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Five tips for a successful sweet 16

Everyone deserves to have an opulent 16th birthday. After all, it's the first significant milestone in a young adult's life and marks a big step toward independence. While you may not be able to deliver the lavish parties highlighted on reality TV, there are a few easy ways to hold a memorable and exciting sweet 16.

1. Host it at the guest of honor's favorite restaurant. Everybody likes going out to eat, and when combined with an event as big as a 16th birthday, it's sure to be a good time. However, just because the venue has been switched from your house doesn't mean you still can't use some birthday decorations. Rent out the back room and hang round paper lanterns and engraved glass centerpieces to set a classy mood.

2. Don't forget the invitations. Having exciting invites can go along way to starting the party out right. You can take it in any number of directions, from a photo of the birthday boy or girl to a classic style that will be sure to get everyone's attention. Just make sure they are especially eye-grabbing, as you want to get everyone excited about coming.

3. Supplies, supplies, supplies. If you host it at your place, having a bunch of rowdy teenagers over is a recipe for a big mess if you're not adequately prepared. Disposable plates and cutlery is a must. Also, try to make sure you have plenty of personalized birthday napkins on hand so you can put the 'fun' back in functional!

4. Remember that no one is ever too old for games. So what if they're turning 16? A few never hurt anyone, just make sure they're age-appropriate. Nobody wants to be playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey when they're able to drive. More adult games are perfect for just such an occasion. Activities such as darts, wiffle ball, and even twister are all sure to go over well.

5. Pick up plenty of party favors. What better way to leave a lasting impression with your guests than with some birthday party favors? Personalized fortune cookies are a unique way to say thanks, but if you're looking for something a little less edible, crystal diamond tea light holders may be the way to go.