This Sweet 16 Birthday Party Ideas (and Gift Guide) for 2018 is a snapshot of how some teens today choose to celebrate this milestone day with friends.
Several years ago, I wrote a blog post, 16 Sweet 16 Birthday Party Ideas, with ideas for parties that were common at the time. Although the ideas were wonderful, the time was 2014, so I decided to do an updated post based on how my youngest daughter and her friends have trended as far as parties go.
My sweet friend Julie shared these photos of her daughter Elizabeth’s Sweet 16. Elizabeth and two friends had a triple Sweet 16 celebration. The whole grade was invited to a country club venue for food, fellowship and dancing.
The moms of each honoree were mutual hostesses and shared the responsibilities and expenses. I’ve seen several parties done this way, and it is a great idea, especially when the kid have known one another for years as these kids have.
The Sweet 16 parties in my older girls’ day were more formal and structured with activities surrounding a theme. Today’s teens don’t seem to go for this as much; instead, they tend to focus more on gathering and fellowship.
There are myriad ways to throw a Sweet 16~from formal to casual. Below are just a few common parties I’ve seen in 2018.
Popular Sweet 16 Party Places
- Country Club or resort/hotel ballroom. This is the most formal option I’ve seen, and often several girls (with birthdays close together) host together and divide expenses. These parties are more like “events,” with dinner or heavy hors d’oeuvres, a band or D.J. and dancing. In my daughter’s friend group, the whole grade was usually invited so that no one felt left out.
- Homes. This is the most common option that I’ve seen. Most of these parties are casual, with plenty of food and a large outdoor space for kids to congregate. Some host homes choose to hire a DJ as well.
- Restaurants. Many girls opt to have a dinner with friends~sometimes girls sometimes mixed~at a favorite restaurant. In many cases, the birthday girls’ parents foot the bill, but I have also seen similar parties where all the girls paid for themselves (and the organizer paid for the birthday girl). The mom or party organizer brings a cake if allowed by the restaurant.
- Out of Town. Some birthday girls choose a friend or two for a weekend getaway with moms. New York is a popular choice for a Sweet 16 trip, as is the Florida coast.
Popular Sweet 16 Birthday Party Activities
- The constants that I’ve seen in most Sweet 16 parties for modern teens is food, fellowship and picture taking. The kids love dressing for the party and taking pictures all night long.
- Photo Booths are popular for Sweet 16 parties; the kids love getting the instant shots. A photographer who takes pics all night is a good idea. Many college kids can do this for a great price.
- Summer time tends to be far more casual, with BBQ and gathering around the pool or staying outdoors. Some opt to have a party tent and a D.J. for outdoor dancing and fellowship.
Popular Sweet 16 Gift Ideas
- Money is always a great option. Tuck into a nice card or inside a new wallet.
- Gift certificates for stores most teens love include Lululemon, Free People, Sephora, and Starbucks.
- Gift certificates for manicures, pedicures, and spa treatments are always good.
I’ve linked below to some gift ideas for those who prefer buying a wrapping a present. These items are things that my 16-year-old loves (and many of which she has).
If you have any ideas or suggestions for Sweet 16 parties or gifts, please share them in the comments below. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay (Sweet 16 ) savvy!!!