An Easy-to-Follow Guide to Throwing a Sweet Sixteen Party She’ll Never Forget

Aug 23, 2016

A primarily North American tradition, the Sweet Sixteen is a coming of age party celebrating a girl’s 16th birthday. It has more recently been popularized by the MTV series “My Super Sweet 16,” which ran from 2005 to 2008. The show featured privileged teens with wealthy parents throwing lavish galas and dance party blowouts full of celebrity pop stars showing up for guest performances.

If your daughter is turning 16, you may have something a little more modest in mind. Below you will find a basic four-step guide for throwing a fun, low key Sweet Sixteen party your kid will love.

Determine your budget

A Sweet Sixteen party can range in cost from $300 all the way up to $25,000. Sweet Sixteen parties can be formal, casual, or semi-formal; they can range from modest parties at home with family and friends to large affairs with a DJ, makeup and hair stylists, and hotel ballrooms. For the parent on a budget, consider a casual backyard party and make sure you allocate funds carefully. When you don’t set a budget and stick to it, party plans can get out of hand very quickly.

Set a date

Naturally, you will want to celebrate your teen’s birthday on or close to her big day. If her birthday lands on a weekday or right around a big holiday, you will certainly need to be a little more flexible with the date. Consider sending out “save-the-date” cards or emails to make sure guests mark the party on their calendars.

Book vendors

If you plan to hire a DJ or a caterer, make sure you reserve these services far in advance before all of your local providers are booked up. If you are throwing a backyard party, you will need a party tent rental and rental chairs for your guests. A tent rental is essential to establishing a party ‘hub’ as well as sheltering your guests in case of rain. You may also want to consider an outdoor dance floor rental to get the party poppin’.

Send out invitations

Professional party planners recommend sending out invitations three to five weeks in advance. When it comes to the classic Sweet Sixteen party, there is a longstanding tradition of hand-delivering invitations, so make sure they are printed out in time for the birthday girl to pass them out.