Your daughter’s 16th birthday is one of the more important events of her teenage life. There are relatively few rites of passage for teenage girls, and their sweet 16 is one of the only ceremonies to introduce them to “adulthood.” So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if they hold this birthday in higher regard than any birthday before.
While it may seem silly to someone who has had 30 or 40 birthdays come and go that a 16th birthday needs a huge production, to your daughter, it is something truly special. Making sure that her special day goes off without a hitch might seem like a lot of pressure, with a little forethought and planning, you’ll pull it off easily. Follow these simple steps and your daughter won’t believe you did it all on your own!
There are a few different ways you can go about planning your daughter’s birthday party. First, you need to decide how much you’d like to include your daughter in the planning phase of the party, either keeping the party as under-wraps as possible, or having her directly help. There are a couple of advantages to going either route — a surprise party can be an incredibly special experience, but if she is intimately involved in the planning there is less chance of her being disappointed if things aren’t what she expected.
If you do decide to keep her in the loop, make sure to set some ground rules as to how much can be spent, how many people can attend, et cetera. Not only will this give you someone to help with all of the planning, but you can use the opportunity to teach your daughter about budgeting and managing her expectations. By keeping her in the loop, she will feel a bit of the responsibility behind the planning, and when it all goes to plan she will have a sense of pride knowing that she helped pull it all together.
If you choose to keep things as under wraps as possible, you’ll have to do a little prodding and poking to find out what she wants. Of course, she will no doubt be vocal about a few things: what gifts she wants, who she wants there, her favorite flavor of cake and the like, but overall you’ll have to do some sleuthing to figure out how to throw an awesome 16th birthday party. Does she like theme parks with roller coasters? Would she prefer something more low-key, like participating in an awesome escape room with her friends? Are any of these activities within the budget you’ve set for the party?
The logistics of throwing an important party, whether big or small, can be a real challenge. There can be problems with the venue, catering (if you choose to go that route), and making sure that your daughter’s friends know where and when they are supposed to show up. However, if you stay on top of these factors, they can be easily managed.
When sending out invites, ask that the party-goers RSVP so that you know at least a ballpark estimate of how many people will be attending, which is incredibly important to your budget. The invites themselves can be fun for your daughter — you can have a photo shoot with her, have her pick out her favorite photos, and use an inexpensive printing service to make the personalized invitations. Send these invitations out at least a month in advance, possibly earlier depending on how prepared you like to be.
Ask the venue if you can show up an hour or so early so that you’re able to get everything set up before any guests or the birthday girl herself arrive. Simply setting up early can help to avoid any awkwardness stemming from running around trying to set up banners as guests are milling about. Also, consider setting up a makeshift registry for party goers so that there isn’t any overlap in gifts.
Running around and trying to keep every detail straight in the plan can be stressful. If your daughter is helping you, she can certainly help you to remember the important parts, but things can fall through the cracks regardless. Making sure that the party goes well relies heavily on your ability to keep track of every detail, because if you don’t then the meticulous planning you’ve put in may seem undercut if the plan falls apart in the final stretch.
First and foremost, go oldschool with a classic planner and calendar. While your smartphone will undoubtedly have a calendar and notes application on it, having a physical item that you can see and feel without having to root through your phone can make a world of difference. You can keep track of who has RSVP’d, make notes to check in with the venue, and have a list of the guests phone numbers and e-mail addresses so that you can reach them quickly if anything changes on short notice.
Checking a calendar daily can keep you on course and prevent any details from being missed. Your daughter will appreciate your organization leading up to the party, and when you show that level of care towards something important to her, she will want to emulate that organization and care in her own life. While yes, this is a birthday party for your not-so-little girl, it is also a chance to show her what it takes to set up something special for someone that they love.
While your daughter only turns 16 once in her life, the memories can last forever. Beyond just setting up a fantastic party for your daughter, planning a sweet 16 can demonstrate responsibility and preparedness to her. Just remember, even with the pressure of orchestrating a seamless party, above all else you should remember to have fun with your daughter, because she is growing up fast!
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