Tips for Planning a Sweet Sixteen Party

Tips for Planning a Sweet Sixteen Party


A sweet sixteen party is often a coming of age ritual where girls celebrate with friends. However, more recently boys have joined in the fun – and what’s not to love about a fun-filled day with friends? Here are a few tips to plan a successful sweet sixteen party for lots of fun and lasting memories.

  1. Select a date. Great guests make for a great party. When selecting who will be invited determine if the majority of your guests will be available on your selected data. Weekend parties tend to be more convenient for guests especially if they are traveling from out of town. However, if most of your guests are local, Friday evenings can be more budget friendly and can be just as beautiful and memorable.

PRO TIP: Avoid dates that could interfere with a holiday such as New Year, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s/Father’s Day weekend, Fourth of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Winter Holidays.

  1. Define a budget. Before planning, be sure to determine what you are willing and able to spend. This budget will narrow your options and will help as you make decisions ranging from decorations to the party venue.

PRO TIP: When defining your budget, break it down further into what you are willing to spend for entertainment, food, transportation, venue, etc. This will help you keep your overall budget in check and avoid overspending!

  1. Determine the party’s theme. A theme is a popular option for proms and for coming of age events such as a sweet sixteen party. Some popular ideas are:
    1. Oscars or Hollywood
    2. Alice in Wonderland
    3. Medieval Nights
    4. Masquerade Ball
    5. Night in Paris
    6. Sports theme
    7. Enchanted Forest
    8. Gothic Castle

PRO TIP: Select a theme that most speaks to your personality.

  1. Create a guest list. Who you invite to your party will determine how much fun you and your other guests have at the party. Do you want to invite close friends? Family? Everyone in your school?

PRO TIP: Before creating your guest list determine the maximum number of people your budget will support. Then create your guest list using that number as a guide.

  1. Select a venue. There are a few things you need to know before you can begin your search for venue—cost, location, date, and the number of attendees. Once you have defined these areas, you will be able to start your research on a venue. When looking for venue, there are a few other things to consider.
    1. Ambiance. Pay attention to the décor to make sure it fits with the style you want for your party. A castle would not be the best choice if you party is a beach theme but it would be perfect if you had a princess theme. The less the ambiance matches your party theme, the more decorating will be necessary to convey your idea properly. This is an added cost to keep in mind.
    2. Services and amenities. Does the venue provide catering or does it have a kitchen? Does it have tables, chairs, and linens you could use? Does venue have staff to serve and clean up? Does it have audio/video capabilities?
    3. Minimums and capacity. Does the venue have a minimum for food and beverages or attendees? What is the capacity of the venue? Will the it be able to accommodate your guest safely and comfortably?
    4. Parking. Is there valet parking? Is there enough parking space for each of your guests?
    5. Accessibly. Does the venue have the access for your guests with special needs?
    6. Insurance. Many venues require that you name them as additionally insured for your special party. You can ask your insurance agent to do this for you but it does take time for this to happen so get this going early.
    7. Acoustics. Some venues look as though they would be perfect but the acoustics make it nearly impossible for you guest to hear each other let alone your entertainment.

PRO TIP: When determining your venue, look for packages that include extras such as tables, linens, service staff, catering.

  1. Audition and Book Entertainment. Whether your party will include live music, a DJ or other entertainment it’s important that you schedule early on. Entertainers often have schedules that fill up quickly so the sooner you can get in their calendar the better.
  1. Create and Send Save the Date Cards. Save the date cards are a great way for you to alert your guests of an upcoming party so that they can avoid scheduling other activities. Postcards work especially well for this purpose.



  1. Design and Send Out Invitations.Whether you choose to design your own invitations or have them done professionally, make sure they match your theme. For example, if your party theme is under-the-sea, you might have invitations with coral or brightly colored tropical fish.
  1. Set Your Food Menu. Food can be simple such as appetizers and finger foods. Alternately, it could be full meal. When choosing a menu, there are several to consider.
    1. Food budget
    2. Theme of party
    3. Time of party
    4. Guest count
    5. Timetable
  1. Make Up Party Favors. Party favors are a way of thanking your guests for attending. Some sweet sixteen parties go all out with gift baskets including gift cards, products and more. Practical party favors can include candy, paper masks, costume jewelry, balls, etc. For more ideas on party favors visit our Pinterest board at

If you’re planning a sweet sixteen party in or around the Queens, NY area contact Villa Russo.  Our experienced banquet managers can help you plan this special day so you can enjoy this one-in-a-lifetime experience!

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