Event Planning, Tips

Unexpected Sweet Sixteen Costs That You Need to Plan For

November 4, 2015

A sweet sixteen for your daughter can cost just as much as her wedding, and just like a wedding, there are unexpected costs which you never expected – let alone budgeted for. Even inexpensive sweet sixteen parties typically cost $5,000. You don’t even want to know the number for the bigger parties… But  I’ll tell you anyway: $25,000.

Typical Sweet Sixteen Costs:

As a sort of disclaimer, these prices listed are obviously generalizations and you may need to pay more or less depending on your region. A few things to also keep in mind are the fact that no two sweet sixteens are the same. One may be a simple sleepover while another is similar to a wedding and takes place in a huge ballroom. Sweet sixteens also vary hugely in the number of guests invited. Because of all the different variables, no two sweet sixteens will cost the same, but  we will try to give the best approximation of costs as possible.

The Big Three

The three biggest sweet sixteen costs are what we like to call “The Big Three”. These will account for the majority of your budget and are the costs that everyone knows about and expects.

  1. The Dress – This won’t be the most expensive, and depending on your party it may not even be a big cost at all, but it is one of the big three because your daughters sweet sixteen dress can cost you anywhere from $75 to $2,000. After checking on a few online websites, the average dresses appear to be going for $300, but remember that after the price of the dress, you may also need to pay for fittings.
  2. Food and Drinks – This number varies hugely based on the number of guests, but expect to pay $2,000 on average for a 50-100 person party. (This includes snacks, a meal, drinks, and the cake)
  3. The Venue – This can be free if you choose to throw the sweet sixteen at your house, but many opt for a sweet sixteen venue due to the convenience and unique experience which they are able to provide. Prices vary widely depending on your location, the venue you choose, and the number of guests so it’s almost impossible to put a number on this. Venues in my area offer 4 hour rentals for $900 so we will use that number.

The Little Things

Along with the big expenses mentioned above, there are several smaller expenses which add up. When you add these prices together, they can really take a toll on your budget.

  • A Professional DJ – This typically costs $100 to $300 per hour. (A DJ may offer a package deal or discount, but if you’re budgeting for a DJ plan to budget at least $500.
  • Party Decorations – Expect to pay $200 for decorations.
  • Party Lights – Renting lights may set you back $200 as well.

The Unexpected Sweet Sixteen Costs

Here’s what you all have been reading this for so let’s jump right into it:

  • Party Favors – Expect to pay $3 per guest for party favors…. This may not seem like a lot but it adds up quickly. It can quickly climb to close to $300 for the average sweet sixteen.
  • Invitations – Just like party favors, these are deceptive. They cost as little as $1 per guest, but depending on the style of invitation and how many people are invited you can expect to pay a couple hundred. Ouch!
  • Make up and Hair – The birthday girl is going to want to get her hair and make up done. Artists may charge $200 to do this, but the truly unexpected cost comes when she needs to do a trial run of her hair and makeup before. Depending on how many trial sessions she attends you could be looking at an additional $200. Some places offer discounted trial prices as low as $60, but that’s still quite a bit of money!

The Total Cost of a Sweet Sixteen

So how much does a sweet sixteen cost in total? With the example prices provided here it comes up to $4,500. That’s a lot of money, but there is a way to cut down on that price and save some money.

How to Save Money on Your Sweet Sixteen

One of the best money saving techniques is to book a venue which provides all of the extras. There are many sweet sixteen venues which offer package deals and include the decorations,  food, and lighting. The easiest way to find, price and book a sweet sixteen venue is by using VenueCenter. Start searching for sweet sixteen venues in Dallas, Austin and Houston now!

Find the perfect Sweet Sixteen venue now!

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