Sweet SixteenThe sweet sixteen party has a long tradition in many cultures around the world. In the United States, the sweet sixteen party can trace its lineage to the Spanish Quinceanera and the traditional American debutante ball. These celebrations were a way of recognizing a young girls passage from childhood to young adulthood. While much has changed over the years, the sweet sixteen party is still an important time in a young girls life, and families continue to throw often extravagant celebrations in order to mark the event. But there is more to planning a sweet sixteen than simply inviting a few friends over for cake. A sweet sixteen party takes plenty of preparation to make it a success, and parents should start to plan early to make their daughter’s big day one to remember.

To Party or Not To Party?

That really is the first major question to be considered. Not all young girls are comfortable with the idea of a massive celebration commemorating their sixteenth birthday. Before planning a sweet sixteen party, parents should discuss the idea with their daughters to make certain that this is the type of celebration they would like. If they’re not interested, do not press the point. The cultural and community significance of the coming of age party have long been divorced from the celebration itself. If the party girl doesn’t want a sweet sixteen, let it go.

The Budget

For those girls who do want a sweet sixteen party, the first step is to set a budget.The costs of a sweet sixteen party can easily balloon out of all proportion, and it is vital to set a budget early and to stick to it. With a firm budget in place, parents will find it easier to make all the necessary planning decisions for the party itself. The hired venue, entertainment and catering costs will be easier to control if you have set your budget well in advance.

Setting the Date and Choosing the Venue

With a budget in place, it is now time to set the date and find a suitable venue. When setting the date, give yourself plenty of planning time. Six months or more should be adequate. Remember, there will be a lot to coordinate before the big day. There will be ball gowns to select, invitations to be sent, and caterers and entertainment to hire. Plus, the earlier you set the date the more flexibility you will have when hiring a venue.

Sweet sixteen parties can take many forms, and some girls may opt for a smaller more intimate celebration at home with the family. That being said, most sweet sixteen parties are large affairs that definitely benefit from being held in a ballroom or banquet hall, and you will want to book your venue early. Before booking an events venue, you will want to visit a few event spaces to see what they have to offer. As this is your daughter’s big day, take her with you and keep her involved in the planning and in the choice of party space. Once you have found a venue that works for you and the guest of honor, it’s time to start planning the party itself.

Invitations

With the date set and the venue hired, its time to think about guest lists and invitations. While you may have a list of family members you wish to invite, remember to consult the party girl for a list of the friends that she wants to attend. Choose your invitations to match the party theme, and send them out well in advance. Include an RSVP so you can get a general head count for the party. This will be a great help as you work with the caterer and their staff in preparing for the big day.

Catering

The next step is hiring a catering service. Many event spaces have on-site caterers, and the venue you’ve booked may be the best place to start when looking for a caterer. Using the venue’s on-site staff can also save you money, and you may want to inquire as to the possibility of a package deal that include the rental fees and the catering costs. You’ll want to work closely with the caterer to create a menu for the evening. It may be a full sit down meal, or a selection of hors d’oeuvres. Work with your caterer to match the menu to you theme, and rely on their expertise to deliver the goods come party time.

The sweet sixteen party is a big day in every young girls life, and it marks their transition into young adulthood. By planning early, and selecting the right events venue and theme, you can throw a sweet sixteen that your daughter will remember for years to come.

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