It’s one of the biggest birthdays in your daughter’s life: her sweet 16. It’s a coming-of-age ceremony that’s unlike any other. You love her more than anything and want her special day to be as extraordinary as she is. Planning an elaborate party is no small feat, which can leave you wondering: how long does it take to plan a sweet 16? Not to worry, though! With Peerspace in your back pocket, you’ll have a party-planning ace up your sleeve. Here’s a basic timeline on planning a sweet 16 that’ll make your birthday girl’s big day unlike any other!
How long does it take to plan a sweet 16: the basic timeline
While most birthday parties only require a few weeks to a few months of planning time, sweet 16s are slightly different. They’re much bigger and more elaborate than the standard birthday bash, which means they’ll require a little more time to get everything lined up.
We recommend starting planning for a sweet 16 around 6-8 months before the date of the party. This will give you plenty of time to start budgeting and making reservations for venues, caterers, entertainers, and other important features. Read on to find out what you should tackle first!
6-8 months in advance: set the date
Before you start planning anything else for the party, you need a firm date for the big bash. Remember that the date of a sweet 16 party doesn’t have to fall on the actual 16th birthday. If your daughter’s birthday falls on a school night, you can throw the party on a weekend to keep things from wrapping up too early.
Choose a date and time that’s within a few days of your daughter’s birthday without conflicting with other holidays, vacations, or events. That way, you can get RSVPs out as soon as you’ve tackled other aspects of the party!
6-8 months in advance: book the venue
The venue is one of the most important aspects of any party, especially a sweet 16. Your daughter and her friends will need plenty of room for celebrating, mingling, and dancing the night away.
If you need a helping hand with finding the perfect place to host a sweet 16, check out Peerspace to find an awesome venue. Book romantic outdoor gardens, elegant rooftops, sweeping ballrooms, and more. You name it, Peerspace can help you find it quickly and easily!
3-6 months in advance: find awesome entertainment
A sweet 16 needs some awesome tunes! If you want to book live entertainment like a band or a DJ, we recommend booking an entertainer at least a few months before the date of the party. Platforms like Gigsalad or elephant are awesome for finding the right one.
Need A/V equipment at your venue? Tons of Peerspace venues offer equipment rentals as an add-on, or you can contact Peerspace concierge to get you the equipment you need to get your party started.
2-4 months in advance: secure catering
While your daughter and her friends are partying, they’re sure to get hungry. If you want to secure a caterer to keep party-goers well-fed, booking a vendor at least a few months in advance is imperative. The cuisine you choose should reflect the theme of your daughter’s sweet 16 and ideally feature some of her favorite foods.
If the sweet 16 party is a more formal affair, consider serving up hors d’oeuvres and appetizers for a sophisticated slant. You could even hire a bartender to make non-alcoholic “mocktails” to lend your teen’s party a grown-up touch. For more casual parties, buffets are also a popular option since guests can eat as much or as little as they like while mingling with friends.
Whatever option you choose to go with, remember that Peeraspace concierge can help you find the perfect caterer through the help of our countless partner vendors. It’s an awesome way to keep your mind off catering and onto other aspects of sweet 16 planning!
2-4 months in advance: DIY your decorations
It’s not a party without some decorations, and decorative touches are even more fun when they’re handmade! Hit up Pinterest a few months before party time and start gathering ideas on how to decorate your party venue. Your daughter can make them herself with her friends, or you can craft your chosen projects together for a fun bonding experience before her big day.
1-3 months in advance: order the cake
It’s not a party without dessert! And ordering a custom cake takes time. Depending on how complex your order is, most bakeries want at least a month’s notice before they whip up a delicious concoction with gorgeous decorations and decadent flavors.
Is the birthday girl not a fan of cake? No problem! Non-cake desserts are super trendy right now. Place an order for a donut tower at your local donut shop. Or put together a DIY sundae bar where guests can concoct their own ice cream treats! Cookies, pie, brownies, or whatever else the birthday girl prefers, it’s all on the menu!
1-3 months in advance: send out invitations
After you’ve got all the major elements of your sweet 16 lined up, it’s time to start sending out RSVPs! Editing apps like Canva or Minted have tons of unique invitation templates that are easy to customize. Designing custom invitations can also be a fun way for your daughter to put her unique stamp on the party!
Once you’ve settled on a gorgeous design, you can print them up and send them out via snail mail or have your daughter hand them out to her friends in person. Remember that online e-vites are totally valid if you want to avoid the cost of physically printing up invitations. Most teens prefer to keep everything purely digital anyways!
We hope this has cleared up your questions on how long it takes to plan a sweet 16! No matter how much time you spend making your daughter’s day amazing, remember that seeing her happy will make it all worthwhile.
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