For so many girls, turning 16 is anticipated almost as much as a wedding day. It’s like a teenage girl’s passage to early adulthood and it can be quite a formal affair and celebration.
For the parents, the anticipation and work for planning a Sweet 16 can be both exciting and overwhelming. Whether a big bash or hosting a smaller affair, here are 9 tips to help you plan a successful Sweet 16.
- Determine The Budget
Set a budget, then be willing to share with her how much you plan to spend on her event. This is a great opportunity to involve your Sweet 16 in the planning and decision making process and where the budget is allocated. This will give her freedom to make decisions about her party and teach her about budgeting decisions. Involving her in the planning and budget process will help her understand the yes’s to some requests and the no’s to others.
- Compile A Guest List
Guest lists always affect budgets. In most cases, the more guests the more the party will cost. Some families plan and save for a big Sweet 16 bash, inviting 100 or more friends and family to the celebration. Others plan something more intimate with a few close friends. Talk with your daughter about her ideas and desires. We’re sure she’s got some great ideas, big or intimate, in mind.
- Set The Date and Venue
Choosing the date doesn’t have to fall on her birthday. Picking a time that’s best for those involved in the celebration, so her moment is special, is what’s important. If you choose to celebrate during busier times of the year; Christmas Holidays, peak wedding season, company parties, graduations; be sure to book well in advance. Some venues offer off-season special rates that could save you money on venues and food. Make sure to create and send out “save-the-date” cards, by mail or email, to your guests so they can calendar in your special day.When choosing the venue, consider the number of guests and the type of event. Something less formal, or an outdoor theme, might be best at a private home, estate or public park. More formal settings would be best at a hotel or event catering hall. The later can also help you choose an array of menu items to serve your guests. Choosing your venue wisely is an important part of setting the tone for your event.
- Picking A Theme
This celebration comes once in a lifetime. So, while picking a theme isn’t necessary, it can sure make the event more memorable. Consider using themes that highlight your Sweet 16’s interests including favorite movies, novels, sports, recent trends, hobbies, things she really loves doing, etc. Here are some of our quick ideas.- Fairytale or Princess
– Cops & Robbers
– Lights of Paris
– Hollywood Premier
– Mardi Gras.
– Luau or Beach Party
- Book the Vendors
If you’re having more than a just a simple gathering of a few friends for a day at the spa, a special trip or concert, then you’ll want to consider vendors for the celebration. Consider attending a bridal fair to find and compare services and pricing for photographers, videographers, DJs and other service providers.Some of these vendors offer special package pricing. If you book, say, a photographer and videographer from the same company you could save over booking them separately from different companies. Some companies offer entertainment booking services where they’ll take care of all your vendor needs, saving you time.
- Send Your Invitations
While you may have sent out a save-the-date announcements, it’s important to send your guests an invitation three to five weeks before the event. There are a host of ways to deliver this from mail to hand-delivered. Most important, remember to get the invitations out in a timely manner so your guest will firm up their calendars to attend the celebration.
- Prepare The Menu
Great food makes time together with family and friends extra special. This is one of those times that should be extra special. Choose a menu that fits the venue and will make your guests and the Sweet 16 happy. Easy to eat foods are great for less formal occasions while more formal events, like a Sweet 16 catering hall, would call for maybe a cocktail hour and a sit down, formal dinner. Remember, food sets the mood. Be sure to choose a menu that fits the celebration and venue.
- Plan Your Events Itinerary
How long is the party? What events/programs does she want to take place at the party? Gather these ideas together and then create a rough timeline. Then begin shaping the details. When will the event begin? When will the music first play? When will food be served? What time do you cut the cake? Most importantly, what time will the party end?
- Talk About Expectations
This “coming-of-age” is an exciting time for her. Your little girl is growing up. Yet, it’s still important to set boundaries around your expectations of the party. You want her and her guests to be safe and have a wonderful time. You don’t want her coming of age party to be an embarrassment for either of you. So, it’s important to discuss use of alcohol, controlled substances and expected behavior during the event. Have the hard discussions before so you can have a successful event.
Using these tips will help relieve your stress and plan for a successful event. You’ll be able to create memories that the both of you can cherish for a lifetime.
When is comes to planning your Sweet 16, please consider the El Caribe. With over 35 years creating unforgettable memories, like Sweet 16, we can help you plan and prepare for something extraordinary. Our food is rated some of the best in NYC and our ballrooms offer beautiful spaces to make any Sweet16 magical. Click here for more information about our Sweet 16s and visit our Facebook page to see what visitors are saying about the El Caribe.