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Throw a Sweet 16 (or Quinceanera) Inspired by The Vampire Diaries

Updated on December 17, 2012
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Hosting a Sweet Sixteen or a Quinceanera can be stressful or blissful depending on how well you know your daughter and what theme you have selected. Other factors to consider include your daughter’s temperament, expectations, and interests. For the sake of this article, we’ll assume that your daughter, like many teenagers and a good chunk of the adult population as well, enjoys vampire-based entertainment, assuming the vampires look more like Damon Salvatore than they do Nosferatu. If this is not the case, you may want to look elsewhere. If you know your daughter to be a seasoned (or rabid) fan of The Vampire Diaries, read on.

Perhaps you’ve already watched the show with her a few times (or every night, as it is oddly addictive) and have already rented birthday tablecloths emblazoned with its logos and characters. If this isn’t the case, don’t worry—for all of its twists and turns, there are only a few things you need to know about The Vampire Diaries.

First, it is a much better show than something called “The Vampire Diaries” has any right to be. It has evolved far past its original premise of a love triangle between a teenage girl and two morally conflicted vampire brothers. At this point, it is more of a love dodecahedron between teenage serial killers and immortal mass murderers. While its characters are hardly role models, the show raises interesting questions about what we would sacrifice for our loved ones, whether love is productive or destructive, the nature of addiction, and the dynamics of agency and morality. Even the most discerning of audiences could see the appeal of a show with this level of ambition and intrigue.

So if you haven’t watched it with your teenage child yet, you should. Not only will you be amazed by the odd interplay of martyrdom and fundraisers; you will also be able to contextualize the alcohol (and blood) consumption for your all-too-impressionable child.

But more importantly, for our purposes, you’ll be able to see that every single character in this show has absolutely impeccable taste, never more so than during one of the various events the residents of Mystic Falls put on. From the tablecloths used at the masquerade banquet to Caroline’s choice of outdoor round tablecloths for the most recent Miss Mystic Falls pageant, these people know how to throw a party. While you can’t compel any of the millionaires in your town to fund your child’s Sweet Sixteen or Quinceanera, you can arrange for a party inspired by some of the more memorable events.

The Masquerade

For an event that began with Katherine routinely paralyzing and murdering an attendee, the Masquerade sure did look like fun. Since you’re doing an “inspired by” event rather than a direct replica, you don’t need to match the décor perfectly. You can look for a tablecloth rental companythat approximates the colors used—primarily burgundies, reds, and gold tones. More important is the feeling of opulence that a gold tablecloth inspires.

Like many of the events in this series, the Masquerade takes place at the Lockwood mansion. All of the Mystic Falls founders are well-off, and as the “ruling family” of sorts, the Lockwoods live in an estate that evokes Southern decadence. Its powder-white walls, varnished antique furniture, classy linen tablecloths, and touches of gold just reek of undeserved opulence. While you don’t want to break the bank on a birthday party, you can still rent golden décor to emulate the décor at the Masquerade, as they will contrast nicely with patterned red tablecloths. You may want to book the event at a venue that resembles the Lockwood mansion as well, assuming such establishments exist in your area.

Next, of course, you’ll have to consider the attire. Masks are essential to the event, but no further costuming is required. The event can serve as a second prom of sorts. Every female resident of Mystic Falls owns countless gowns (from every era, as we’ll discuss shortly), and the men seem to possess every manner of tuxedo and suit. Teenagers generally enjoy the dressy aspect of proms and other events that call for formal attire, so you don’t need to worry about making too many demands on their time and wardrobe. Few are able to wear prom attire more than once, so they may welcome another fun, fancy event, complete with masks and event-inspired linen tablecloths.

For entertainment, a live orchestra would be ideal, but you can also skip that part and hire a DJ. It’s still a party for teenagers, after all.

The Decade Dance

Decade Dances tend to result in a fairly high body count in Mystic Falls (it’s really shocking that the FBI hasn’t shown up yet), but to the teen monsters of The Vampire Diaries, this just seems like an even better reason to dress up. The ‘20s dance was probably the most attractive in terms of costuming (and the most surprising, in that every high school student apparently knew how to shimmy and do the foxtrot). But no matter which decade you decide to focus on (to date, Mystic Falls has done the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘20s), you should make sure your event décor such as chair covers, napkins and linen tablecloths are appropriate to the era and the show.

Flashbacks to the ‘20s show a much classier, cleaner version than our great-grandparents would recount, and the ‘20s dance was, likewise, quite wholesome. Ironically, the era most closely identified with illegal drinking and vice has been whitewashed by a show that rivals Mad Men in terms of alcohol intake per character. Instead of greasy speakeasies full of grain alcohol and shady, cigar-smoking characters, we’re treated to classy halls full of white table cloths and physically perfect guests. And vampires, of course.

To get the ‘20s look, you should focus on art-deco accessories against a base of white. All party tablecloths and linens should be crisply ironed and pristine, so go through a reputable company. Anything that appears modern or plain should be eliminated. Remember, the ‘20s are known as an era of luxury, decadence, and fun, so keep the sparkles and metallic elements.

Tablecloths for events like Decade Dances don’t need to be sparkly, but they’ll look a lot prettier if they are. Add a touch of satin and shimmer—maybe an overlay of sorts—to maintain the illusion of decadence.

As for attire, the boys can wear tuxedos. The girls can add fringe and sequins to turn old dresses into cute flapper-wear worthy of Daisy Buchanan . . . or Rebecca Mikaelson, for that matter. ‘20s fashion has made a big comeback this year, so the girls should have fun shopping for Art Deco headbands and other fun accessories.

The Outdoor Movie Event

The outdoor showing of Gone with the Wind marked a pivotal change in the dynamics of the primary love triangle. More importantly, it looked like one of the more relaxed events—not a gold tablecloth in sight, and for once the men were wearing pullovers rather than tuxedos. Outdoor parties are perfect for summer birthdays. They take advantage of the glorious weather, require less prep time, and while you may need to shell out a premium to rent an outdoor movie screen, at least you won’t need to worry about having the event interrupted by a vampire afflicted with septicemia.

Find large, rectangular tablecloths for guests to sit on—it is a picnic, after all, and nothing says “picnic” like a small party seated on a tablecloth. You may want to place some padding under the party linens to make them more comfortable and to protect them from grass stains. Serve sandwiches and other picnic fare or order a pizza.

Kids can wear whatever they want—another appeal to throwing an outdoor party. Shorts and pants will be more practical, so be sure to tell the girls that they will be seated on tablecloths rather than chairs.

Finally . . . don’t show Gone with the Wind. Say what you will about its content and legacy; it is simply much too long, and unlikely to appeal to any high school student apart from Caroline Forbes. You’d be better off hosting a Lord of the Rings marathon. Instead, you can either play the second season episode of The Vampire Diaries or another movie of your child’s choosing, even if it’s Twilight. Sure, it may make the whole “inspired by” aspect seem moot, but it will actually achieve that which the residents of Mystic Falls want more than anything—a day of normality.

All the banquets, fancy tablecloths, and old money appeal in the world can’t make up for the ongoing drama and despair that plagues the unfortunate characters of The Vampire Diaries. Remind your daughter of this during the planning process should she become nitpicky over the tablecloth rentals or some other party planning decision. It’s her party, but you’re paying for it, so she can be satisfied with whatever she gets.

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