A Sweet 16 planner can maximize the fun and minimize the stress of planning a celebration of young adult life. Especially in Long Island, NY, bigger and more formal events are the norm. For most, turning Sweet Sixteen is an important part of teenage-dom and the event ranks right up there with the wedding. A wedding planner is essential to ensure all the important details are handled and that the celebrants and their families and friends can relax and enjoy the experience. It is the same with planning a Sweet 16 party. If you are trying to do it yourself, we have shared some party planning tips below including a detailed Sweet 16 party checklist.
Sweet 16 Planner Checklist
Before printing off our comprehensive, detailed Sweet 16 party planner checklist, read through the high-level planning guide below. The key to reducing stress, other than hiring a party planner, is to start early, months before you think you need to.
Pre-planning: 10-12 months before the party
Planning an elaborate Sweet 16 definitely requires this much pre-planning. If your party is to be smaller and simpler, then you can probably reduce the timeline by 3 months.
Pick a date remembering that it does not have to be on the exact day or week of the birthday, especially when holidays, school events, and other celebrations may interfere. You want to pick a date when the most and most important people can attend.
Talk about who will be attending and the style of party. While some want a small, intimate party with just close friends and family, some will want a big, elaborate “coming out” event. This is where the budget can be made or broken. If something very special and formal is desired, but you have a small budget, you will only be able to accommodate a few guests. But if a simple theme with fewer details is preferred, more people can be invited.
Choose a venue that fits your budget, expected number of guests, and planned theme. Note that if you plan to rent many theme decorations, sometimes picking a very plain catering hall or banquet room is the best choice. Let the rentals build the fantasy of the party theme. Remember to consider alternatives like your yard, a park (consider the weather), or a community center.
Detailed Planning: 6-10 Months
Especially if you are planning a big event, consider sending save-the-dates notices. Using a postcard or magnet helps people remember to well, save the date!
Finalize a theme. This is often the most important part to the honoree. While selecting a theme talk about the ways that the theme will be created and provide your teen guidance on what fits in the budget.
Order themed Sweet 16 invitations well in advance so you have plenty of time to address them. It is advisable to do so, once you finalize the date, venue, and guest list (or at least number of guests).
Talk with caterers, bakers, florists, DJs, party rentals, and other suppliers to begin finalizing contracts. This is where a party planner can really help to ensure your contracts provide what you want and everything is coordinated.
Executing the Plan: 1-4 months before the party
This is the time when all the dreaming starts becoming reality. The more details and the more custom your party supplies are, the sooner you need to get started. This is when you start calling family and friends for help as delegation is the key to ensure it all gets done.
Select the dress. It can take months to get a custom dress finished and even weeks if multiple fittings are needed for an off-the-rack purchase. So be sure to give plenty of time for shopping and decision-making.
Finalize entertainment. A Sweet 16 party will not only include a program that honors the birthday girl or boy, but will also include enjoyment for all the guests. Consider all the types of guests coming. Most teens love music so hire a DJ to play popular music and keep the party going. If you have many older family members, keep in mind setting up a quieter place to sit and visit to take a break from the dance floor. Provide casino games or a photo booth to ensure guests get involved and ensure wallflowers have something to do.
Purchase or make party favors. If you purchase something custom, you will need lead time for them to arrive in time for the party. If you make the favors, you will need both time and help. Make it fun and memorable like Sweet 16 candy jars, themed koozies, or even themed ties and scarves.
Finish all projects like video montages, music selection for ceremonies, centerpieces, Sweet 16 candle holders, sign in boards, etc.
Counting Down: The Last Month
Mail the invitations!
Confirm all dates and details with suppliers. Double check the checklist to ensure it all got done.
Talk with anyone participating in a special part of a ceremony or toast to be sure that they have all the information they need.
Make a list of everything you and your recruited helpers will need to do the last week and the day of the party.
Get everything in one place. Separate what goes to the venue, everyone’s attire, and things you will take to the event like your camera so that you don’t have to spend time looking for things when you need them.
Day of the Event
Relax as much as you can and eat well. Try to stay on time for all hair and makeup appointments, photography appointment, and the party itself!
Have a great time!
But the memories live on! Share pics online especially for those who could not make it but are wanting to be a part of the celebration.
Pay your suppliers on time. Ensure your teen writes the thank you notes in a timely fashion.
Start planning for graduation and college.
Party Planning Experiences
What are your party planning experiences? What can you add to the list? Share them below! If you find you need help with any aspect of planning a party, feel free to call the Sweet 16 planner specialists at Super Sweet Sixteens!