In the world of bar and bat mitzvahs, things are changing. Gone are the days of sheet cakes, fluorescent bulbs and pastel party attire. In their place are desserts straight from the Food Network, hip, flattering lighting and fun, high-fashion-inspired formalwear.

We spoke to some experts to get the lowdown on what’s hot in bar and bat mitzvah parties. Below are the top five trends sweeping coming-of-age simchas.

Standout outfits

Becoming an adult doesn’t have to mean dressing “seriously.” On the contrary, one trend for girls is the above-the-knee “cupcake” skirt. It has a little bit of flair and pleating.

Corseted dresses that can be adjusted in back to fit a range of sizes are also popular, said Karen Mazer, president of Synchronicity Boutique. Jeweled-top dresses and formalwear in teal, pink and metallics (particularly rose gold) are among the most requested.

Printed fabrics, as well as charmeuse and satin, “are making a major comeback,” said Mazer. In boys’ suits, velvet and unexpected colors such as red are in. 

Fun food

Say goodbye to staid sit-down meals. “We are seeing kids with a more sophisticated palate who are tired of the typical kids’ food,” said Kim Fox Koppel, special events coordinator at Innovative Gourmet. “Many of our clients opt to do away with separate food for the adults and kids — everyone enjoys the same good food.” 

More clients are also asking for interactive food stations. Among the popular options: breakfast for dinner, Southern and Mediterranean. 

Clients are also playing up the visual component of the meal. Many request themes, such as Hollywood glam, restaurant-inspired and retro, and still others ask for props to go along with the stations.

“Neon and LED are big this year,” Fox Koppel said. “It’s not just about the food; it’s about how you present the food.”

And whereas a sponge cake with royal icing might have cut it as dessert 25 years ago, these days the meal ender is another opportunity to get creative. Innovative Gourmet has done everything from nitrogen ice cream bars to sprinkle-rimmed soda-filled cups.

Acrylic everything

Koheleth wasn’t talking about acrylic when he said, “There is nothing new under the sun,” but he could have been. The shiny resin, hugely popular some four decades ago, is having a renaissance at bar and bat mitzvah celebrations, according to Heidi Hiller, owner and creative director of Innovative Party Planners. 

The acrylic craze at these parties has touched everything from signing boards, to chairs and tables, to dance floors, to gift boxes.

Now “we are just waiting for the acrylic name bracelet and key chains so popular in the mid-’70s to make a comeback!” Hiller said.

No-sit seating

A ballroom filled with enough round tables to hold all your guests is a thing of the past. On-trend now is having a variety of seating options, including cocktail seating, with smaller, taller tables placed throughout the party space, as well as lounge furniture, such as leather chairs and sofas. For these increasingly common requests, “we work with the caterer to prepare a menu that utilizes stations for dinner that offer small portions,” Hiller said. “Guests graze more than dine.” As for the friends of the bar or bat mitzvah: “Teens don’t really sit” anyway, Hiller said.

Non-wearable take-homes

These days party favors are more chic than geek. Trending now are “fleece blankets, towels, Swell bottles and other items that don’t need to be sized,” Hiller said. JN

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