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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
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
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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