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How To Plan a Sweet 16

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A “Sweet Sixteen” is a special celebration where a girl’s 16th birthday is celebrated amongst friends and family. It is very similar to a Quinceanera, something we’ve written about previously, except it’s a little bit more simple to plan and set up in terms of logistics and ceremonies. Whether this will be your first sweet sixteen or you have planned many before, this post will show you how to effectively plan one on any budget.

sweet 16

Speaking of budget, that is the first thing you will want to get clear on when it comes to planning a sweet sixteen. If you are the daughter who will be celebrating her sweet sixteen, ask your parents what they can afford and would feel comfortable with including, at the end of the day the budget will be on them. 

If you are the parents or planner, be sure to have a discussion with the sweet sixteen queen to figure out what kind of budget would be needed to match her ideal and see if that’s possible, if not find a way to adapt with what you have. Once you’re clear on your budget, you can pick a date and venue for the celebration.

When picking a date, be sure to consider the schedules of the teen’s friends and family to ensure the date doesn’t fall during a time when many of them will be at work, school or on a holiday break. 

The day of the celebration doesn’t necessarily have to match the actual day of the teen’s birthday so be sure to adjust the date as needed to fit everyone’s schedule. As for a venue, good choices include but aren’t limited to, the teen’s backyard, a hotel ballroom, a public park, a restaurant or even a teen dance club. Be sure to consider what theme you are planning to go for before officially picking a venue. Once the venue is chosen you can get more detailed with it.

Hollywood Party

1. A Hollywood themed sweet 16 party.

The theme you choose to go with will play a large role in the overall feel of the party. Great theme ideas to consider include a fairytale theme, celebrity rockstar theme, fashion theme and the list goes on. Get creative with it and if the teen is insistent on not having a theme, that’s fine too. The key is to make sure the teen feels special and the theme gives her an opportunity to make fantasy become a reality. Once the theme is clear you can start to build the guest list, design the invitations based on the theme and send them out to guests. 

When the guests come, you want to make sure there is food, drink and entertainment they can enjoy during the celebration so once you’ve gotten clear on who you want to invite, start booking vendors with the preferences of the guests and the teen in mind. We recommend going with a buffet setup based on the party theme and having a DJ who can play music throughout the party. Don’t forget to take time considering the design and flavor of the sweet sixteen cake as well!

Once you’ve gotten clear on what vendors for food, drink, music and party favors you want to book you can make a party itinerary that clearly lays out when the DJ will play music, when it’s time for speeches to be made, gifts to be given, the cake to be cut and when it’s time for everyone to leave. Getting clear on the schedule and order of activities will ensure you have a smooth celebration that goes as planned, creating less stress and work for you. The sweet sixteen is coming closer and now it’s time to get clear on the final details such as the special teen’s wardrobe, hiring a photographer/videographer, figuring out party favors and of course, transportation. Party favors can go a long way in wowing the guests and giving them something to remember the celebration but they are not necessary.

Once all these final details are clear you are finally ready to celebrate the sweet sixteen! There is a chance that not everything will go exactly as planned but by following these guidelines you will be sure to have a great sweet sixteen celebration that the special teen, her friends, and family will remember for the rest of their lives.

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