15 going on 16: Your Sweet Sixteen!

When we hear the phrase "15 going on 16", what do we think? Exactly, you got it! The diversity of cultures has allowed us to unite two celebrations from different parts of the world destined to celebrate the growth of the girls of the house. In Latin America, for example, the traditional "Quinceaños" are celebrated while, in North America, we have "Sweet 16".

Sweet 16 is a party that is carried out to celebrate the 16th birthday of a teenager, it is commonly held in countries such as the United States and Canada and, as we have said before, it resembles the celebration of 15 years in Latin America.

Why are “Sweet 16s” important?

In the United States, the birthday of 16 is the mark that teenagers have reached the beginning of adulthood. They are not yet of age but, as soon as they are 16, many boys and girls learn to drive, they can get a job and take on other adult responsibilities. For many people, the 16th birthday is a celebration of femininity and marks the end of a girl's childhood.

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Besides that, it has its social importance. Society and the media often place great importance on a girl's 16th birthday. We can see this fact in many Hollywood movies and thanks to that, girls see their Sweet 16 as something as important as the first dates, dances, graduations and moving from the parents' house.

As we already said, it is a unique experience highly prized by teenagers as it constitutes the passage between adolescence towards adulthood. It is more common in the case of girls, who celebrate with style that they are becoming women.

What about the party?

The event can be casual or formal, depending on the teenager's taste and the theme the birthday person chooses. While the "Quinceaños" have a religious and cultural origin, the Sweet 16 have nothing to do with any religion and can be celebrated by teenagers of both genders, that is to say, boys and girls.

For the organization of this celebration, it is necessary to take into account a lot of details such as the date and the place where the party will be held, the list of guests, among others. In order to make this special party, you have to know what the birthday boy or girl likes and what style or theme he/she wants to reflect with the party, so that it is to their pleasure and total comfort. The essential thing is the choice of the theme of the party and, then, you can adapt the other aspects required to carry it out following its essence.

Most common themes for 16-year parties:

The theme of the party can vary greatly depending on the taste of each person, it may be that you choose a modern and trendy theme, or a beachier or summer theme, or it can even be rocker and punk. It is always recommended to find an ideal balance between the theme and the remaining elements, such as music, to create harmony in the general concept that will be handled at the celebration.

Due to current trends, there are themes that have become the favorites or the most used in the last year, which are:

  • Sweet 16 - Boho or Hippie themed party.

In it, the decoration is done using elements that are more related to nature and is usually carried out in an outdoor place, where guests are in direct contact with the environment. The dress is casual and relaxed.

  • Sweet 16 - Paris themed party.

It is a modern and elegant theme in which a dress code is established for guests based on the use of formal clothes, meals will be dishes related to France and the decorations will be inspired by elements of Paris, including the exceptional Eiffel Tower.

  • Sweet 16 - Bring-a-mask themed party:

It is a party where all guests must use a mask, either purchased or made by them. Having a mask is obligatory and it could follow a specific theme in some cases.

How to organize a Sweet 16 party?

There are many points that must be contemplated, from the centerpieces, the dessert table, the outfit of the birthday boy or girl, to the general decoration of the party, among many other things.

To do, this you can make a list, and cross out the ones you have already made. It could be as follows:

  • Choose the date to celebrate it.

This should be the day of birthday or a date close to it. Evaluate the calendar to choose the perfect day.

  • Make the guest list.

Take into account the capacity of the space where the party will be held and your budget before doing it.

  • Hire the party room or, if you will do it at home, contemplate the space.

It is essential to locate a place that suits the needs you have to make your party.

  • Choose the music

The music must match the theme; it is advisable to vary it very little so as not to clash.

  • Think of a theme for the event and the tones that will decorate.

Create harmony between the elements and the colors to establish a perfect theme.


  • Hire the makeup and hairstyle.

You have to take care of all the details and what is more important than our birthday boy or girl looks like a whole star? For that, you have to schedule the appointment of makeup and hairstyle in advance, having sought references of the styles you are looking for each of them.

  • Define the menu:

The menu may vary a bit depending on the theme of the party or tastes that the person who will celebrate his birthday has. Here, you must include main dishes, pastries, appetizers and desserts.

  • Buy the glasses or cups, cutlery and plates.

This does not have to be boring. There are companies that sell plastic plates that can be adapted to all types of parties and, in addition to being practical, will help you maintain harmony in the decoration.

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Curious fact:

In the celebration of Sweet 16, there is a well-known ritual that relates to the lighting of candles, which is performed as follows:

For this tradition, the boy or girl who is having birthday blows out 16 candles on his/her cake. The special thing in this ritual is the way they light up. The first is lit by parents, the second by brothers or grandparents. The next four are lit by other family members. Candles 7 to 14 are lit by important friends, and number 15 is for a best friend. Finally, candle number 16 is for the important person or with whom he or she have a romantic relationship (if not, it can be lit by the birthday person) and they can also have an optional candle to "light good luck."