Sweet 16 Expert Answers

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Expert Answers To Your Sweet 16 Questions

An e-Booklet from Ira’s Peripheral Visions
Written by Karen Shapiro
07/08 Version 002

A Note From the Author:

    In 2000, Karen Shapiro and her husband Ira took their Greeting Card business into the world of Custom Invitations.  From the very beginning, they developed a huge  following amongst Sweet 16 girls and  their parents.   As the years went by, their children each passed their 16th birthdays and spent years on the local Sweet 16 circuit.

    While taking orders for her Custom Invitation business, Karen has had the opportunity to speak to hundreds, if not thousands of Sweet 16 parents. She now believes  that  she’s heard every horror  story and every wonderful memory that ever transpired at a Sweet 16.

    She is not a party planner or an etiquette expert.  She’s just a business woman and a mother of teenagers who has spent 8 years immersed in the world of Sweet 16s.   Her goal in writing this booklet is to pass these stories on to you, along with a little bit of practical common sense advice, in hopes of making the way smoother while you plan and celebrate your Sweet 16.

Table of Contents

1.  Why Have A Sweet 16?
2.  Planning Ahead: Setting a Budget and Choosing a Theme
3.  The Guest List and The Invitations
4.  Structuring the Party – Sweet 16 Rituals
5.  How to Throw a Party on a Shoestring Budget
6.  Alternatives to the Big Party
7.  The Sweet 16 Girl Gives Back – Parting Thoughts

Chapter One – Why Have A Sweet 16?

    There are girls who wait all their young lives for that magical day when they finally reach their 16th Birthday.  In our culture, this birthday seems to mark the girl’s transition into womanhood.  Though most girls are ill prepared to handle the responsibilities of womanhood at the age of 16, many are eager to receive the new privileges, like permission to wear make up, or to date, or to have a later curfew, or to drive a car.

    Many dream of the fabulous party that will accompany this milestone. They’ve spent their childhood’s sighing over tiaras, admiring ball gowns with puffy floor length skirts made of tulle, and dreaming of being pampered and styled at the salon.  For just this one night, they will be able to play the part of the princess at their own fantasy ball.

    What teenage girl wouldn’t want that?

      As the mother of a teenage daughter, I strongly advocate celebrating a Sweet 16.  The occasion is so much more than luxuriating in the trappings of dressing up and partying and posing for the camera.  Like the Quinceanera in the Latino tradition, the Bat Mitzvah in the Jewish tradition, or the Debutante Ball in high society, the Sweet 16 gives you an opportunity to present your Sweet 16 Girl to your friends and family as someone who is ready to take on some mantle of responsibility as a participant in her family and community. Childhood is slowly fading away and the woman within the Sweet 16 Girl is beginning to emerge.

    That’s a beautiful aspect of the celebration to keep in mind, especially as  the  girl’s  imagination  is  running wild with  ideas  for  celebrating  the  big event.   As she dreams of her party, remind yourself  that her  transition  into womanhood has begun.  Imagine how wonderful it will be to have her friends and family come together to mark this milestone with her.

    If  you’re  hesitating  to  throw  a  party  due  to  financial  strains,  I’d  still advocate having a scaled down party.  Because my daughter had previously become  a  Bat Mitzvah  at  age  13,  complete with  an  expensive  reception attended  by 100  guests, my  family decided  against  throwing  her a  lavish Sweet 16 only three years later.  We wound up staging a small surprise party in our home  for only 12 guests.   Our budget was  less  than $200.   With a little bit of research and a little imagination, we put together a beautiful party. When it was said and done, our daughter thanked us profusely and told us that  it was  one  of  the most memorable  parties  she’d  ever  attended.   For more information, see Chapter 5, How to Throw a Party on a Shoestring Budget.

    Finally, the most important reason to have a Sweet 16 is this:

    Life will bring each one of us more than our fair share of sorrow.  We’ll be given more  than enough opportunities  to gather with  friends and  family to mark sad events, illnesses and funerals.  That’s why I believe it’s crucially important to embrace the happy turning points in life.

    As  the  stress  of  the  approaching  Sweet  16  date  begins  to mount, whether you’re having a huge lavish affair or a house party on a tiny budget, focus on the fact that life has given you a wonderful moment to celebrate.  Do everything that you can to enjoy the excitement.  Take a moment to appreciate how beautiful the Sweet 16 girl looks in her dress, how wonderful it is to be surrounded by  friends and  family, and how much  fun  it  is  to dance and be entertained.

    A girl’s 16th year can also be a time of great pressure.  The Junior Year of High School  can bring along what  seems  like an unending parade of big challenges  to  face and big decisions  to make.   Some girls are  taking  their first AP classes and struggling with the work load.  Some may have had their first heartache from breaking up with a boy.  Some may feel pressure to excel on their SATs, while their scores come up to be less than spectacular.  Every last  teenage girl  I’ve ever met  is way over scheduled with extra curricular activities.   Here  in New York City, many High School  Juniors  also  face  a battery of Regents exams, the results of which could profoundly affect their GPAs.   The whole subject of looking ahead to college brings so many new and difficult decisions with it, and some girls find themselves so overwhelmed that they don’t even want to discuss it.

    As a result, a parent may find her daughter opening a fresh mouth at home, slacking off at school, or shutting down completely.  The parent may find the daughter’s behavior to be exasperating.  If this is happening in your home, remind yourself that the girl only does this at home because it’s her only outlet  for  letting off steam while she attempts  to cope with  these new pressures.    If her behavior pushes you over  the  limit, please do not even consider using deprivation of the Sweet 16 Party as a weapon with which to punish her.  She’s growing up and will quickly learn how to play the cards that life deals her.

    Be happy with your beautiful Sweet 16 Girl, be proud of how far she’s come,  and  treasure  your  fondest  dreams  of where  life will  take  her  from here.

Next Chapter 2:  Planning Ahead: Setting a Budget and Choosing a Theme


Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party Invitations from Ira’s Peripheral VisionsSweet 16 Invitations

We offer a unique line of Sweet 16 Party Invitations. We will customize the text specifically for your special occasion. Choose from the designs shown below or you may choose any design from our other collections. The Basic Invitation Package includes personalized invitations and envelopes printed with your return address.
We also offer other Sweet 16 Invitation Packages including personalized invitation, coordinated response card and envelopes.  We will personalize and address all envelopes.
You will have the opportunity to view an on line proof before we go to print.
Coordinated reception cards, map details, direction cards, programs, pamphlets and thank you cards are also available.  Call toll free 888-286-0365 for further information.
Click on thumbnails to see larger image.
See sample Sweet 16 Invitation Verses, Wording.
See sample Sweet 16 Thank You Card Verses, Wording.
You may place your order online or by calling us toll free at 888-286-0365
When you place your order, please have the following information ready.  Here’s how you can get the best photograph of your Sweet 16 Girl, so that we can make the best quality print on your invitation.


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