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Sweet Sixteen Ideas | Let the Party Planning Begin

Updated on April 13, 2013

Sweet Sixteen Ideas

My sister called desperately seeking sweet sixteen ideas for my niece's sweet sixteen party. It was going to be a huge family and close friends event held at a family members home. She wanted something different, fun yet grown up. After all, turning 16 is a big deal for a young woman.

So, we put our heads together and came up with a party plan. Décor, cake, food and gifts -- we planned it all and had a blast. Included here are some of the ideas we came up with.

Maybe you can use them too when looking for sweet sixteen ideas for your young lady's party. You decide!

Image: DecoratingforEvents - Mandee

Party Particulars:

Colors: Purple, Silver/Gray, Black & White with a few Hot Pink Accents

Theme: Blingy, Elegant, Sparkling -- a grown up feel

Cake: Stacked like a mini wedding cake

Other: Candy Table for guests

# of Centerpieces: 3

Sweet Sixteen Ideas - Centerpieces - Elegant and Grown Up

Sweet Sixteen Ideas - Centerpiece
Sweet Sixteen Ideas - Centerpiece

My niece was pretty clear about not wanting the disposable, dime-a-dozen centerpieces available at all the party stores. She said they were a bit juvenile. Okay...

So, instead, my sister and I looked around our respective homes and made a list of items we could use as possible "grown up" style centerpieces. We tried them out and figured out what we were still missing and made a shopping list.

Of course, we also found some great centerpieces while shopping so our list changed a bit in the process but I think we came up with some simple but elegant ideas that would pass muster with my niece.

We only needed 3 centerpieces and all were different. It's a fallacy to think centerpieces have to be exactly the same. As long as they support the theme, color scheme or overall feel you are looking to create (like "elegant") they will work great!

Image: DecoratingforEvents - Mandee

Crystal Drop Trio Votive Holder - Sweet Sixteen Ideas - Centerpieces

Gifts & Decor Crystal Drop Votive Candle Holder Wedding Centerpiece
Gifts & Decor Crystal Drop Votive Candle Holder Wedding Centerpiece

We didn't need a lot of centerpieces because the beautiful basement rec room we were using was set up as a living, dining and bar area.

We needed only 2 centerpieces for the eating/game table and one for a pub table. So we decided to use two really nice centerpieces. This is a gorgeous option!

 

Crystal Drop Votive Holders, set of 2 - Sweet Sixteen Ideas - Centerpieces

Gifts & Decor Crystal Drop Votive Stands Wrought Iron Candleholder
Gifts & Decor Crystal Drop Votive Stands Wrought Iron Candleholder

The long dining/game table needed a bit more. We used votive holders on either end and then a set of tall votive holders in the center. The look was perfect for a grown up party!

 

Mini Chandelier Style Crystal Drop Centerpiece - Sweet Sixteen Ideas

Gifts & Decor Mini Chandelier Hanging Metal Glass Votive Candle Stand
Gifts & Decor Mini Chandelier Hanging Metal Glass Votive Candle Stand

This is another great option as a centerpiece. It's affordable as well as beautiful.

My sister insisted that whatever we bought had to be able to be used in her daughter's room or in her home after the party. She didn't want a throw away or something that would be stored in the attic.

 

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Party Tip:

Choose a color scheme or centerpieces for your party that will match her room. After the party, she can use the centerpiece as decor in her room.

Otherwise, use neutral colors like silver, black, white or gold for the centerpieces so you can use them somewhere in your home after the party. It's a win-win!

Tealight Candle Holders to Accent the Centerpiece on Long Tables - Details make it Perfect!

Shannon by Godinger Lotus Crystal Votive Pair Candle Holders, Set of 2
Shannon by Godinger Lotus Crystal Votive Pair Candle Holders, Set of 2

A set of two shorter tealight holders are a great way to accent on either side of a taller or multi-piece centerpiece.

We actually used two purple flower shaped tealight holders but this gorgeous clear glass set of holders would look just and nice!

 

Add Some Bling with Diamond Shaped Crystal Confetti - Sweet Sixteen Ideas -- Table Diamonds

Clear Diamond Confetti Sprinkles - 1 carat size
Clear Diamond Confetti Sprinkles - 1 carat size

To get that grown up feel my niece wanted, we used table gems sprinkled around the 2 guest tables, buffet table, cake table and candy table. They really played off the lights and candle light -- flickering prisms everywhere.

My niece said that was the perfect bling!

 

Mix Appropriate Colored Diamond Shaped Confetti - Sweet Sixteen Ideas for Her Party

Femitu Purple Diamond Confetti Table Decorations 5000 Pcs 4.5mm for Wedding Bridal Shower Party
Femitu Purple Diamond Confetti Table Decorations 5000 Pcs 4.5mm for Wedding Bridal Shower Party

Since purple is one of her favorite colors, we mixed the clear diamond style table gems with the purple colored ones too.

This gave depth, color and texture to the overall design.

 

Decorative Mesh as Table Runner - Sweet Sixteen Ideas -- Decorating

Sweet Sixteen Ideas - 2
Sweet Sixteen Ideas - 2

We used the decorative mess on the tables as a runner. The long table had it running the length of the table. For the square table pictured above, we changed it up by having the mesh run diagonal. Then we placed a clear vase with decorative acrylic crystals on top along with scattered diamond shaped confetti.

A small tea light candle burned in the round vase. A purple tissue pom hug from the light fixture over the table. (Up high enough that we didn't have to worry about heat or flame from the candle.)

Image: DecoratingforEvents - Mandee

Decorative Mesh with Metallic Accents - Wonderful Sweet Sixteen Idea for Decorating

Decorative Floral Mesh 21 inches x 30 ft Purple
Decorative Floral Mesh 21 inches x 30 ft Purple

I LOVE decorative mesh. I found it a while back and have used it for quite a few applications. For my niece's party, we covered the tables in black and used the mess as a runner. Simple but very elegant finished tables!

 

Sweet Sixteen Ideas - Cake

Sweet Sixteen Ideas - Cake
Sweet Sixteen Ideas - Cake

This is the first stacked cake I ever made. I'm still not sure how I got roped into making it but it was delicious. My niece wanted cherry chip cake with cherry frosting. I made the cake from Betty Crocker Cherry Chip mixes and then made homemade butter cream frosting using cherry and butter extract in place of the traditional vanilla.

She loves cupcakes too, so instead of a small top tier, I added a jumbo cupcake with a backdrop of ostrich feathers. The table had scattered diamond shaped confetti in clear and purple and I got her the "high heel" cake server. It was a big hit!

Image: DecoratingforEvents - Mandee

Sweet Sixteen Ideas - High Heel Cake Server - Fashionistas Love This!

High Heel Cake Server Sweet and Sassy Heel Wild Eye Designs
High Heel Cake Server Sweet and Sassy Heel Wild Eye Designs

I made the cake for my niece and then found this awesome, perfect cake server I knew would be loved by my niece. She has it sitting on her desk in her room now but it was the perfect complement to the cake table too!

The heel is magnetic. Just remove it prior to serving the cake.

 

Sweet Sixteen Ideas - Candy Table - Your Guests Will Love It!

Sweet Sixteen Ideas - Candy Table
Sweet Sixteen Ideas - Candy Table

The candy table was done by a couple of other family members as a gift for my niece. She loved it! They did an excellent job by varying heights of the different vases. They also made sure the main candle in the center of the table was enclosed -- no chance to get burned by flame or hot wax.

Using all the same colored vases or candy containers lets the décor and candy be the main attraction. They used all clear containers here but all white, black or any other color works well too!

Image: DecoratingforEvents - Mandee

Treat Bags for the Candy Table - Sweet Sixteen Ideas

Hot Pink Dot Treat Bags (20 count)
Hot Pink Dot Treat Bags (20 count)

Coordinate your treat bags with your color scheme. That's what we did. Then they become a part of the decor as well as a utilitarian container for guests as they peruse the candy table for their take home treats!

 

Candy Vases for the Candy Table - Sweet Sixteen Ideas

Candles4Less - Bulk 6 Pieces 6 inch Clear Glass Square Vases
Candles4Less - Bulk 6 Pieces 6 inch Clear Glass Square Vases

Clear glass containers are my favorite for a candy table. I like to mix the shapes and sizes and elevate some. The glass doesn't interfere with the candy, table linens and decor either. It almost disappears!

 

Candy Scoops for the Candy Table - Sweet Sixteen Ideas - Candy Table

Candy Scoop Set - Package of 12 Clear Small Plastic Scoops for Wedding and Party Candy Buffets
Candy Scoop Set - Package of 12 Clear Small Plastic Scoops for Wedding and Party Candy Buffets

We used scoops for guests to fill their take home treat bags. We found it's best to use plastic/acrylic scoops when you use glass vases.

You don't want the vases to shatter from contact with a metal or glass scoop.

 
Sweet Sixteen Ideas -- Party
Sweet Sixteen Ideas -- Party

Sweet Sixteen Ideas -- Party Ideas

She's Growing Up!

For a Sweet Sixteen party, most girls would love to have a bit more of a grown up feel. Here's a recap of some of the ideas covered. Hopefully they will inspire you while planning the party for your Sweet Sixteen!

  • Make the centerpiece more grown up by using items like candles, vases, flowers and such.
  • Instead of balloons, crepe paper streamers and mylar bursts, try using decorative mesh, colored tulle, or sheer organza for ceiling and wall decorations.
  • Make the party format more like a cocktail party with an appetizer buffet and cake or a dessert table later.
  • Accent tables, cakes, buffets and more with fun, blingy and sparkling décor like feathers, crystal diamonds, glass vases, candles, led candles, and more.

Remember, a girl never forgets her 16th birthday -- I still remember mine! Treat her like a young woman instead of a kid and she'll thank you for it!

Image: DecoratingforEvents - Mandee

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~ DecoratingforEvents ~



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Did you find some Sweet Sixteen Ideas to use for Your Party?

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    • profile image

      Ruthi 3 years ago

      I like the idea of using grown up decorations for the party. Sixteen is truly an age where we feel like we're leaving childhood behind and moving into the young adult stage of our lives.

    • Zeross4 profile image

      Renee Dixon 3 years ago from Kentucky

      I never had a sweet sixteen but I am hoping my little sister will get to- she will be turning 16 this year. Great ideas!

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 4 years ago from Canada

      Great job, Mandy. Wishing someone I knew was turning 60. I liked the tip of buying items a young lady could use later in her room.

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 4 years ago

      What great party ideas for a young lady of just about any age. I can see my 12 year old granddaughter flipping for a party like this!

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 4 years ago from United States

      Wow! Did I ever! I love those centerpieces and that Sweet Sixteen cake is beautiful!