16th Birthday Party Ideas

Its my 16th Birthday

For many teenagers, turning sixteen is a big deal. It’s traditionally viewed as a girl’s coming of age, and many debutante balls are held on a girl’s sixteenth birthday to introduce her to society. The sweet sixteenth birthday has a lot of counterparts in other countries and cultures (although in different ages), such as the Jewish Bar or Bat Mitzvah or the Quincaenera parties in the Latin community.

Depending on your budget and the birthday girl’s wishes, the party can range from small and simple, to big and ostentatious. Here are things you have to keep in mind when throwing a sweet sixteen birthday party for your special girl.

What Kind of Party?

two girls
Gorgeous girls

There are many ways of throwing a sweet sixteen party, but you and the birthday girl must first decide on whether you will be throwing a formal party, a casual party, or a semi-formal party. A formal party usually involves waltzes, gowns and a more formal theme. A semi-formal party will be more laid-back than the formal party, but will follow some traditions. A casual party can be like your typical birthday party for a young woman.

A sweet sixteen party can also have party themes that reflect the celebrant’s interests, hobbies or even their favorite things. Here are some suggestions when picking a sweet sixteen theme.

  • Glamour. Teenagers love to dress up and be fabulous, and sweet sixteen is a perfect opportunity. Use a glamorous theme like a hollywood theme or a mardi gras theme for the optimum chance to play dress up. (Tips on how to make a glamorous theme birthday party)
  • Children’s Theme. Sweet sixteen parties celebrate a girl’s coming of age, but they can also be an opportunity to say goodbye to childhood. The best way to do this? By throwing an unabashed children’s theme party! Disney theme parties, toy theme parties and Mother Goose stories are witty and tongue-in-cheek ideas for a sweet sixteen party. The guests will certainly have a lot of fun playing childhood party games.
  • Princess
    I wear my princess dress

  • Princess. Formal sweet sixteen parties often have a princess theme where both girls and boys dress up in formal gowns and tuxes. The celebrant is also flanked by her “court”, comprised of sixteen boys and girls of her age.
  • Sports. If your celebrant is sporty and loves the outdoors, hold a fun sports-themed party on her sweet sixteen. She’ll be free of the frilly skirts and traditional rituals and can just have all-out fun playing a variety of sports with her friends and family.
  • Vacation Spot. Some parents have a special fund for their daughters’ sweet sixteen birthdays, so the daughter can spend that money on anything she wishes. If a vacation is in order, you can celebrate a party based on where she is going. For example, if she is going to Hawaii, you can have a luau party with her friends. If she is going to visit the Alps, you can have a snow party and if she’s going to New York, she can have a city theme party. The possibilities are endless.

Remember that all plans must be done in conjunction to what the celebrant wishes. Even if you want a really extravagant ball for your daughter’s sweet sixteen, don’t force it, especially if it’s not her style.

Sweet Sixteen Traditions

Sweet sixteen parties are special because they mean something to the celebrant and society, that is, an acknowledgment of the girl’s coming of age. Here are some of the traditions tied to sweet sixteen parties:

  • Candle-Lighting Ceremony. A candle-lighting ceremony is comprised of 16 candles (or even 17) that can be independently standing apart from each other, or the birthday candles themselves. Each candle will be lit by a person who is important to the celebrant’s life, and those people make a short speech or recite a poem to introduce that special person. A seventeenth candle is usually included when someone dear to the celebrant has passed away.
  • Shoe Ceremony. In this ceremony, the celebrant sits on a chair and she is approached by her father or grandfather with a pair of high heels on a pillow. The celebrant must take off her flats and put on the high heels to symbolize that she is now a grown woman.
  • candle-lighting
    candle lighting ceremony
    Shoe Ceremony
    It's my shoe Ceremony
    My first dance
  • Tiara Ceremony. Similar to the shoe ceremony, the celebrant is approached by her father or grandfather to ceremonially place a tiaraon the celebrant’s head to symbolize her coming of age. The tiara ceremony can be done along with the shoe ceremony.
  • First Dance. The celebrant and her father have the first dance on the dance floor before everyone can join in.

Sweet sixteen parties are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and while they may seem corny, these traditions can really define the importance of this birthday celebration.

Decorations and Invitations

Pool venue party

Your decorations and invitations to the sweet sixteen party must reflect the theme and formality (or informality) of the party. To make it more personalized, include photos of the celebrant from when she was a baby to her current age.

Formal sweet sixteen parties require a lot of planning, and are usually held in party halls. For casual parties, you can either host the party at your own home or at an outdoor venue, like a club house or a pool area.

Decorations can be very extravagant or simple, depending on the celebrant’s preferences. Of course, no party is complete without balloons, banners and streamers. Flowers must also figure prominently, too, since this is still very much a girl’s party.

Sweet Sixteen Games and Activities

Teenagers will always have ways to make themselves enterained, such as video games, watching movies or simply having a gabfest. Having a few games up your sleeve isn’t a bad idea either. Here are some suggestions for games in your sweet sixteen party.

  • Murder Mystery Game. For teenagers with a rather short attention span, playing a murder mystery game will surely test their powers of observation. You can purchase any murder mystery game set from a toy store, and the set will include the script and clues to solving the murder.
  • Kissing Cards. Guests are seated in a circle and a card is passed around from person to person by pressing the card mouth to mouth. If the card falls between two people, they are eliminated. This continues until only a pair remain, who will be declared as the winners.
  • Check this out funny movie Kissing card and go crazy!…:).

    You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

  • Pinata. Fill a pinata with age-appropriate trinkets such as accessories, nail polish, rub-on tattoos and small makeup kits. (Learn how to make a pinata)
  • Trivia Game. Make a trivia game about the celebrant. Make the questions easy to guess and not too obscure. Divide teams into two or three groups and the team who gets the most correct answers, wins.

Don’t forget that teens love to rock out and dance. You can hire a DJor a band to play music at the party. After all the traditional motions, it’s still a teenager’s birthday party at the end. Don’t forget to loosen up and have fun celebrating with your daughter!

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