15 Steps to Plan Your Quinceañera
In Latin culture, a quinceañera is a celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday. Similar to a sweet sixteen or debutante coming out party, your quinceañera party marks your transformation from a girl to a woman – and takes months of planning! Here are fifteen steps to help you on your way to throwing the perfect sweet fifteen!
1. Build Out Your Budget
Every event needs a budget, and your quince is no different! Make sure your budget includes venue, food, invites, decor, and dresses, (yes, plural, but we’ll get to those later) and other must-haves. If you’ve got time on your side – perhaps your fifteenth birthday is more than a year away – it’s a good idea to build out your budget as early as possible, and start saving!
2. Decide on your Guest List
Family members should be at the top of your guest list, followed by friends, pastor, etc. Keep in mind that your guest list will directly impact your budget; therefore you may want to think twice about letting your single friends have a “plus-one”.
3. Save the Date & Send Out Invites
Since your quinceañera is a celebration of your fifteenth birthday, it should happen on or in close proximity to your birthday.
Have your invitations ready to be sent out eight weeks prior to your quinceañera. Here’s why: your guests should receive their invitations at least six weeks in advance, and you’ll want to account for mailing time.
4. Communicate with your Church
Traditional quinceañeras begin with a Misa de Accion de Gracias – a Mass of Giving Thanks. You’ll want to get in touch with your church about reserving the day, as well as fulfilling the special requirements required of you, such as donating to the church or other designated organization, and completing specific courses or acts of community service.
5. Secure your Celebration Space
If you want the convenience of having your entire event all in one location, you may be able to host your reception at your church. You can also rent out a reception or banquet hall for dinner and dancing, or many modern quinceañeras opt to host the reception and dance at home by renting tents, tables, and more.
6. Assemble your Court
Traditionally, the Courts de Honor consists of fourteen couples, plus the birthday girl and her escort. However, many modern day quinces are choosing less, such as seven Damas accompanied by seven Chambelanes, and no escort, or Man of Honor, beside the quinceañera, making her the fifteenth member of the court.
7. Choose your Escort
Assuming you’re having one, of course. Even though he’s technically part of the court, we think this one warrants its own step. If you have a novio, this decision is easy. If not, no worries! Your escort can also be a close friend or cousin.
8. Say Yes to your Dresses
That’s right, plural. The quinceañera has up to three wardrobe changes on the day of her event. These include the dress for the ceremony, the reception dress, sometimes a dress for the dance. Although traditionally pink, your quinceañera gown can be any color you want it to be!
9. If the Shoe Fits
You’re probably familiar with the changing of the shoes ceremony. You’ll wear flats to your ceremony through the reception, and just before the father-daughter waltz, your father (or other honorary family member) will change your shoes from flats to heels, symbolizing your transformation from girl to woman.
10. Choose your Theme
The theme of your quinceañera will help determine your decor. Quinces are traditionally lavish, but you can opt for a more simple and minimalist party. Creative and popular themes include Cinderella, Under the Sea, Paris, Hollywood, among others. And, if you don’t want a specific theme, focus on bringing your favorite color palette to life!
11. Reserve your Rentals
Sorry to burst your balloon, but fifteenth birthday parties don’t grow on trees. It’s important to accommodate your guests with proper shelter, seating, tableware, and other amenities that will make your celebration a success! If you’re hosting your quince at home or other alternative venue, you might consider renting a dance floor for your waltz.
12. Hire a Photographer
Not only will you want photos to capture the event, but a quinceañera is a big deal! You’re going to look phenomenal in your fancy gowns with your hair and makeup done. Your photoshoot is your moment in the spotlight. Choose a photographer whose portfolio complements your own style and who is within your budget.
13. Choose your menu
Most reception or banquet halls have buffet or family-style options. If you’re hosting your quince at home or church, you’ll either want to hire a catering service or have potluck, where your family members bring designated dishes. It’s all good, as long as you have enough for everyone!
14. What about the Cake?
Picking out your cake is, without a doubt, one of the greatest things about planning your quinceañera party. Not only should your cake be sweet and delicious, it should also complement your theme. And don’t forget about a fun cake topper!
15. Have fun!
Quinceañeras are a lot of work. And planning. And did we say work? When it’s finally time for your big day, get out on that dance floor and celebrate! Have fun with your friends and family, and thank them for helping you make your dream quinceañera a reality.
Whether you’re following tradition or having your own modern-day quinceañera, Well Dressed Tables would love to help create your vision!