How big is your budget?
What are prepared to spend per guest?
If the first draft of your guest list comes up to be much longer than your budget will allow, I’d advise that you do what you can to maintain the larger guest list, while stepping down the price per guest. Most of your guests will be happy just to be attending the party, and they may never even notice where you’ve economized. This is preferable to having a party for a few select guests who are going to be lavished with an expensive meal and luxurious favors that they may never even appreciate. I have said it throughout the booklet, but it bears repeating. Life will send every one of us more than our fill of sad or troubling events. If you are planning a Sweet 16, your family is looking forward to a very happy milestone. I feel that it’s important and very rewarding to share the happiness of this moment with as many people as your budget will allow.
I believe that it’s best to have one big party with teens, family, guests, and children together. Middle aged and elderly guests may complain about the noise and antics of the teenagers, but I’m sure that they’d be thrilled to see the Sweet 16 girl in her gown, and to see her celebrating with all of her friends, and to experience the electricity in the room. Most halls have lounges or outdoor spaces where adult guests may be able to retreat if the excitement becomes overwhelming. I feel that these are better options to offer, rather than hosting a separate subdued “adults only” party.
Make sure that the party is structured to accommodate all your guests. Because it is a party commemorating an event in a teenage life, the activities should favor the teenagers. But be courteous of the adults and elderly, who may be sensitive to loud music. And it’s always a good idea to keep the youngest guests entertained with games on the dance floor, like “Steal the Bacon” or “Coke and Pepsi”. They may also enjoy being given coloring books and small boxes of crayons with which they can pass the time.
The Two Tiered Guest List:
A two tiered guest list contains a top tier of “first choice” guests who will receive the first round of invitations, and a second tier of possible guests to invite should too many from the top tier decline the invitation.
Regarding having this type of a guest list, my advice is this: Don’t do it. I am no etiquette expert, but based upon personal experience, I can assure you that guests who find themselves on the second tier can’t help but feel insulted. No one wants to feel that they were your second choice. Either you invite a guest or you don’t. I’d advise against creating a hierarchy on your invitation list.