A bar mitzvah (MITTS-vuh) is a Jewish ceremony held for boys at age 13 which symbolizes their passage into adulthood. The bat mitzvah is a similar celebration for girls, but held at age 12. These rituals also mark the time at which boys and girls can take part in religious services. Bar and bat mitzvahs are an important event and require much planning. The ceremony itself consists of religious readings by the boy or girl, which are usually followed by a speech. A festive party usually follows. Some families hire an event planner to assist with preparations; others do the work themselves. The first step is to develop a guest list and choose a site. In addition, you'll need to arrange for flowers or other decoration, catering, and entertainment, such as a band or a DJ. You'll probably want to hire a photographer or videographer as well. Start working on invitations early; the first list should be mailed two months before the event. Because family members often travel to a relative's bar or bat mitzvah, you may also need to arrange lodging, and provide maps, welcome bags, or other items for guests. By reserving a block of rooms well in advance, you can usually secure a discount rate.