Sweet 16 Party Ideas

Sweet 16 party ideas like the ones shown on the reality TV show "My Super Sweet 16" are really cool, but unless you are blessed with a six-figure budget for your party, you can forget about it, right?  Wrong!  You can still have a super cool sweet sixteen birthday party without the high price tag!

When thinking of sweet 16 party ideas for my twin daughter's, we considered many different options and venues.  Since the party was for two, the costs  go up...you know, double the fun!  We were working with a limited budget, so we chose to have the party at our home...actually, in our back yard.

 At-home parties are the best way to get the most bang for your party buck.  If you can afford to rent out a banquet hall or some other facility, that's great. If not, have no worries!  We give you sweet 16 party ideas for decorations, invitations, food ideas, cakes, favors, centerpieces, and more...and all the ideas are easy on the budget, too.

Click on the links below to take you directly to ideas for specific sweet sixteen decorations:

Read about our Starry Night Themed Party

Sweet 16 Party Ideas - Invitations

Sweet16 Party Ideas - Favors

Sweet 16 Party Ideas - Gift Ideas

Our Sweet Sixteen Decorations

We called the theme of our party Starry Nights.  We used star shapes throughout, and it was held in the evening outside under the stars.

Here are some of the sweet 16 birthday party ideas we used, along with a few photos taken at the party:

The photo above shows how we decorated our backyard for the party. The colors we chose were black, white, and pink with silver accents.

For the seating we talked to a few neighbors and a local golf club, and we were able to borrow some of the tables and the black fabric chairs for free!  Borrowing items means more cash in your pocket for other things you may want. Be sure to take special care of the items, though, and return them promptly after party, making sure they're clean and in good condition.

We covered the tables with inexpensive white plastic tablecloths.  Then, we covered them with a sheer black fabric overlay, which we purchased on sale at a fabric store. The black fabric had a beautiful rhinestone design in it that really sparkled, along with a sheerness to it that allowed the white to show through. The plastic table covers are cheap and will cover the table and most of the legs. This allows you to purchase smaller pieces of fabric for the tops, saving you money, once again. Other inexpensive fabrics are tulle and netting.  Some contain shimmery threads or small sequins in them for sparkle. If you can't find any, add your own sparkle by sprinkling a few clear stones, glitter, or silver confetti on top of the table.

The photo at left shows you a close up of our sweet 16 centerpieces.  These are really simple to make!  We used an empty coffee can for the container although any can or jar will do.  Then we pulled sheets of white tissue paper up around the can, and secured at top with pink ribbon.  Next, we added pink silk flowers, and some stars.

For the three stars coming out of the top of the centerpiece, we traced and cut them out of heavy paper.  Two from white paper and one from black. Silver glitter was glued onto the two white stars. We decorated the black star using a silver metallic paint pen. As you can see in photo, we wrote “Sweet 16” and outlined the star shape, but you can write whatever you want.  Finally, we attached floral wire (with glue gun) and inserted the stars into  the floral arrangement.

That's it!  Easy and cheap to make.

To finish the look of the tables we placed additional wood stars, that we purchased at a craft store & decorated with glitter, directly onto the tables and around the centerpieces.

Our sweet 16 party ideas for food included several different homemade Italian dishes, salad, garlic bread, etc. served buffet style.  Once everyone finished eating dinner we converted the table into a small dessert buffet. It included a star shaped sweet 16 birthday cake surrounded by pink flowers, a chocolate lollipop centerpiece, decorated cupcakes, bowls of candies and a few other sweet items. 

For more yummy sweet 16 party ideas for food go to edible centerpieces to see how to make plenty of fun edibles for your party, like lollipop centerpieces, cookies-on-a-stick, rice crispy treats, brownie bites, and more! 

You'll also find alternatives for sweet sixteen cakes…such as cupcake bouquet, cake pops, cheesecake pops & brownie bites. Yummy! Or, make them for your dessert buffet in addition to your sweet sixteen cake!  You can never have too many sweets!

More Sweet Sixteen Decorations
& Ideas

Here are more sweet 16 party ideas that we used for my daughter's birthday.  Feel free to adapt them to suit your party!

Bubbles:  We decorated small bottles of wedding bubbles like the ones shown below, using silver and gold metallic paint pens.  We wrote the number "16" and drew gold & silver stars on them. Guests received a bottle upon arrival. It was a fun way for them to laugh and interact with each other while waiting for the rest of guests to arrive.  We also purchased a small inexpensive bubble machine, which blew bubbles across the dance floor (our patio) while they danced. It was an inexpensive decoration that created a really cool and fun effect that everyone enjoyed.

I like the fact that these bubble bottles are transparent so you can write on them or decorate them however you want.  Gluing a silk flower to the top of the cap is another really cute idea for decorating them.  I did that for my daughter's wedding:

Transparent Party Bubble Bottles

Transparent Party Bubble Bottles

Welcome Munchies:  In addition to receiving bottles of bubbles, guests were given glasses of an ice cream punch and enjoyed a buffet of appetizers and munchies.

Candles:  Since we had a star theme, we drew stars with paint pens and the number "16" on some clear glass jar candle holders.  You can see two of them on the dessert table in photo above

For additional ambience after the sun set, we added candles to the tables and lit tiki torches, which were surrounded by some existing potted plants that we had around the patio (aka...our dance floor).


MemoriesFor a memorable flashback we hung a couple of 8" x 10" baby photos of the birthday girl's on the wall. 


Music:  We asked my son's friend to DJ at the party. Fortunately for us, he had some decent equipment as well as a bit of experience working the wedding circuit. I did pay him a small fee, but if you don’t want to pay someone consider asking a friend or neighbor to do it for you. If all else fails, you can always use recorded music, or even an Ipod with a good speaker.

NOTE: Be sure to check any local laws, ordinances, or permit requirements for amplified noise in your neighborhood. To avoid complaints, I went to each home nearby to let my neighbors know about the event. We told them the music would be turned off no later than 10:00 p.m.  I then handed them a paper with my contact information (with the hope that they'd contact me first, before any police if they experienced a problem). Everyone appreciated the advanced notice  and I think it went a long way in maintaining good neighbor relations. The party was a huge success, and no one complained. Yay!

Here's a  great sweet 16 party idea! This convenient kit contains just about everything you'll need except the food...

Super Stylish Sweet 16 Deluxe Kit-N-Kaboodle Super Stylish 16 Deluxe Kit-N-Kaboodle Kit

Super Stylish Sweet 16 Deluxe Kit-N-Kaboodle Super Stylish 16 Deluxe Kit-N-Kaboodle Kit

Our Super Stylish Sweet 16 Deluxe Kit-N-Kaboodle features trendy patterns of zebra and swiss dot in colors of pinks, black, and white. Use our Super Stylish Sweet 16 party supplies to throw the most unforgettable sweet 16 party! The Super Stylish Sweet 16 Deluxe Kit-N-Kabooodle includes: Dinner Plates (8) Luncheon Napkins (16) 9 Ounce Cups (8) Thank You Notes (8 each) Hot Pink Plastic Cutlery (set of 8) Light Pink 54 inch wide x 108 inch long Plastic Table Cover Hot Pink Bright Tone and Black Deep Tone 11 inch Latex Balloons (12 each) 66 feet White Curling Ribbon (1) 10 inch wide x 30 inch long Attach N' Go Banner Super Stylish 18 inch Mylar Balloon (1) Birthday Candles (pkg 24) 81 feet White Crepe Streamer 81 feet Hot Pink Crepe Streamer

Sweet 16 Party Ideas...


Your sweet sixteen invitations should go with the theme of your party.  Find a large selection wherever birthday party invitations are sold or online.

You might like some of these...

Super Stylish Sweet 16 Invitations Pkg/8

Super Stylish Sweet 16 Invitations Pkg/8

You can also make your own homemade sweet 16 invitations...

Recycle cards, gift bags, or papers such as heavy wrapping paper, scrap book paper, cardboard, old greeting cards or anything else that can be made into a flat or folded invite.  Scrap book papers come in so many fun prints, patterns and colors, that you’re bound to find several that you’ll like.  You can also find lots of really cute stick on themed accessories in the scrap book section of craft stores.  Look for sweet 16 or general birthday themes.

Another homemade sweet 16 invitation idea is to use one or more photos printed onto a postcard size piece of photo paper.  Write the party details on back, add stamp, and mail.

For some “out-of-the-box” sweet sixteen invitation ideas consider these unique invitations... 

Write, print labels, or attach a tag that provides the details of your party on the back or front of a variety of items.  Some examples of items are:

  • T-shirts with a 16 painted on it using fabric paint
  • Cookie tins filled with decorated cookies
  • An individually wrapped cake pop
  • A jar of something related to your party theme such as a bath scrub for a spa party.

Hand them out for a unique and fun way to invite guests to your party!

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Sweet 16 Party Ideas...


Handing out sweet sixteen party favors is a way to thank your guests for coming to your party. Usually given at the end of the party, the favor could be a simple treat or a special personalized keepsake.  Party favors should never take the place of a proper thank you note though!

Here are a few cute sweet 16 party ideas for favors:

I love these adorable little candy jars!  Fill them with gumballs, candy, or mints and hand out as favors..

Sweet Sixteen Stock Candy Jar

Sweet Sixteen Stock Candy Jar

Sweet 16 Party Ideas...
Gift Ideas

Need sweet sixteen gift ideas?  Consider something beautiful you can personalize like a beautiful piece of engraved jewelry, or maybe a key chain to go with that new driver’s license.  I've purchased quite a few products myself from here and have been very happy with the quality and value.  Take a look for yourself here:

Personalized Jewelry

 If you want to give a fun and unique gift, then you must check out the awesome stuff at...

No license yet?  Give the gift of a driver’s license by signing them up for it online! 

State-Approved Online Drivers Ed

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