Almost every girl dreams of having a Sweet 16 party. For girls in the US and Canada lucky enough to have a coming-of-age party when they turn sixteen, it can be one of the biggest events of their lives until they get married.
Budgets vary regarding what families can afford, but there are several ways to have a successful party within your means, no matter what amount you’re willing to spend. By following these seven steps to organize your party, you’ll be able to put on a party that creates special memories for your daughter.
If you’re considering having a Sweet 16 for your son, don’t hesitate! Of course, you don’t have to call it a Sweet 16, but having a coming-of-age party for your son can help mark an important event and help him feel confident about his future.
1. Choose a Budget
You can have any size party you want to, as long as you can afford it. The easiest way to ensure you can pay for your party is to plan your party around your budget. First, pick a budget that seems reasonable to you, and then plan accordingly.
You’ll find ways to save money as you plan, but the food and venue will be some of your highest costs. Make choices that fit your budget, and then develop a theme around those choices.
2. Pick a Venue
Pick a venue that fits your budget. It’s pretty easy to say that a fancy ballroom at a large resort will be a more expensive venue than your own home. But, no matter your chosen venue, you can design a fun theme around your location.
Besides price, there are several other things to consider when you choose an event venue. When you’re researching your options, make sure to focus on these topics:
- Size of venue
- Food catering options
- Policies on start and finish times
- Music volumes
Meet with the coordinator of several event venues. They can answer questions and help walk you through the process and will be happy to help you decide on the menu.
3. The Party Theme
Every great Sweet 16 party needs a theme. A party theme is a perfect way to bring all of the elements of your party together and can make it look like it was planned by a professional.
Choose colors and a unique concept, and then use the theme to design everything from the food to the party decorations.
If you’re making the food yourself, make it unique by using decorative toothpicks for drinks and hors d’oeuvres. You can order custom-designed toothpicks or choose from various fun shapes and sizes to match your party theme.
4. The Menu
Your menu needs to complement your theme and your venue, as well as stay within your budget. Food varies widely in price, and if you’re on a tight budget, you might not be able to invite as many people if you choose expensive cuisine.
You should expect to pay between $10 and $40 per person to have food catered for your party. The cost can be more if your food is fancy and less if you prepare some of it yourself. Determine how many people you can include on your guest list by dividing your total food budget by the cost of food per person.
Once you know how many people to invite, you’ll need to pick a date. Of course, you know it’s for your child’s sixteenth birthday, but you might want to choose a weekend date to celebrate. Again, be sure to plan in advance so that as many people as possible can come.
Make a guest list and send out invitations. You can save money here if you need to by creating your invitations or sending them online. Be sure to use your party theme and colors when you make your invitations.
6. Music and Entertainment
Every party needs music, especially when it comes to teenagers. A DJ is excellent for a Sweet 16 party because they can work with your theme and play the birthday girl’s favorite songs.
Many DJs cost $200 to $400 for a party, but it will depend on how long you ask them to be there, and some DJs are more expensive because they are more popular. You can also ask your DJ about helping you emcee your party if you have some fun games and activities planned.
7. A Night to Remember
If it’s within your budget, hire a photographer. Sweet 16 parties are nights to remember; hopefully, you’ll have too much fun to have time to take pictures.
You can hire a professional photographer for a reasonable amount, but if you’re on a budget, you can try to find a student intern to take pictures for you.