Planning for a Sweet 16 party!

Sweet 16

Sweet 16

Sweet 16 party planning can be the perfect mother-daughter extreme experience! Whether you are planning for a small get together at your home, or a large extravaganza at the Ritz, there are a few things you should consider.

Sweet 16 cake

Sweet 16 cake

We started discussing options over a year in advance. Party planning is not new to us, but this was the first time we’ll be celebrating a Sweet 16. Our event was not to be the social event of the year, but we wanted something special, something unique to our daughter, a day that would continue to bring forth happy memories for many years. One important aspect was also the budget, also known as “not much.” We were determined to make these special memories in our typical family fashion of very small budget.

One consideration was for a pool side party. We have a large pool and have held special events poolside before. But she wanted some dancing and we were concerned about the weather that March can bring-sometimes rainy, sometimes too cool. We decided to look to indoors.

balloonsA few of the local halls to rent were nice, but just not right for what she envisioned. Some were way too fancy (and expensive!) but others were not comfortable to us. We talked about hosting at our farm, under a tent, but when the idea of the local
community center arose, we knew we had found our spot! It had a nice kitchen, was large enough for our small crowd, would be easy for everyone to find (on a main route) and could easily be decorated with simple techniques. The cost was well within our budget (we are members, so that helps) and it was thankfully available that day!

Our party planning points were:

  • Guest list—we wanted her personal friends, but also close family & friends
  • Location—we opted for inside our local community center
  • Theme—she considered many options but finally went with an all inclusive “decades style” to combine 50’s-90’s
  • Time and day—we opted for a Saturday, 4pm to 8pm—4 hours is about the maximum recommended and for us seemed about right. Since it encompasses dinner time, that affects the other details, including food.
  • Music—we combed our music lists and found plenty of agreeable songs we liked. We then decided none of us would have time throughout the party, so opted for a local DJ
  • DJ—we asked friends and checked on the web. It was frustrating at first, but when we found a website that actually sent DJ’s to us ( Thumbtack.com ) our DJ search was complete.
  • Food—Combining the decades theme with the fact the party is during dinner time, we had a varied menu and needed to plan for hungry appetites of teens! After looking at all that needed to be done, we decided to spend a little extra and have some of the food prepared for us, such as pizza and sushi rolls. Most of the remainder would be prepared ahead or easy grab and go style.
  • Cake—An easy choice since one of our family’s best cake bakers is also one of my sons and he would be on Spring Break the week before the party! For the cost of materials, we’ll have a professional style cake, custom tailored. For those without an in house baker, it might be possible to exchange the cake for a gift (at our wedding, one of my cousins made our cake as our wedding gift & it was gorgeous!)
  • Punch—We tried several recipes to make sure we all agreed on the right flavor mix. We’ll be blending this ourselves and saving money!
  • Decorations—We are splurging on a few purchased decorations, but will be making most of them. Our daughter is quite artistic, so is doing much of the creations, herself. What better way to make it “her party”?
  • Photos—Immensely important, but also a luxury to pay for, we asked a good friend who is also a talented, though amateur, photographer. He will get experience and references, we’ll get a trusted photographer!
  • Help—We are blessed with a large family and everyone will have an integral part in the planning and helping during the event. I’ve recruited extended family to help, too! I’d rather have more people with less to do, than to over burden a few. I’m designating one person to keep the punch filled, 3 to help with food, a couple to help with the dances, in addition to the DJ himself, and I’ll coordinate in all areas as needed. My dear husband draws the gopher card—he will be in charge of running for whatever last minute needs arise, transporting those who need, and generally being available. Pre party decorations will be a group of us, as will food prep.

With a bit of planning, I think we are well under way for a successful event! We are keeping costs quite low, too! Now to consider all the possible things that can go wrong….!

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