Sweet 16: Tips for a Successful Party

Your daughter isn’t a little girl anymore: If her 16th birthday is coming up, then she’s well on her way toward becoming an adult. A Sweet 16 celebration is one way to commemorate this very special occasion. Since the event is not exactly a child’s birthday party and not exactly a party honoring an adult, there are some special considerations to keep in mind during your planning. All of these suggestions would work well for a Quinceañera, a coming-of-age party for a 15-year-old.

The Guest List

Laurens Sweet 16 PartyWhile up until now, your daughter may have had a yearly party with friends and a dinner out with family, this year is a great time to combine the two. Decide on a mutually agreeable number of guests, and let your daughter know which family members must be invited, then let her decide which friends she’d like to invite. Remember that this is her day: While parents, siblings and grandparents should be invited, if space is limited, she may choose to invite more friends and fewer cousins and great-uncles. Let her help make these decisions.

Location, Location, Location

Depending on the time of year that your daughter was born, her Sweet 16 party might be competing with weddings when it comes to choosing a locale to hold the big event. Particularly during the summer and around the holiday season, book well in advance. You can also have her party at a favorite restaurant or even at home, if you have enough space.

Teen-Friendly Invitations

Five years ago, your daughter may have appreciated invitations featuring a favorite character or theme. Since this party will be one celebrating her maturity, though, it’s a time for invites with a more grown-up appeal. Consider bringing all of the party details to a printer, or print your own with a traditional or fun font on pretty (but not juvenile) cardstock. Such an occasion is worthy of mailing invitations, if possible. RSVP cards add a nice touch.

Music and Entertainment

Your daughter will want a mix of popular music and entertainment for her Sweet 16. It’s important to find a DJ that will listen to her; not all teens are the same, and tired, overdone playlists are not appropriate for a teenager’s party. Choose someone that is able to sit down with her and determine her likes and dislikes. Consider a baby photo montage (if she doesn’t object), light shows and maybe showings of old home videos. This is a time to reflect on how much she’s grown!


Dessert TableWith any luck, your daughter’s guests will be dancing up a storm, and might not be willing to stop their fun for a sit-down meal. On the other hand, if a formal dinner is something that your daughter wants, then plan time for that before the dance party begins! Serve up her favorite foods, whether that means casual finger foods, more elegant appetizers, or a four-course meal. Don’t forget about a special cake or other dessert!

Happy Sweet 16 to your daughter! Congratulations on a job well done in raising a little girl into a young lady. Make her special day everything she wants it to be by giving her a good mix of party elements that will appeal to her youth as well as welcome her to adulthood.

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