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Using a blowtorch to light the candles during your kid’s candle lighting ceremony is a sure-fire ways to grab your guests’ attention. Yet unless your 12 or 13-year-old is a skilled welder, utilizing this method can erupt a volcano’s-worth of trouble. So, we suggest you engage your guests the old-fashioned way — by being engaging.
“People tend to get bogged down and worried about candle lighting because they’ve seen candle lighting ceremonies go on and on,” says Michael Sage Schindler, celebration director of LSNY Events. “I was once at a bar mitzvah for two kids at the South Street Seaport where the candle lighting lasted about 50 minutes. They had so much to say even though the ships’ air horns were going the entire time, so you couldn’t even hear them. By the time it was over, I think everyone in that room wanted to go outside and jump off the pier.”
Don’t extinguish the flickering flame of your party prematurely.
Here’s a few ways to utilize the candle lighting in a way that sparks a party inferno:
Try having everyone who’s going to be called up for the candle lighting write something funny about the honoree — or the other way around.
“This will always capture peoples’ attention,” says Schindler. “Instead of just saying ‘Uncle John we really appreciate coming to your house every year, we always have fun in your pool’ try ‘Uncle John, remember when you dove into your pool and you came out but your hair and trunks were still in the pool?’ If a candle lighting is really funny, it can actually become the highlight of the party.”
Utilizing video screens
When you have video screens, it’s nice to have a photo — along with their name and relationship to the honoree — appear on the screen as they’re coming up on stage.
“That way everybody now knows who this person is and there’s a frame of reference when guests see that person later on at the party,” says Schindler. And based on what they found out during the candle lighting — thanks to the video screen — people can easily start conversations with that person who would have otherwise been a stranger. “It’s like they know them already, because you’ve created a more intimate connection between your guests.”
Instead of writing a cutesy poem where every last line rhymes —which seems forced and causes people to zone out — Schindler suggests making 12 or 13 different statues and thinking up awards for the people you plan to call up to the stage — the funnier or more accurate, the better. For instance, you could create an award for “Best Supporting Actor,” which can be an award for the honoree’s best friend, mother, or father. Another thing you can do to spice up the ceremony is to have a little fun with the nominees. For example, if you create an award meant for the youngest member of your family, like “Brightest new star” and use your 89-year-old great uncle Saul as one of the nominees — all your guests will have a good chuckle.
“Part of the fun is creating the categories and choosing nominees,” says Schindler.
If your kid isn’t interested in performing, ask them if they want to be an “American Idol”-like judge of the people who are going to come up and give a speech about them during the candle lighting.
“A lot of people don’t feel comfortable with their ability to perform, but everyone feels comfortable with their ability to comment,” says Schindler. “That way someone who’s shy is still the star of the show by making the comments everyone else wants to make like ‘Well, that was a good speech, Aunt Ida, but it was a little boring.’ ”
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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