If you want to have a bar or bat mitzvah celebration or a wedding in Israel, you should check out this guide on how to have an event in Israel.
Let’s be honest…everyone dreams of having a destination wedding!
A wedding in Israel is something a couple will never forget. For Jewish couples, it’s the perfect way to celebrate their special day.
Israel is a stunning country, and it serves as an inspirational and memorable location for anyone hoping to host a wedding or a bar/bat mitzvah celebration. It can seem overwhelming to plan such a large event in a foreign country, but it can be done!
For a how-to on planning the perfect event in Israel, check out our guide below!
Having an Event in Israel
Israel is an incredibly special place to the Jewish community. Therefore, many Jewish individuals abroad choose to make their events even more special by holding them in Israel! It’s the perfect way to strengthen the spirituality of an event and create an unforgettable experience.
Choosing a Venue
If you can afford it, it’s smart to make a trip to Israel to scope out where you want to hold your event. Venue is everything! It’s what people will look back on in photos to remember your event, so you want to make sure it’s beautiful, comfortable, and suits your taste.
The most popular places to hold events in Israel are Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Jerusalem is, of course, the Holy City. Those looking for an intensely spiritual experience should consider Jerusalem for their event. For a more modern atmosphere, check out Tel Aviv. This city is bustling and gives visitors access to its stunning beaches as well.
You may find that you want to have your event in a more uncommon area, such as the Dead Sea region, Eilat, or Haifa! These locations all feature beautiful backdrops for whatever event you want to hold.
Determining Trip Length
If you are traveling all the way to Israel, you will probably want to set aside some free time to explore and enjoy the country.
For a wedding in Israel, this might mean planning about a week-long trip. You will have a few days to prepare for the event, the big day itself, and then a couple of days to have fun spending time with loved ones in the country!
For bar/bat mitzvahs, a trip of at least 8 days is recommended if you want to tour the city with the special young woman or man. A trip around two weeks though is really ideal for this event! It gives you the perfect amount of time to explore most of the country and all the meaningful sites.
You can also save some time and energy by using shortened VIP services at Ben-Gurion Airport.
Planning Around Guests
Half the point of an event is to celebrate with those near and dear to you! You will want to make sure your event is accessible for your guests. This means you will want to make your intentions to have an event in Israel clear as early as possible.
There is nothing more frustrating and disappointing than getting an invitation to a destination wedding or bar/bat mitzvah only to find out that it’s only 2 months away! Giving your guests a heads-up will help make sure the majority of your guests can attend.
Keep in mind that it can take a few months for some of your guests to get passports, so that’s something to factor into your timeline. Furthermore, hosting an event abroad can be pricey, not only for you but for your guests too. Giving guests ample time to save up enough money to travel overseas for your event is only courtesy!
Be mindful of how many guests you invite too, especially if you’re planning on paying for lodging for your guests. Hosting events can be very expensive, so reconsider if inviting your freshman college roommate who you only talk to twice a year to your wedding is really worth the money. Plus, keeping the guest list compact will create a more intimate event!
Planning a Wedding in Israel
While planning a wedding in Israel can be very exciting, there are different rules and regulations when it comes to marriages in Israel. Make sure you’re aware of these before you start the planning process!
The biggest thing to note when it comes to planning a wedding in Israel is that there are requirements you’ll have to meet if you want to have your marriage recognized by the Rabbinate.
For example, same-sex couples or couples in which one member is Jewish and the other is not, will not be recognized by the Rabbinate and will have to search for other religious authorities to conduct the wedding.
Jewish couples seeking a marriage recognized by the Rabbinate will want to open a file with the Marriage Registration office in Israeli at least 4-6 months before the wedding. You’ll want to know the location of your venue, so you can select the correct city office to open a file with. The office will require passports, a confirmation of the couple’s Jewish identity from their home synagogue, and marriage licenses from both sets of parents.
Only Orthodox Rabbis can conduct Jewish marriages in Israel. The Rabbi will be the one responsible for sending you your marriage license and delivering the documentation to the Rabbinate.
Hiring a Wedding Planner
While some couples are ambitious enough to do all the wedding planning themselves, it’s recommended to hire a professional event planner.
Wedding planners are even more essential for weddings abroad. A wedding planner takes care of venue and hotel bookings, small decorating details, and often helps with the legal affairs involved as well.
While many people speak English in Israel, there can still be miscommunications between couples abroad and native Israelis. A wedding planner who’s fluent in both English and Hebrew can navigate conversations with local businesses more easily, and they can often secure discounts for the couples they work for.
A wedding planner is often useful if the couple can’t afford to spend time going back and forth from Israel to meet with businesses and view venues. A wedding planner can act as a middleman for these situations.
Planning a Bar or Bat Mitzvah Celebration
Bar/bat mitzvah celebrations create irreplaceable memories for young adults. Like weddings, it’s important to be mindful of small details when it comes to planning bar/bat mitzvah celebrations in Israel.
To Host at the Kotel or Not
To have a bar/bat mitzvah celebration at the Kotel, the Western Wall, is what many parents wish for their children. Depending on when you are hosting the bar/bat mitzvah celebration, be prepared for some extreme weather. Winters are frigid, and summers get very hot.
If you are wary of the crowds and are searching for a more accessible venue for any older or disabled guests, there are plenty of other venues to check out! For Orthodox ceremonies, visit the Hurva Synagogue. This beautiful synagogue has a veranda with amazing views of Jerusalem—the perfect place for photos before or after the event!
The Davidson Center is another alternative if you’re looking for a venue steeped in history! It’s a great choice for people who plan on inviting a crowd, as it can host up to 1000 people.
The Tuoro restaurant is another local favorite as a site to host a bar/bat mitzvah celebration. It accommodates a smaller crowd, but you will be taking care of venue and food in one shot! Talk about killing two birds with one stone!
If you are celebrating a bar/bat mitzvah, chances are you will want to take the time to reconnect with your roots. Kids and adults alike will enjoy touring the city and visiting religious sites!
Visiting places like the City of David National Park and the Dead Sea will give young adults a chance to get in touch with their spirituality! The biggest decision you will have to make is whether to schedule tours before or after the ceremony. Visiting all these magical places before the ceremony might make the event even more meaningful.
Many pre-planned tours can last several days, so you will also have to plan accordingly. If you don’t want to stay in Israel that long, there are still plenty of tours that you can limit to one or two days.
Receiving a Certificate
If you want to receive a certificate for the bar/bat mitzvah, you will have to contact the Israel Ministry of Tourism. Contact them 21 days before the ceremony and fill out the appropriate form online to receive the certificate!
Creating the Perfect Memory
Having a bar/bat mitzvah celebration or wedding in Israel is something you will never forget. These are momentous occasions as it is—to have them in such an important and spiritual place can make all the difference though.
If you are planning on having an event in Israel, make sure you look into every detail and every legality! This is when an event planner can really come in handy. They can streamline the process and make sure everything goes according to plan.
For more articles on travel and concierge services abroad, check out the rest of our blog!