By the PartySpot
Begin envisioning your daughter’s Sweet Sixteen — formal hotel or country club? Casual at-home get-together? Need help getting started? We got you covered.
Decide on a budget.
Pick your preferences for a Sweet Sixteen date and time, and finalize after okaying with important guests and location. Read on for more planning tips and tricks.
Begin interviewing party planners (if you’ll have one) and/or start asking family and friends for local Sweet Sixteen vendor recommendations.
10 to 12 Months
Start interviewing caterers.
Scout out Sweet Sixteen sites.
Book your Sweet Sixteen site as soon as you see something you love that’s available on your date.
Get organized! Start a notebook/file folder to house all your Sweet Sixteen-planning paperwork in one place.
Begin working on a preliminary Sweet Sixteen guest list and decide on your Sweet Sixteen’s approximate size.
Hire a party planner (if you’re having one) and sign a contract.
Choose a color scheme or your Sweet Sixteen’s style, if you so desire, taking into account the decor of the rooms/areas you have reserved for your celebration.
Decide on a caterer. Hash out a rough price per head and begin working on a menu.
Finalize the guest list.
Start auditioning Sweet Sixteen bands or DJs.
Set up appointments with various florists to discuss options.
Interview and get price lists from several photographers and videographers.
Book reception band or DJ, sign the contract, and send a deposit.
6 to 8 Months
Begin looking for a baker to make your Sweet Sixteen cake. Your caterer is the best source for leads.
Reserve photographer and/or videographer, decide on a package, sign contract, and send deposit.
Choose your florist and send a deposit to reserve their services.
If you and your child are ordering a dress (especially one that’ll require tailoring), start shopping now. Order as much in advance as possible to leave time for last-minute alterations.
Book a baker, choose your Sweet Sixteen cake design, and send a deposit.
Finalize menu and service details with caterer.
Order your Sweet Sixteen invitations and announcements (don’t forget plenty of extra envelopes).
4 to 6 Months
Decide on a floral scheme, choose flowers, and negotiate prices with florist. Be sure to sign a contract outlining what you agreed upon.
Start thinking about ways to decorate, if you haven’t already.
Reserve tables, chairs, and/or other rental equipment you’ll need (unless caterer or site is taking care of it).
3 Months Before
Make or buy favors. Allow extra time for custom-made favors (i.e., chocolates in a preprinted box). .
Pick up your invitations.
Start addressing invitations or drop them off with the calligrapher (you’ll need to send them out at the two-month mark).
Send out invitations (be sure to add extra postage for overseas guests).
2 Months Before
Arrange parking for the Sweet Sixteen, if needed.
Order liquor, wine and/or champagne if they’re not included in the catering contract.
Arrange for a special entertainment, like dancers, for the Sweet Sixteen, if necessary.
Buy a guest book (and nice pen).
1 Month Before
Work on a list of “must-play” (and “must-not play”) songs for your DJ or band.
If you’ve ordered a dress, pick it up from the store and have your final fittings done.
Get a head start on those thank-you notes (it will feel great to get a batch out before the Sweet Sixteen).
2 Weeks Before
Give final head count to the caterer. Confirm set-up instructions and menu items.
Call location manager and make sure your vendors all have access to the site when they need it.
Confirm head count, delivery time, and location with the baker.
Call guests who haven’t RSVP’d for the Sweet Sixteen. It’s okay to do this, you need a final head count!
Start putting together the seating plan if you’re having a seated meal.
Finalize seating chart. Buy materials for and make place cards (give typed names to the calligrapher if you’re using one).
Confirm delivery locations, times, and final arrangement count with florist.
Prepare your toasts or thanks to friends and family.
Give seating chart to caterer, location manager, or host.
Confirm all final payment amounts with your vendors.
Confirm location, date, and time with videographer.
Confirm location, date, and time with photographer; create your “must-take” photo list.
The Day Before
Get some much-needed sleep — if you can!
Drop off favors, guest book, and pen at the Sweet Sixteen site.
The Day of
Confirm with people who you expect to give/lead toasts at the Sweet Sixteen.
Take a moment to tell your daughter how much you love her.
Relax, smile, and enjoy the day!
After the Sweet Sixteen
Upload your digital photographs onto a photo-sharing website. These will probably be the first photos available since professional proofs can take weeks.
Make sure all vendor bills have been paid in full.
Find out when you can expect your edited Sweet Sixteen video (if you used a videographer).
Within two months of your Sweet Sixteen, set aside some evenings to help your daughter write that stack of thank-you notes.
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