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Helpful Tips for Planning a Sweet 16

Tips on How to Plan a Sweet 16 Party

A Sweet Sixteen celebrates a teenage girl’s sixteenth birthday and, for some, is a highly anticipated and important event. Some girls view it like they do all their other birthdays. Whether you’ve been dreaming of your Sweet Sixteen since you were little or never thought twice about it, this post will help you plan every detail needed to throw an unforgettable Sweet Sixteen party.

Step 1: Set a Budget

Before even thinking about the details involved in the party, determine a budget. Ask your parents how much they’re willing to spend and whether or not they feel comfortable if you paid for a few small things. Don’t forget to also include them in all decisions you make about the party as most will likely concern them (and their bank accounts).

Step 2: Choose Your Date

The next step is deciding on a date for your Sweet Sixteen party. Will it be before, after or on your sixteenth birthday? By deciding on a date for the party, the guests can be aware and make sure not to plan anything on that day. Of course, when choosing a date, remember to consider holidays and special events that could interfere. No one wants to end up with an empty birthday party because none of the guests could come.

Step 3: Choose a Venue

The decision of what venue to use for your birthday party can sometimes be difficult. It all depends on how many guests there will be, the date and the budget. Make sure to book the location well ahead of time. Plan to visit a few venues, check off what you like and dislike about each and come back to your list with your parents at the end. Looking at the details of each on paper will help you decide which venue is best for you.

Step 4: Guest List & Invites

Planning who should be invited to your special birthday party can be a daunting task. Some girls will only want an intimate party with a few guests, while others will want a huge and elaborate party. Both options are perfectly fine, so don’t feel pressured into having a big party or a small one; the choice is yours (and maybe your parents’). Once the guest list has been decided on and finalized, order or make your sweet sixteen invitations. It’s a good idea to send out all invitations around three to five weeks in advance, giving guests time to check their schedules.

For Sweet Sixteen birthday parties, the tradition is typically is to hand-deliver the invitations to the guests. Whether you follow this tradition is up to you. You could deliver them yourself, enlist the help of friends and family or simply mail them.

Step 5: Pick a Theme

Of course, picking a theme for your party isn’t necessary, but it sure is fun! It’s the chance to highlight and show off your personal interests, making the event even more memorable for you and your guests. The theme can be based off of anything—hobbies, novels, favorite colors, songs, movies or sports.

If you choose a certain theme you can ask guests to come dressed up in something relevant to the chosen theme. It is also a good idea to make the invitations reflect the party’s theme. Ideas for Sweet Sixteen themes include colors (blue & silver, black & gold, for example), countries and/or cities (Paris, New York City, Australia), royalty (queen, princesses), Hollywood, rock star, masquerade, famous actors and actresses, etc. The list goes on: anything is possible!

Step 6: Decide on the Menu

Depending on your budget and party location, you can choose to have either a catered or home-cooked menu. If you choose a venue that provides their own food catering, discuss the menu with their event planner and your parents. For the menu, choose foods that can be eaten with hands and fingers. As the guests will most likely be mingling with each other around the venue instead of sitting, make sure the foods are also easy to eat standing up. If you’re going a more formal route, select multiple options a meat, a vegan option, pasta, etc.. Lastly, don’t forget the cake (or cupcakes)!

Step 7: Make a Schedule

No party is complete without entertainment and activities for you guests, and a Sweet Sixteen is no exception! To stay organized, it is useful to write a rough schedule of what will happen during your party. Plan out a few games to play with your guests, create a slideshow that shows yourself, family and friends over the last 16 years, and of course hire a DJ to play music and entertain! Having games, personal moments and music gives your guests the chance to have fun in honor of you, the birthday girl—the whole point of the party!

Step 8: Party Favors

Party favors—also known as gift bags! This step is optional—a little thank you for your guests to collect when they leave. Whether it’s edible or not is up to you, there are so many options. The Sweet Sixteen party favor could match the theme of your birthday party or your personality, which ever you feel like.



Of course, there are more tasks to complete when planning your party, but with these 8 steps you’ll be on the right track! Remember, if you’re looking for a venue for your Sweet Sixteen, contact us at O’Connell Gardens! With two elegant rooms to choose from, five star catering service, and more O’Connell Gardens is a great choice to host any event in!

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