Party Venues, Tips

How to Throw a Budget Friendly Sweet 16 Birthday

January 22, 2016

Your son or daughter may be picturing a custom made dress, brand new BMW, exotic animals and 500 of his or her “closest friends”, but you are a sensible parent who’s going to plan this sweet 16 birthday party on a budget.


If you plan properly, and keep track of unexpected sweet sixteen costs, you’ll be able to throw an awesome sweet 16 party.

Honestly Speak with Your Child

Step one is to sit down and have an adult conversation with you child about what you can afford, what his or her vision for the party is, and what you can/will pay for and what you wont. This helps to clear up any confusion and will help your child avoid being disappointed later on.

During this talk you will also want to know what your kid’s priorities are. Ask them to rank these items in order of importance to them:

  • A big guest list
  • Food
  • The venue
  • Music
  • Decorations and lighting (though this could be also considered the venue)

Another Tip! When you’re on a budget, planning a surprise party is usually not a good idea. Giving your child the option to choose their own food, venue, etc. will allow them to choose the things that matter most to them and avoid disappointment.

Plan Your Budget

Planning your budget is a crucial step and one that you should do before you or your child look at stuff for their sweet sixteen. It’s easiest to use an online budgeting tool. This is where you will really begin to see what areas you can splurge on and what areas you need to cut back on.

Tips for Staying Under Budget

Here are a few things you can do to stay under budget:

  • Skip a professional photographer and use single use cameras or just ask people to take pictures with their smartphones and tag them with a hashtag made up for the party.
  • Use Spotify, Itunes, or whatever other music streaming service instead of a DJ.
  • Buffets are cheaper than sit-down dinners.
  • Send invites via email or text. Now a days kids won’t give a second glance. Most invitations will end up thrown out anyway!

Budget Sweet 16 Birthday Themes

If you’re struggling to come up with a theme for the party that’ll fit into your budget, the following themes do well:

  • Hawaiian Luau – Tiki torches, grass skirts, dollar store tropical decorations, Hawaiian shirts, coconuts filled with virgin pina colada, and a good bonfire will make for one heck of a party! Add a pool and you’ve got a great sweet sixteen party for close to nothing.
  • Anything Retro – 20’s, 50’s, 80’s the decade doesn’t matter. What does matter is you can have a killer themed party for very cheap when you get a playlist with all the hits from the decade, themed clothing, and cheap decorations from the decade of your choice.

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