Plan the Ultimate Sweet 16 Party

How to Plan a Sweet 16 Party

Planning Guide

A girl’s Sweet 16 is a MAJOR milestone- and should be treated as such! However, planning the PERFECT party is no easy feat- and can often leave you wondering where to even begin. Our easy-to-follow party planning guide will help you get a jump start on planning a Sweet 16 that will be remembered forever.

1. Talk to the birthday girl. It is her special day, after all, so you should find out first and foremost what she has in mind! Is she hoping for a fancy birthday dinner with her closest girlfriends, a fun sleepover with a bunch of pals, or maybe even a splashy co-ed birthday bash? Maybe she isn’t sure what kind of party she wants yet, but she’s been dreaming of a certain theme or color scheme! No matter what your soon-to-be sixteen year old is picturing, be sure to talk to her before you begin the planning process. Communication is key!

2. Pick a theme. Once you and the birthday girl decide what sort of party you’ll be throwing, the next step is deciding on the perfect theme. While it can be as simple as her favorite color, having a central idea will make selecting décor and choosing activities SO much easier! A theme also creates the appearance of a well-organized event, and will help you to focus your energy! Use the The Sweet 16 Party Store Theme to get inspired!

3. Create a budget. Without a budget, you might be tempted to buy more than you should! When making your budget, be sure to take into consideration things like venue and transportation (if necessary), decorations, cake, refreshments, food, games, and party favors. Naturally, the more elaborate the party and the more guests attending, the larger the budget. It is possible to throw a fabulous birthday bash without breaking the bank, though! Be sure to leave some cushion in the budget for unexpected expenses that might arise- you’ll thank yourself!

4. Create a timeline. The sooner you begin the party planning process, the more smoothly it will go and the less stressed out you’ll be when the big day finally arrives! We recommend starting the planning process around 3 months before the date of your party. It may seem like a lot of time, but this way you’ll avoid scrambling to put everything together the night before! The Sweet 16 Party Planning Checklist will walk you through the creation of an initial timeline of what needs to be done before the party. Print the checklist and put the tasks into your calendar for the best results!

5. Make reservations. As soon as you have a plan for the party’s activities, make your reservations ASAP! Whether you’re renting a venue, staying at a hotel, going to a concert, or just doing dinner, the sooner you reserve your space the better! Don’t forget to mention that the event is a Sweet 16 when booking, because some places have special packages or VIP treatment for the birthday girl and her guests!

6. Send invitations. Around one month before the event, send out the invitations to everyone on the birthday girl’s list! Giving the guests some advance notice ensures the best turnout! Make sure to use an invitation that matches the party’s theme or décor. Include the theme, date, time, location, special instructions (if guests are supposed to bring something with them or wear a specific outfit) and RSVP information!

7. Create a menu. Work with the birthday girl to decide on what kind of food you’ll be serving to your guests. Whether you’re having snacks, dessert, or even hiring a caterer, deciding on a menu will make the whole process run much more smoothly! Inform the caterer as soon as possible on your plans for the menu so that they’re well informed of your expectations. If you’re making the food yourself, be sure to write the menu down so that you don’t forget anything! Don’t wait until the last minute to purchase food; it helps to get a jump start with the nonperishable items! Asking a friend or family member to help you with cooking that needs to be done the day of the event will reduce stress!

8. Purchase décor. Consider the theme, budget, and venue when planning and purchasing decorations. If the party will be held at a rented venue, make sure that you’ve visited the location and taken pictures and measurements for the easiest planning. If the party will be held at your home, envisioning the space while purchasing decorations will obviously be much easier! You should have all of the decorations necessary to make the party perfect at least two weeks before the party!

9. Prep for the big day. Prepare your décor, food, and supplies necessary for games and activities. Fill the party favor bags, wrap the birthday girl’s gift, and double check that you have everything you need in order to make this a 16th to remember! Even if you think you have a great memory, keeping lists during the planning process will keep you organizes and ensure that you don’t forget anything. Once you complete a task or item on your list, check it off so that you can remain focused on the things that still need to be done. If you are renting space or purchasing any services, keep a written list of contact information on hand in case of an emergency. Don’t forget to keep track of the RSVP’s, too!

10. Celebrate. Finally, after months of planning, the time has come! Your birthday girl is so excited for her special day! All of your hard work has paid off, and the party is sure to be perfect. Don’t forget to spend some time celebrating with your 16 year old!

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