Once a girl hits her teen years, the most important celebration of her life seems to be the celebration of her 16th birthday. She obsessively dreams about her big momentous day. She sends you millions of texts, inspiration from Pinterest boards, Instagram pictures, all hints of what she wants for this milestone birthday. Of course you want your daughter’s big day to be everything she wants, but you have no idea where to even start!
Relax! Let us help calm your nerves with some tips and tricks to help you put together an unforgettable sweet sixteen.
Before you get started, create a simple checklist based on these steps to help you stay on track.
STEP 1: KNOW YOUR BUDGET
Determining your budget before you do anything else is the key to throwing a great party with a minimum of stress. You’ll be spending on things like the venue, food, party favors, and other supplies. If you keep track of your budget, you may find yourself with extra cash for goodies to surprise the birthday girl, like balloon bouquet delivery, more food options, or an extra-special gift.
STEP 2: DETERMINE A DATE
Ideally you can throw this sweet sixteen birthday party on her actual birthday, but sometimes that might not be ideal. A school holiday might seem like a great opportunity, but consider that people may have other plans for holidays. Choosing a date that works best for you and your guests is always important. You don’t want to plan a party for a day when the majority of your guests are unavailable.
STEP 3: PICK A THEME
A theme can make a sweet sixteen fun and memorable. Consider the birthday girl’s hobbies and interests. Their artistic endeavors or the sport they play are obvious places to start, but also consider a theme based on a place they’ve always wanted to visit, or a favorite book or movie.
You can add as little or as much as you want, from simple decorations, to themed activities, or even a full costume party. Unless it’s important that the details of the party are a surprise, involve the birthday girl with putting together the pieces that will bring the theme to life.
STEP 4: CHOOSE A VENUE
If your guest list is too big for your home, or a different location is important for the party’s theme, you’ll need to find the perfect venue. Take into account how many guests you are expecting, available dates, and your budget. Finding the perfect location will require calling around, going to see the location in person, and sometimes a down payment to secure the location. The earlier you begin the search for a venue, the easier it will be to find one that fits both your needs and your budget.
STEP 5: GUEST LIST & INVITATIONS
Whether big or small, it’s important to make a guest list. It may be tempting to just text everyone, but sending out invitations through the mail, or even using evites, is a nice touch. This also makes it easier to track RSVPs so that you can refine your plans and adjust your food orders as necessary.
STEP 6: WHAT’S ON THE MENU
It’s important to take all your guests’ needs into consideration when you’re planning the menu. Start by making sure you are able to provide allergy-friendly alternatives for those guests who might need them. Consider the seating arrangements as well: If you have minimal seating, it wouldn’t be practical to have a multi-course meal, so a variety of finger foods would be a better fit.
STEP 7: MAKE A SCHEDULE
The big day can be overwhelming and hectic. If you live in a big city, you’ll need to coordinate deliveries with caters, decorators, etc. to make sure that everything arrives on time. If you’re having a surprise balloon delivery, it’s important to get that timing right. So having a schedule of when guests arrive, how long the entertainment will last, and when to cut the cake can help with the flow of events. Most venues will have specific times when you can arrive and leave. The last thing you want is to be told you have to clean up before you even sing Happy Birthday.
STEP 8: PARTY FAVORS
Let your guests know that you appreciate them for coming out and celebrating with you. Party favors don’t have to be expensive. Find something that reflects the party’s theme or the birthday girl’s personality. If she enjoys crafts, something handmade is a great idea to commemorate a sweet sixteen.
You want her sweet sixteen to be something she can look back on fondly for the rest of her life. With these tips, you can give her the party of her dreams while saving yourself from the stress of throwing a party without a good plan.