic, whether or not a celebration or special ceremony is held.

But since becoming a Bar Mitzvah is such an important milestone and joyous occasion, we make a point of celebrating together with family and friends. As we like to say at UPSTAGE: life is not a dress rehearsal — therefore we must really make it a one of a kind experience!


For more than three years, we have produced more than 250 Bar/Bat Mitzvah parties in the UK ranging from small celebrations in homes and restaurants to huge hotel/marquee productions. We have impacted more than 30,000 people through our work and delivered every event as one of a kind experience.

UPSTAGE is run by a team of unique personalities, each contributing his or her own skills and talents. When you put the whole team together, you get the best in all aspects of event production from singers to lighting designers. We are a working family!

Many of our crew and performers are Jewish and many are not. We feel that this is incredibly important, as it strikes the right balance between tradition and innovation. It is like looking at the Simcha bubble with an eye on the outside world at the same time!

Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are one of the rare types of events that draw so many different generations together in one room. Entertaining such a diverse audience — from grandparents to younger children, teenagers to middle-aged parents, and everyone in between — can be a challenge. That’s why the Upstage team is trained to always “read the room” and tailor the experience accordingly.


>> Choose an idea, concept, theme or simply a colour which is special and meaningful for you

The idea is to connect all the aspects of the design, look, and feel of the event. Sometimes it has to do with your child’s passion (football, dance, gymnastics, Israel, videogames…the sky is truly the limit), name, dream for the future, and so on. Having a theme is like creating a language that glues every aspect of the event together.

>> Choose the type of food for your Simcha

A Bar/Bat Mitzvah is a Jewish event… and yes, we like to eat. Choosing the right food and catering for your event is one of the most important elements of any party.

Many times the client is strictly Kosher, or plans to invite specific people who may require Kosher food. In those cases, the family might choose to go for a fully kosher catering service. If this is the case, you must be aware that some food combinations might not be possible, and the cost can be higher.

On the other hand, we have a non-Kosher option. But there’s also something in between, which we call “non-offensive.” Non-offensive catering offers food that is not strictly Kosher, but avoids certain foods that might be “offensive” to people who keep Kosher, like pork, shrimp, etc.

If you choose a non-offensive option you won’t have a certified Kosher menu, but you might be able to select a combination of dishes that are still attractive to your eyes — and mouth! (In addition, the cost of a non-Kosher catering service is lower than a Kosher service usually).

There are many different catering options out there, and we will help to make the right decision for you and your guests.

>> The type of venue to give life to the event

In London, almost EVERY space can be a suitable location to hold a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. From a hotel in Park Lane, to your own home garden marquee, all the way through restaurants, pubs and clubs, the most important element to take into consideration for the venue is TIME. Venues often get booked anywhere from 6 to 18 months in advance in London. So don’t leave this decision for the last minute!

Here are some past venues we have worked at before for you to research and see different styles and sizes. There’s no “one size fits all” location!

  • The Refinery @ Regent’s Place
  • The Anthologist
  • One Marylebone
  • V&A Museum
  • Grosvenor House
  • Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
  • The Avenue
  • Home
  • 100 Wardour Street
  • Bafta Piccadilly

>> Entertain your guests with the right music

Traditional Bar and Bat Mitzvahs have a live band to play a combination of Hebrew and English (“pop”) music. But today there are MANY different options when it comes to musical entertainment for a Simcha.

You just can’t beat live music. There’s something about it that makes us feel alive, that inspires us and that builds an atmosphere of celebration anytime that we hear live music. But DJs can infuse the room with their infectious personalities just as well.

At Upstage, we also have an in-between approach, which we call “DJ Live.”

DJ Live has all the advantages of both worlds: a DJ to select the music that is being played, plus additional musicians or singers to play alongside the DJ.

Upstage offers three main music packages that cover any and all music entertainment options for a Simcha.

  1. UPSTAGE DECKS (DJ, MC, Sound System & Setup)
  2. UPSTAGE DANCE (DJ, MC, Sound System & Setup + Dancers)
  3. UPSTAGE LIVE (DJ, MC, Sound System & Setup + Live Musicians)

More information on our Music packages here

>> Consider adding Dancers / Performers / Shows

This is my favourite part, where we can get really creative. Bar and Bat Mitzvahs are quite unique in the way that many families like to bring elements of performance or interactive entertainment to the evening in addition to the DJ or live band.

Some of these elements can vary depending on the theme, the time of the year and location of the event. They can be to just watch during dinner (such as a flashmob) or to interact with during reception (as a meet and greet circus artist) or a combination of both aspects: something to interact with and to watch later on.

The beauty of this is that anything from party dancers (dedicated to drive crowd participation and lead the dance sets) all the way to a fully rehearsed acrobatic and fire show is possible. Simchas are becoming more and more creative and colourful… I like to believe that there’s one rule only on this subject: EVERYTHING is possible and acceptable.

Find out more about interactive entertainment at Upstage.

>> Think about lighting / design / staging / and more

One element that I believe makes every event more interesting and engaging is welcoming your guests into a space that makes them feel as if they are in a different world.

If you want to make a “wow” impact on your guests both children as well as adults, create a party atmosphere supported by detailed design, lighting, staging and production in a flawless combination.

>> Celebrate life with something for guests to take home

  • A memory wall with personal messages for each guest to give to the Bar/Bat Mitzvah.
  • Make a video / a song / a dance as a surprise to show during the evening
  • Create bespoke souvenirs for each guests to take home with them such as t-shirts, hoodies, hats, etc. To make it even more special, anything can be branded with the names of each individual guest.
  • A photo booth, mirror booth, or any other type of booth (!) so that every guest can take a personal photo with them home. You even have the option of printing photos onto magnets!
  • Instead of a photo booth: Light-up frames that guests can hold on the dance floor (or anywhere around the venue) and take photos with their phones. Or have professional photos taken by your photographer.

Putting it all together

Regardless of the size of your simcha, the venue, or how much production you want to put into the event, the most important thing is to bring your family and friends together to celebrate a pivotal moment in the life of a young boy or girl who has stepped into Jewish “adulthood”.

100% it deserves to be celebrated.

100% make it personal and include your child as part of the decision process.

100% talk to us for any thoughts of questions. At Upstage, we are always ready to take your ideas and make them a reality.

100% don’t let anybody decide for you or push you towards their own assumption of what is “supposed to happen”

100% don’t dream small — ANYTHING is possible!

100% always remember… life is not a dress rehearsal!

Visit for more information

Originally published at




Award Winning Creative Producer, Choreographer & Master of Ceremonies / Founder & Director at Upstage Creative Ltd. Argentine living in London

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Ilai Szpiezak

Ilai Szpiezak

Award Winning Creative Producer, Choreographer & Master of Ceremonies / Founder & Director at Upstage Creative Ltd. Argentine living in London

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