Sweet Sixteen Party Tips and Ideas

The Sunniest Sweet Sixteen Birthday Party Bluprint – designed, hosted and written by Elizabeth Mascali

Sixteen should be a very “sweet” birthday celebration, right? Well, with my daughter’s 16th birthday approaching, I was looking for some inspiration on a special theme for her.


It was actually a childhood song that I use to sing to her that inspired me. You are my sunshine – perfect! Anyone who knows my daughter would say she is like “sunshine” – she radiates warmth and makes all who are around her just feel good.

So now that I had a theme, it was time to design – fun! The sunshine theme had to be sophisticated, not juvenile, whimsical and fun; color palette: sunshine yellow and tangerine orange.

I worked with my brother, a talented graphic designer, to capture the message/theme in an image that we had printed on canvas and displayed as a tribute to Ally, it now hangs in her room as a reminder about how we all feel about her (pictured above). Now, I that had my inspiration visualized, I could begin the design process . . .



Flowers: We used a combination of real and faux flowers to add our pops of color. Had to have tissue paper flowers, not only are they round like the sun, but they are so bright and cheery and everyone who sees them, loves them! Note: thought I would save time ordering “pre-made” ones, however, they came pre-folded and the layers of tissue paper were packed so tight (probably by a machine) it took “the grandmothers” a bit of time, effort and patience to create the flowers layer by layer. Next time I would make our own, here is a great tutorial from SkimbacoHome.com>. Regardless of whether you order partially made ones or make them yourself, this is something you can do well in advance of party day. Yellow and orange gerbera daisies (again round, bright and cheery like the sun) and sunflowers were my choice for real flowers. They were purchased at local grocery store/Costco and simply arranged in a variety of vases/containers. That’s what I love about these flowers, is they are totally stand-alones, you don’t need to fuss with them or mix them with anything else – beautiful all by themselves!

Handmade Banners: I had this sweet banner made by the Paper Moon and sold through etsy.com and strung it up where everyone would see it. Love that it is handmade and customized just for her and her celebration – I could have had anything stamped on this and choose the colors from our color palette – you’ll see the other one I had made for the Sweet Sixteen Candy Bar.

Handmade Wish Banner: To capture the wishes for Ally on her 16th birthday, my mother, made a Wish Banner. All the guests wrote their wishes for Ally on the banner with fabric markers and then we hung it up for additional decoration. It’s precious for room decoration and to pull out of her keepsake trunk years from now – love that there are so many sweet wishes displayed so specially.

Fun Embellishments


Personalized Old-Fashioned Straws: I set up a help yourself non-alcoholic (of course) beverage bar. A fan favorite here, outside of the adorable Paper Straws with personalized flags by Party Papers, were the 7.5 oz. mini-sleek cans of soda. Everyone loved that they were just right amount of soda, no ½ full cans to toss! Party Papers worked with me to customize the straws both in color and flags – I had half printed with “Sunshine” and half with “Ally”.

Wish Cupcake Toppers: Although we weren’t having cupcakes, I couldn’t resist these adorable flags by Little Pumpkin Papers and used them to decorate food on the buffet. (In honor of Ally, we had a buffet of all Ally’s favorite foods!)

Sun Cake: My daughter loves cakes that are a piece of art, but has never had one. I come from a long line of birthday cake bakers. My mother always created fun and festive cakes for our birthdays growing up and I have followed suit with my kids over the years. However, this year as it was a special birthday, I went looking for a true cake artist. Fortunately, I discovered Elena designer, artist, Pastry Chef and owner of The Fine Art of Cakes. I supplied the theme/inspiration and gave her creative control. Upon delivery, I held my breath as the work of art was unveiled. Elena’s creation was perfect and oh so special, and absolutely delicious – red velvet with cream cheese filling, butter cream frosting, topped with fondant and lightly dusted with iridescent sparkles, outstanding! Ahead of time I gave Elena the beautiful Swarovski  embellished cake topper, it was just the right accent (you can find the cake topper at Beaucoup.com)!

Sweet Sixteen Candy Bar: A focal point of the party was definitely the “Sweet Sixteen” candy bar. When I was designing this party, I realized it was the perfect opportunity for a play on the words “Sweet 16”. Using the yellow and orange color palette I collected 16 different colored candies, 16 glass jars/containers, 16 color coordinated ribbons and printed labels naming the candies and numbering them #1 – #16. A top the candy bar I hung the “Sweet Sixteen” banner, again preciously customized and handmade by Paper Moon.  You can imagine how the sweets bar got everyone’s attention, Here’s my niece Madison fascinated by the display, what she was really interested in were the straws! Of course, we had clear cellophane goodie bags, so everyone could make their own to take home a little of the “Sweet Sixteen” celebration.


The Party Wrap-Up

It was a beautiful party and I was so happy to capture the essence of the birthday girl in such a fun way. Needless to say, I had so much fun designing it.

Note on merchants I dealt with through etsy.com: This is the first time I’ve ordered through etsy.com and I had a great experience. Here’s my take on etsy.com, they are the virtual mall owner who fill their space with individual crafters. I assume most of these crafters/artists are working out of their home creating each item stitch by stitch and piece by piece. I love that each item has been created by a set of caring hands, in some cases one of a kind! Here are a few tips on working with the merchants on etsy.com: I communicated with them through the “contact us” email feature available on merchants page before ordering to see if they could customize/personalize with color/theme/name and deliver to me by the date I needed. They were all very responsive and accommodating and I was so happy with the handcrafted items! Thank you to all who lovingly crafted these special elements of this party, they were such a special touch!
Shop Birthday Party Favors @ Beau-coup.com

19 Responses to Sweet Sixteen Party Tips and Ideas

  1. The colors make this party so unique! Love Love the
    banner, just darling! Wish Sweet Sixteens were
    so sweet back in the day!
    Thanks for the inspirations, helping a friend
    with her daughters Sweet 16th in February!

  2. I absolutely LOVE the colors for this party!! Thank you so much for including the Paisley Moon’s banners for Ally’s big day! So glad you chose Etsy for many of your party goods and had great response from the sellers as well! Happy Belated Ally!

  3. I love the theme. The pennant banners seem to be the new thing for birthday parties. I love how versatile they are. I’ve seen great ones in all sorts of themes.

  4. This is such an awesome party plan! wand to be 16 again!! Naaaa. Anyway I shared on FB & Twitter and Stumbled with a review!!! XOXOX

  5. What a fun party idea! I am having a “candy bar” for my Halloween party, so thanks for the tips. I love the bright festive colors you used!

  6. Love the sunny, warm colors and the picture from when she is little. I agree…kids are just growing up too fast. It seems like just yesterday they were watching Elmo and now mine are almost teens!

  7. Absolutely gorgeous! All of it! The sentiment, the party, the colors, everything! I have 2 girls already past this age, BUT I have 2 more that won’t be there for quite some time! Thank you so much for sharing this! Oh and happy belated birthday Ally! Your mom rocks! But you know that right?

  8. This is amazing! I love the colors. Especially with Fall knocking our doors down here in the Pacific Northwest. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw the images.

  9. Thanks Glenda – It was Elizabeth my partner here at the blog who wrote this post and it’s her daughter who had this beautiful party. I have 3 boys so I am working on the male version of this. Love your blog!

  10. This is such a warm, happy and delightful party. So personal and fun to do and be a part of and it is for a very special girl and her very special day. Sweet 16 birthday comes but once and it shouold be full of wonderful memories and love. Just as this party was.

  11. Dawn, it’s absolutely beautiful! What an awesome memory you have created for your daughter. Having been through this age with three of my own, I am often shocked at the extremes people go to for sweet sixteen parties. This was absolutely perfect!

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