How to Plan a Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party
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How to Plan a Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party

Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party Overview

A party to mark a teenage girl's passage to early adulthood is called a Sweet Sixteen. In some areas, a more formal event is held to welcome the girl into another stage of maturity in her life and the society. It is also often referred to as a "coming out" ceremony.

For most girls, turning Sweet Sixteen is an important part of her transition into adulthood, and is considered a close second to her wedding. That is why planning a Sweet Sixteen birthday party is something that should not be taken lightly as just another birthday party.

The Mom's To-Do List

Pre-planning: 2 to 3 months before the party

Planning a Sweet Sixteen party can take a lot of time depending on how detailed you want the party to be.

  1. Decide on a date. The date doesn't have to fall exactly on the day of the birthday. It can be after. Make sure you consider the holidays and schedule accordingly. You don't want an empty birthday party.
  2. Select your venue. Picking a location for such a big event can be a daunting task. You need to keep in mind how many guests you'll be having and of course your budget. Aside from a ballroom or party hall, you can use your yard, a local park, or a community center.
  3. Who will be attending? While some girls want an intimate party with just close friends and family, some will want a big, elaborate one. Be sure to plan out in advance the guest list.
  4. Send save-the-dates notice. Since the big bash is months away, it's a good idea to send a save-the-date magnet first so the guests will not plan anything on that date.
  5. Order an appropriate Sweet Sixteen invitation. Once you finalize the venue, date, and guest list it's time to order your sweet sixteen invitations.

Planning the Details: 2-8 weeks before the party

During this phase of the planning you'll be taking care of the important details of the party. You many need some help so don't hesitate to ask for one.

  • Theme – pick out a theme that will make the party unforgettable for the birthday girl as well as the guest. Be sure to ask her opinion on decorations as she might already have something in mind. Young girls can be very creative!
  • Food – this is where most of your budget will go. You can have the event catered or have a home-cooked buffet. If the event is at a restaurant, then be sure to check the menu ahead of time. Don't forget to order the cake.
  • Entertainment – a sweet sixteen party is not complete without a program that honors the birthday girl. Plan out a few games to entertain all the guests. Hire a DJ to play some of the most favorite music of the birthday girl. This will give everyone a chance to dance and have a good time.
  • Party favors – a good hostess will never let the guests go home without a sweet 16 party favor. It can be something edible like sweet 16 candy jars or chic like mini favor purses. Options are endless so be sure to match the favors to the style and personality of the birthday girl.

Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party Etiquette FAQs

It can be a challenging task planning a bash like a sweet sixteen party, and there will come a time when you'll want some help.

How do I make certain of the safety of the guests at the party?
Even if these kids are big enough to know what's safe and not, they're still minors. Don't forget to supervise the party along with other adults. Make sure no one slips in alcoholic beverages.

How do I stay within the budget?
It's easy to forget money when you're already there having fun and afraid to get embarrassed in front of all your guests. However, if you've planned well you don't need to worry about going over budget. Be sure to include some extra money in your budget for any unanticipated expenses. Don't forget to set an end time for the party to avoid the cost of paying for extra hours, especially if you are at a restaurant or a party hall.

How do I keep track of all the things I'm planning for the party?
Well, it is always good to keep a checklist of all the things you need to do, the things you've already done, and how much you've already spent. Keep receipts and notices in one folder for easy retrieval later on.

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