We’re sure you’ll agree that birthday parties are a heck of a lot of fun! Especially the “big ones” in a young person’s life...you know, the ones we look most forward to celebrating before we get to the age where we’d rather stop counting. Short of the iconic 18th and 21st birthdays, the most celebrated age in the U.S. is 16.
Sweet Sixteen birthday parties are commonplace, but that doesn't mean that their organization and execution is easy. If your child is approaching this transformative age, you're going to need all the help you can get! Let's take a look at three tips that will ensure you throw a birthday party that they'll never forget.
Determine Your Budget
The budget is an extremely important part of any party, as it establishes a number of factors. Sweet Sixteens can cost between $300 and $25,000 depending on what you're willing (and able) to spend. First, you're going to want to figure out how many people are coming; the average party size that a caterer handles is between 100 to 250 people, but a small, personal event is always possible as well. Once you've got a headcount, you can start planning out the other details -- how many chairs and tables (and fitted tablecloths) you'll need, what sort of venue you want, how much food will be required, etc.
Finally, you'll need to stick, firmly, to that budget -- it’s all too easy to say “we could just add this one little thing”. The problem is when that 1 little thing ends up being 8 little things, which aren’t so little when you add them up at the end. Stick to the original plan and budget.
Pick A Theme
Sweet Sixteens can follow a variety of themes, but it's important that they are centered on the birthday girl or boy. Unless you plan on throwing a surprise party, you should include them in the design aspect; the last thing you want to do is throw a party that you'd like, rather than your child. If you're keeping the event a secret, incorporate things that you know your child loves, whether it's the ocean, Marvel movies, or everything "princess."
Prepare The Venue
OK, now that you have the basics hammered out, you’ll need to put the whole thing together. Luckily the budget and theme planning that you did earlier will help this go much smoother and faster. Your venue could be a grand hotel ballroom, a pavilion in the local park, or your own backyard; regardless, it needs to be ready for the big day. Arrange the tables and chairs (and tents, if you're using them) in a way that allows space for people to move comfortably, and don't forget the tiny details; stock up on any tablecloths, fitted tablecloths, tablecloth clips (especially if the party is being held outdoors), and napkins so that the set-up time goes quickly and you can move on to the fun part -- the actual party! -- before you know it.
We’ve focused more on Sweet Sixteens to highlight a commonly celebrated, momentous occasion in your child's life. But the advice above proves true whether you’re planning an 18th, 21st, or even one of the “let’s not mention what birthday this is” parties. Following the above tips can help the whole day go off without a hitch!