Planning a Sweet 16 party that your finicky teen will think is “cool” can be challenging—particularly because teens probably don’t use the word “cool” anymore. Current teenage slang aside, there are more than a few factors that must be considered by the Sweet 16 party planner, no matter what decade it is.
THE FOLLOWING IS A USEFUL CHECKLIST FOR PLANNING A SWEET 16 PARTY THAT YOUR TEENAGER WON’T FIND TOTALLY LAME.
Pick A Venue
Before you have a party, you need a place that can host a party. Whichever venue you choose, it should able to accommodate guests comfortably, offer competitive pricing, boast an attentive staff, and be open to the decorative whims of the teenage guest of honor. And be sure to ask if the venue offers a tour of the event space.
Choose A Theme
Sweet 16 themes run the gamut, from retro glam to pajama party to luau and everything in between. Youngsters turning 16 often have particular interests—including sports, movies, music, videos game, and beyond. With plenty of lead time, any motif can be achieved through proper planning and execution. Also, choosing a theme can go a long way in helping to figure out your party decor.
Finalize The Guest List
The type of party you're throwing hinges on how many guest are attending. This will tell you how much space you’ll need, how many mouths you’ll be feeding, and if it makes sense to go overboard with party favors and activities. This is one of the steps that should be completed early in the planning process.
Get Those Invitations Out
Once you’ve painstakingly put together your teenager’s final guest list, figure out your invitation design and whether they'll be digital or physical invites, which will need to be mailed. There’s plenty of templates out there to show your guests this party is one that should not be missed.
What’s On the Menu?
Most teens love burgers, fries, pizza, and ice cream, so don’t feel the need to go crazy when it comes to the Sweet 16 menu. Sure, you want the food to be tasty, but no teenager is going to complain if you don’t serve black truffle lobster pops. Keep it simple, classic, and satisfying. Check with your venue to see if they provide catering services.
IT MIGHT NOT BE THE SMOOTHEST OF PARTY PLANNING PROCESSES, BUT IT IS ONE OF THE MOST REWARDING...
Find The Best Music
Music sets the tone for the night and keeps the party moving at the perfect rhythm. Whether you’re hiring a DJ or band or simply choosing a playlist on Spotify, music can make or break a party. Tempo is important—you never want to have too many slow songs in a row, but you also need to know when the pace should be broken up.
Plan Your Party Timeline
Sketching a timeline keeps the night on track and ensures all the activities have sufficient time dedicated to them. And if planned correctly, a timeline can give the night a spontaneous feel, while also providing an organizational through line from the beginning of the night to the end, from the grand entrance to the candle-lighting ceremony.
Pick Fun Activities
If there’s one thing you can count on from teenagers, it’s that they will tell you in no uncertain terms just how bored they are. Avoid the eye rolls and those nasty teenage comments with an array of activities like karaoke, dance competitions, and even that old favorite, musical chairs. And be sure to have more games planned than you think you’re going to need!
Find A Photographer/Videographer
Even though every single young person has a smartphone—and will likely post to social media throughout the night—hiring a photographer or videographer will go a long way in producing cherished memories of one of the most important nights in your teenager’s young life. Besides, grandma can’t frame an Instagram post.
Consider The Cost
Of course this is a very important night, but remember to keep things in perspective. This is not a wedding, it is a Sweet 16 party, so your teen’s expectations must be managed. Find a budget that works for your finances, and stick to it. There are a great many ways to give your teenager the perfect night, without putting yourself in debt.
As you can see, there are plenty of steps to planning the perfect Sweet 16. It might not be the smoothest of party planning processes, but it is one of the most rewarding—especially when your teenager’s eye rolls are held to a minimum.