Amongst the most frequently asked question I answer for my clients during the “planning phase” of their Bar/Bat mitzvah celebration, is whether we should plan for a four or five hour party. My response, almost unequivocally, is four! (I have a caveat to this, but we’ll get to that in a moment)

5 hour parties used to be all the rave, however, with the exception of a few outliers, those days are, or at least should be, all but over. The 5 hour party is nearing extinction.

I know what you’re thinking, if you can book vendors and your venue for an extra hour, then you should. More time equals more fun, right? Not exactly…

I was speaking about this topic with a few of my colleagues, each of whom have worked in this industry for 20+ years, and they all feel the same way. My mentor, Fresh, who has literally MC’d thousands of Bar/Bat mitzvahs broke it down the best. To paraphrase, he told me 5 hour parties used to be more prevalent because mitzvahs traditionally had more ceremonial components built into their timelines, i.e., more starting/stopping and thus, a need for more time. Things have changed though. Candle lightings are planned with less and less frequency and hour long sit down adult dinners are often replaced by stations, lounge seating and an omnipresent desire to be on the dance floor.

Whereas families used to plan for ebbs and flows/highs and lows, the common theme now calls for a non-stop, high-energy dance party atmosphere…at all times! And as your Master of Ceremonies, I have to tell you, I LOVE the idea of this as much as you do, thing of it is, your guest may not be quite as prepared for this marathon jam session as you think.

The generic definition of a 5-hour party is 1 hour of cocktail, followed by 4 more of dancing/meal service. Let’s take a look at the totality of the day for you and your guest. If your service is in the morning, you will wake up early, spend a few hours at the synagogue, then head back home for a quick break and change of clothes before partying for the rest of the night. In essence, this is a 12+ hour day. If your service is in the evening, your guests will likely leave for it around 5p, thus expecting them to still be going strong at midnight is nearly the equivalent of a full day at the office. It’ll be awesome, but could also be exhausting.

What I recommend is we plan for the 4 hour party. One hour of cocktail followed by a high energy opening set, quick first course, second dance set, dinner, hora, then rock out till they kick us out of the building. There will be a brisk pace. Very little wasted time. We’ll run a tight schedule, keep the energy levels high and have a great time all night long. My caveat, IF you are having both a seated dinner AND candle lighting, then you should consider extending to 4.5 hours.

A longer party may sound like a grand idea, but trust me, you dont want your big night to drag along until it’s merciless conclusion. You want it to end on a high note! Go out with a BANG, on a packed dance floor, leaving your guest wanting more! Or, you can run the risk of holding your kids and a few close friends hostage, as they constantly check their watches like Cinderella, waiting for the strike of midnight.

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