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Sweet 16 Party

The Sweet Life Party Sweet 16




Rhea in Dover, PA USA


January 2008


Honorable Mention

My daughter LeAnna has been looking forward to her sweet 16 party for years, and I love planning parties, so doing this for my daughter has been a blast. Depending on your perspective this party may seem expensive, but there are many ideas here that are simple and inexpensive. We selected our theme very early which allowed us a lot of time to be creative and do things ourselves. We selected a candy theme for her February 16th party-The Sweet Life, but we didn't want it to be like the others we had seen, and it won't!

We couldn't find invitations we liked, but we found a box of 200 note cards and 200 envelopes in 8 colors for $10 at Target! We printed the invitations ourselves and for those we were giving out by hand, we glued a strip of candy buttons to the envelope so our guests would know the theme. The total for the invitatins including the candy and ink was less than $40 for about 120 invitations and exactly what we wanted!

The party room we rented ($300)will be decorated like a sophisticated Candy Land. We made oversized candy sticks by attaching two wrapping paper tubes end to end (saved from Christmas wrap), then priming each using leftover primer,spray painting them in candy colors (paint was $1 per can), and creating candy stripes with colored masking tape and curling ribbon.Garlands were made using small paper plates stapled together over fishing line and covered with solid colored cellophane twisted at the ends to look like candies. I puchased eight citronella candles at the end of the summer- the tall twisty kind on bamboo poles in pink blue light green and purple. They already looked like candy and were only $1 each on sale.

I painted the bamboo white and created stripes on these with different colors of curling ribbon secured with straight pins in the wax-they look like the giant unicorn pops you get at the circus! Instead of regular balloons, we'll use punch balloons (100 assorted colors for $20 at orientaltrading.com)remove the rubber band, fill with regular air and tape the ends flat. Then we'll suspend some from the ceiling over the tables, and put the rest on the floor. They are perfectly round  and look like gumballs, and we'll save on helium. Plus,we'll insert 25 flashing LED balloon lights (windycitynovlties.com) in some of the balloons- what an effect when the dancing starts!

The tables will be covered in white cloths. The centerpeices will be 8 inch gumball machines found at the dollar store filled with gumballs and goodie bags will be set at each place.For goodie bags I used 3x6 brown paper bags you would find at old fashioned candy stores-100 for $10. I made a cuff at the top of each one, punched a hole in the corner and put 4 strands of curling ribbon through it- simple and elegant. Inside the bag will be a bottle of fruit scented bubbles, a glow necklace and bracelet (3 for $1 and 4 for $1 repectively- dollar store last summer). The bubbles are to be used during my daughters entrance and the glow jewelry is for dancing. The glow from the bags will realy make a statement on the tables though. Later guests can fill their bags from candies at the candy bar after her candle lighting ceremony.

The party will begin with a cocktail hour- guests will arrive to enjoy a taco bar sign the guest board, take pictures and mingle while the DJ plays sweet" songs in the background: "Candy Girl"-New Edition "Candy Rain" Soul for Real "Sugar Mama"-Beyonce "Candy" Cameo "Sweet Escape"-Gwen Stephani and others. The party will officially begin wth a powerpoint montage of pictures of LeAnna growing up set to "Isn't She Lovely" Stevie Wonder (early years) and "Video"-India.Arie (later years).

Her entrance will be to "I Love Your Smile"-Shanice(this song was a hit in 1992-the year she was born). Each of the eight candies and candles at the candy bar symbolizes something important- candy canes (Faith) belgian chocolate coins (Future wealth and sharing) now and laters (Friends now and the future) ring pops (Beauty and Feminity)red black and green licorice (Heritage)whistle pops (Music-she plays the flute) jawbreakers (Hard Times and Perseverence) and Smarties (Intelligence and Education).

She will say something and recognize important people as each candle is lit. After a toast (soda in a rainbow of flavors and colors) its time to jam! We'll serve a variety of sub sandwiches and later bring out the cake and sing Happy Birthday. There will be plenty of adult supervision grandparents aunts adult neighbors and the party is dress to impress.

The total for this party is less than $2500 which includes cake $300; DJ $400; caterer $700-1000; party room $300; candy invitations and decorations $300; birthday girls dress $150. I did my homework; searching the internet buying items on the internet; getting candies on sale after Christmas and Halloweenand made many of the items myself. But it was a labor of love that I'm sure will result in a night we both remember."

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