Quinceaneras: What to Expect and What to Wear

Quinceaneras: What to Expect and What to Wear

Teenage girl in prom dress with glitter at a Quinceanera.

You’re invited to a Quinceanera, but if this is your first time attending one you may not know what to expect and what you should wear to fit in with the other guests.  In this article we’ll help you learn more and get ready for this fun, exciting right of passage!

What is a Quinceanera?
A quinceanera is a Latin tradition for teenage girls very similar to a sweet sixteen party in American culture. Instead of the birthday girl turning sixteen though, she’s turning fifteen. There will be plenty of dancing, food, and in general, a huge celebratory party. Quinceaneras also tend to be very family-oriented with people of all age groups present to celebrate the birthday girl’s passage into adulthood. There will often be live music, speeches, and surprise dances performed by the Quinceanera and her closest friends.

Group of Teenagers Hamming It Up for Quiceanera party photo

What to Wear to a Quinceanera

Before purchasing a new outfit, it is important to know where the quinceanera will be held.  A home?  A catering hall?  Somewhere else?

    • Quinceaneras Hosted at a Personal Residence
      Traditionally, a Quinceanera taking place in someone’s home means you can dress a little more casually. A nice pair of skinny jeans, wedges or heels, and a pretty top should be enough or a boho-chic dress will also be appropriate without going overboard. Alternately a nice pair of slacks, casual shoes (not sneakers) with a freshly pressed dress shirt are perfect for young men.
    • Quinceaneras Hosted at Reception Halls
      If you are wondering what to wear to a Quinceanera hosted at a reception hall, the keyword for fashion is “classy.” Rarely are Quinceaneras white-tie affairs, so there is no need for a floor-length, formal gown. A dress nice enough to wear to an afternoon wedding would be appropriate to wear to the Quinceanera.  Young men should be dressed in a sports coat, tie, dress pants and freshly polished dress shoes.However, if the quinceaneara is occurring during the late afternoon or evening, dressing up a bit more is recommended.  A knee length or modest mini-dress and a pair of cute (yet comfortable) heels make an ideal ensemble.  Keep in mind that a quinceaneara is a birthday party, not a night club event.  Showing off your legs is appropriate, but baring your midriff and cleavage is inappropriate.

One final thing to consider deciding what to wear to a Quinceanera is to know your role at the event.  If you’re part of the the official quinceanera party you will need to be more aware of your attire.  Prior to the big event the Quinceanera and her parents ask close friends and family members to be “damas” and “chambelanes” at the Quinceanera. It’s comparable to a bride picking out her bridesmaids and groomsmen. They’ll have a theme color that they’ll be wearing and the Quinceanera traditionally (but not always) wears a white dress with a small incorporation of her selected theme color. You should ask whoever invited you what that theme color is and avoid wearing it or white to the event.

However, if you’re merely a guest at the party, you have a bit more flexibility in your choice of attire. You should, however, avoid outshining the Quinceanera.  Additionally wearing tiaras or rhinestone encrusted hair combs, barrettes, etc. should be reserved exclusively for the Quinceanera and her official party members.

Party On!

Quinceaneras are a memorable day of celebration and something that the birthday girl will remember for years to come.  Use these tips to help you contribute to the fun!

    • When in doubt about what to wear, less is best. Avoid bold, solid colors and opt for more subdued patterns such as floral prints.
    • If you plan to participate in dancing (which is a big part of the quinceanera celebration) be sure you are wearing comfortable, broken in shoes. Your feet will thank you.
    • Avoid wearing bulky, heavy jewelry. Latin dancing means a lot of fast movements.  Long necklaces may result in accidental injuries to you or your partner during all the spins, turns and dips on the dance floor.

Follow these simple tips and you’re sure to look like a Quinceanera pro on the big night!

Villa Russo is a superb venue for hosting Quinceaneras! We have been creating unforgettable parties for young ladies for more than 60 years, with fairy tale rooms, experienced managers, five star cuisine, and affordable cost-saving packages.

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