Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party - Ideas and Tips!

sweet sixteen partySweet Sixteen is one of the most celebrated birthdays, and though every birthday of their kids is special to the parents, there are some milestones that demand a bit more attention! What was once a simple gathering of family and friends has now transformed into a birthday-bash, and hosting birthday parties takes a lot of time and planning these days! Sixteen is a special year because it is one of the most enchanting times in a girl's life, and turning sixteen is a gentle transition between your cuddly daughter to an adult teenager! And if it's important to her, it should be important to you too, so take some time to plan a wonderful Sweet Sixteen Birthday party for your daughter, for that may very well be the last one that she lets you plan, at least for a few years!!

As I said, 16 is a delicate year in a girl's life, and as you plan for her milestone event, it's important to respect the self-image of your growing teenager and her desire to be treated as an adult. At the same time, you want it to be special, as well as fun, something that she'd remember all her life. There was a time when a trip to Party City would be enough for all your birthday party supplies. But times have changed, and the web is now the new place to look for ideas and advice! Throwing a Sweet-Sixten party involves much more than a simple cake, some food and invitations. This is an era of party favors, and people go to great lengths to customize these to make it a memorable event for their daughters and the guests! However, there are a lot of factors that determine what kind of a party you want to host. Here are just a few things to keep in mind before you start planning, and also some ideas that might just click with you!

Avoid a Surprise Party
Parents love planning surprise parties for their kids, but while that would have been fun a few years ago, Sweet Sixteen is not the right time to throw a surprise party. For one, be sure that what you like and choose is going to be mostly rejected by your daughter, and your idea of fun, may be totally different from hers!! So unless you are prepared to face the consequences of a not-so-fun party, I'd advise you to plan it with your daughter. Involve her in all the planning stages, and maybe just keep one small thing at the party as a surprise, so you get the best of both worlds!

Fix a Budget
Needless to say, this is the first thing you should finalise, and be prepared to go over it a little! Parties like these can get really elaborate, and its better to discuss and decide on a budget before you start the planning. Everything that follows governs the budget, and while you can always stretch a little, its never wise to splurge more than you can afford on a party. Better invest it in getting your daughter a wonderful gift rather than throwing away the money for show!

Discuss Your Guest List
This is very important, especially because you need to know who is it that your daughter wises to invite. Is it a girls-only thing, or a mixed party, or a large gathering where a few families are involved? Sometimes parents want to involve close family members, but the birthday girl may have different plans! So talk to her and discuss it; if possible, keep a separate gathering for family and reserve the bash for her school friends. Whatever you choose, make sure everyone agrees on the Guest list, to avoid any embarrasing appearances at the party!

Choosing a Theme
This is one of the fun parts; its not necessary to have a theme, but choosing one is exciting, and also makes planning for other things a little easier, as you only have to focus on a certain theme. You can choose several ideas like a Beach or Pool party, a casual high-tea in your backyard, a high-end formal party at a banquet hall. It can also be a musical rock-concert theme where everyone performs a little something, or plan a lavish affair at the spa for a group of close friends; other favorite themes are Hollywood theme, a decade theme like 70's or 80's or the Pink Sweet Sixteen theme - there are too many options, it boils down to what your daughter likes, and what would be the most manageable for you. Once the theme is finalized, try searching for discount party supplies online, as this is where you'll get the best deals, and also the best ideas and value for your money.

Choose a Venue
Depending on the theme, you need to finalize a place to host the party. Most people prefer their own houses to minimize costs; but if you have a budget leeway, try renting a place as they would take care of everything, generally even the decorations, and you don't have to worry about cleaning up after the party ends. This also gives you more time to focus on the other things like arranging party favors and catering menu.

Send Out Invitations
Once the date, time, place and theme are chosen, its time to send out the invitations. For the traditional approach, you could send paper invites that are designed to suit the theme. But you can easily avoid this expense by opting for Evites that can be customized to make them suit your style. No matter what approach you choose, make sure you include the necessary information - date, time, place, requested attire, any other special events, and a note to RSVP by a date with the number of guests attending.

Planning & Decoration
The decor relies totally on the theme; if you do not have a theme, you just need to arrange tables for food and drinks, clear out the area of furniture, arrange some lighting and music to set the mood, and deck it up with some flowers and centerpieces. But if you choose a theme, take some time to research your options and choose the correct party supplies. Most of the online stores and even retailers will be able to help you once you tell them your theme. From ballons to streamers and boas to confetti, there's loads to choose from. But generally, its advisable to go light on the decorations and focus more on the mood, food, music and party-favors as that is what the kids would really enjoy!

Food & Drinks
When there's a large mixed group, its best to stick to a buffet-style party rather than elaborate meals. depending on the time of the day you choose to entertain, opt for hors'doeuvres, a main course entree, salads, chips and dips, and a course of simple desserts. Remember to plan a menu which can be handled by people as they walk around, chit-chat and play; If its more of a formal affair, you can choose an italian meal with pasta and baked casseroles. You do not want any curries and sloppy meals, nor food that cannot be served in paper plates. Keep it simple, but keep it good. Use plasticware for serving, and set a different counter for drinks. Beers, fruit punch and sodas will totally serve the purpose, and avoid alcohol if possible as these are teenagers, and you don't want to be responsible for what they drink and how much they drink! Stick to finger food, appetizers and desserts as the best choice.

Customize Party Favors
This is a new trend, and it pays to put some thought and time in selecting party favors that are appealing to you and your guests. The possibilities for birthday party favors are endless; from engraved picture frames, trinket boxes, flower vases or chocolates, to the more customized mugs, t-shirts, handbags and more, there is tonnes of stuff that you can choose. YOu can even choose scented candles, goodie-boxes, jewellery or anythign else; just make sure you do not go overboard, and at the same time, choose something that is meaningful, so that the recipient would remember this day fondly.

Dressing Up!
As you plan the party, don't forget to plan for yourself and your family! One of the best things about being a host is that you get a chance to pamper yourself too. Go out and shop for yourself and your daughter, especially if its a formal affair with a ball-room theme. You do not want to look shabby in front of your teenage guests, and definitely not look old!! Also, its customary to get "Tiaras" for the girls and probably "bead-bands" or bracelets for the boys at a Sweet-Sixteen party. So while you shop for yourself, don't forget to get it for your guests too.

Don't Forget the Camera!
Once the party begins, just get into the mood and enjoy with the kids. By planning ahead, you've done your part, and now you deserve to relax and have fun too. Of course, you'll still be on your toes chaperoning your daughter and seeking out the (male) friends she lingers longer to talk to, but trust your daughter and let her enjoy, and don't forge to take loads of pictures! Some people opt for professional photographers as they want to order an album; but frankly, its not such a big deal. If you are good with a camera, you can take pictures yourself! However, if its a themed party with dances and performances, then a professional video will be a better option. Plus, it allows you to enjoy more if someone else is responsible for the outcome of the priceless pictures and videos!:)

Just like any other birthday party, a sweet sixteen party is also intended to be fun; being a milestone, it does demand more planning and preparation, and I hope this article helps some of you plan a memorable sweet sixteen for your daughter! If you have your own ideas, please feel free to share it with our readers via the comments section. After all, there are never enough ideas, right?!

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notyet100 said...

nice one...can use these tipsafter15 yrs,..:-)

Uma said...

so useful party tips! Thanks Mansi.

sharon said...

this is perfectly what I was looking for Mansi! my neice's 16th b'day is coming up in a month and my sister is frantic about what to do!:) I think I'm just gonna email this to her!:D

thanks girl for all the useful info you share here with us! and though i don't always leave a comment, I really appreciate your hard work!!:)


JZ @ Tasty treats said...

great tips!! like notyet100 said, i cud use this in 13 1/2 yrs! :-)

Maheswari said...

Nice tips and write up..but i have to wait another 14 $ 1/2 yrs to use these..:D

Purnima said...

Mansi, gr8 post! Maybe I wd b left wt a good memory or this bookmarked page to refer to,after 12.5yrs!

Mansi Desai said...

folks, you don't have to wait x number of years to use this post! share these ideas with others, ok!!:) its nice to know you guys are plannig ahead for 12-14 yrs though:)

Daily Meals said...

Informative post...

SASHREE said...

hmm..ur tips r perfect for a party.thanx for sharing

Miri said...

I dont know what my daughter will want when she is 16, but after just recovering from her third birthday, I know I wont be hosting it!! LOL!

16thBday said...

nice tips. Sweet sixteens were not all the rage when i was growing up. I'm sure the MTV show had something to do with revitalizing it. Can I quote your article on my site?

Mansi Desai said...

I'm sorry, I'd rather not have someone quote text from my site as it would be duplicate content. However, you can take some ideas, as long as you provide a link back to my article:)


Sharon U. said...

Found really pretty sweet 16 cake toppers at www.couturecakejewelry.com that you can design to match your theme.

Missy said...

Some great ideas to help mom from tearing all her hair out and for your daughter to have a sweet 16 party she will always remember. Just takes a little planning and a lot of patience...lol