Easy Guide to Planning the Perfect Quinceanera
Updated: Nov 19, 2019
I had a few friends in high school that had a quinceanera and I thought they were amazing! How fun to dress up in this big fluffy, glittery, girly dress and be an absolute princess for the night tiara and all! Unfortunately I was born into a family that didn’t have that type of tradition so I always wished I could have my own quinceanera!
Organizing the perfect quinceanera is important for parents and young ladies coming of age. The experience is an important bonding opportunity for them all, especially with the mother and daughter. There are various things to consider in order to have a great celebration of the girl’s 15th birthday. This traditional event has to be memorable, because the birthday girl is starting a new chapter of her life and entering adulthood. Your little girl is already thought to be a mature woman, who is ready to take up many responsibilities. The girls and their mothers usually spend a lot of time together preparing for the quinceanera. Sometimes it takes them up to 1 year to plan every detail.
This event is similar to a debutante ball, traditionally it was celebrated by the upper-class however today it is celebrated by thousands of Hispanic girls every year. In fact, quinceaneras are not only a tradition in Mexico, but in all the other Latino communities all over the world as well. To make your job easier, I have prepared a step-by-step guide for planning an unforgettable quinceanera.
SETTING A BUDGET FOR YOUR QUINCEANERA
It's easy to get carried away with all of the fabulous options out there for quinceanera celebrations. The most important thing you have to consider is your budget. A quinceanera requires a variety of things, and it might cost you a lot. So, you should start thinking of your budget long before your daughter’s birthday. One of the most common mistakes parents make is not saving up for all the expenses around the quinceanera. And when the time comes, they have no idea where to get all this money from. If you don’t want your girl to be disappointed, start saving before the time comes. After all, it is a once in a lifetime event and your girl deserves a notable celebration. An average quinceanera costs between $5,000 and $20,000. No matter what your budget is, there are always ways to save money as long as you stick your budget! Also keep in mind it is common to get sponsorship for these celebrations. It's still the parents responsibility to cover the majority of the bill. Talk to your friends and family to find out how they might be able to sponsor this lavish event.
HOW TO PLAN FOR THE RIGHT NUMBER OF GUESTS
Plan the number of your guests Another thing you should definitely consider earlier is the number of guests you are going to invite. Some people think it’s not necessary to invite so many people, that is why they only call their closest relatives and friends. Others prefer bigger parties and noisy celebrations . It depends on the venue you are going to choose. If the hall is not big enough, you will have no choice but to decrease the number of your guests. It is important to follow the birthday girl’s needs and preferences. The point of all this is to make her really enjoy it and remember it for the rest of her life. So, do not hesitate to ask your daughter what she prefers. You can’t just invite your relatives, but forget the birthday girl’s classmates and friends.
FINDING THE PERFECT QUINCEANERA INVITATION IS A MUST!
Your invitation is your introduction, it sets the tone and gives your guests a sneak peek at what to expect at your quinceanera. When choosing your quinceanera invitation the first thing you want to do is make sure it represents your Mis Quinces personality. This is where I can help, I have one of the largest selections of quinceanera invitations, I love this tradition so I have created some really beautiful invitations that will certainly be an amazing introduction to your quinceanera.
Both my Zazzle and Etsy shop have many invitations to choose from. Metro-events on Etsy has instant download PDF invitations files, I do offer printing services on Etsy as well if needed. If you choose to order from Metro-events on Zazzle you can edit your design online have Zazzle print them for you.
I have designed many of my invitations in sparkling colors and crowns accents so as to guarantee each birthday girl is going to feel like a princess. You can choose among pink, purple, blue and other incredibly colorful invitations. Some of them contain amazing dresses next to the elegant typography, and they are loved by many 15-year-old girls.
MAKE YOUR RESERVATIONS FOR THE CHURCH AND RECEPTION HALL
Since the celebration starts with a church mass then followed by a reception making these reservations are a necessity. Reserve a Church and Reception Hall Finding a church is an important thing you have to consider. We all know the ceremony of the quinceanera normally begins with a mass at a Catholic Church, so you have to check with a priest and deal with all the details. The priest is going to prepare a special religious session, and make the godparents participate in it. The birthday girl should choose the church, where she is going to make a promise to honor her religion in front of God. Churches might be reserved for other special events, so you have to make sure the one you choose is available on your date.
Reception halls also are reserved really pretty early, and sometimes it can be a problem if you do not plan in advance. You won't be able to find a good hall if you do not search for it long before your quinceanera date. Reception halls provide a great venue for your dreamed celebrations. Turns out, you can actually find affordable and beautiful banquet halls, if you look sooner. Again, don't forget to ask the birthday girl, because she is the most important person on this day, and she has to feel comfortable wherever it takes place.
*HELPFUL TIP: Make sure you have your reservations before you have your invitation printed
**BUDGET TIP: It never hurts to ask! Talk to the reservation representative about any specials they might have that could save you on your costs!
**BUDGET TIP: Remember your tips! You will need some extra $$ to tip your vendors after your party.
The godparents, also known as Padrinos and Madrinas, usually play a big role in the quinceanera party planning. Generally, the young lady has escorts, the so-called chambelanes and maids of honor, and her godparents have to help with their arrangement. They pay for the limo, the catering, and provide beautiful gifts for the birthday girl. The godparents are considered sponsors in most Spanish communities. They can be from the family or from the church members. You can also choose close friends of the family to become your daughter’s godparents. The godparents help with the preparation as a whole, and they have to participate in special religious sessions, organized by the priest. So, be careful when you choose your godparents, because they are going to play a major role in the entire celebration.
HOW DO YOU DECORATE FOR A QUINCEANERA?
Decorating for a quinceanera is actually similar to decorating for a wedding. You will need linens, flowers, balloons, party banners or posters as well as the items needed for quince traditions. Coordinating your colors is essential, make sure your decor matches your invitation and what your daughter is wearing. I offer a number of different items that are coordinating through my shop on Zazzle. In order to help you out, I did a little research on the web to find some additional decor items that I don't offer.
Flowers are always a nice addition to any party but they are essential for a quinceanera. First you will need to get a bouquet, you can choose to get real flowers for this or if you look on Etsy you can find some really beautiful silk bouquets.
You will also need flowers for both the church and your reception, as mentioned before you do not need to get different flowers for both locations. Designate a couple of people to help you transfer your flowers from the church to your reception. Get help from your florist, ask them about the options they have available and what kind of discounts they may have.
As I am sure you know one of the traditions of a quince is the candle-lighting. In this part of the ceremony your daughter will honor those that have played an important role in her life. She will select 15 people, parents, friends or other family members and dedicates a candle to each one of them. So you will need at least 15 candles for this.
Candles also make great decor, if you want to use candles as part of your decorations, perhaps on the table at the reception hall, you do not have to get real candles there are many options out there for flame-less candles. These look just as beautiful as flameless but you don't have to worry about keeping them lit throughout the night. Plus they are reusable and safer for an event like this.
BALLOONS AND LINENS
For your balloons you can choose to go to a local party store and pick some up for your event. I found this really cool balloon kit on Amazon that will be perfect for just about any quinceanera.
You will need to purchase a helium tank if you choose to get this balloon kit.
**BUDGET TIP: Purchasing your own balloons and helium tank is a more cost effective way to get your balloons
Linens, check with your reception hall about your linens, some do offer them as part of the service so this will save you a lot if they do. You will need tablecloths, and napkins if you choose to have fabric napkins. You can however get customized paper napkins, I have a number of different styles and colors available though my Metro-events shop on Zazzle
It's so easy to have a pop-up photo booth and there are always a hit at any event. There are many options on how to have one for your party. You can rent a photo kiosk, or you can make one for people to take photos with their phones. Either way the most important thing you need for a photo booth is a backdrop. Another fun thing to include with your party photo booth are props! Like these quinceanera photo booth props from Amazon.
Choosing favors for your quinceanera can be a fun part of your planning. There are many options available for you. What you get depends on how much you have in your budget for favors. Here are a couple of ideas I got from search online for favor ideas. If you are not wanting to spend much on a favor, you can simply get some pretty favor boxes and add a personalized favor tag like those these that I have created on Zazzle.
At the reception, place your favors on the tables in advance, one at each place setting, to make sure people don’t take extras.
If you need additional supplies that you do not see within my shop please contact me and let me know what you are looking for, as long as there is time I can create it for you!
**BUDGET TIP: reuse your flowers and other decor for each location this will save some of those pennies for you!
THE DRESS, SHOES AND CROWN
Finally, the most exciting part, my personal favorite it's time to find the perfect dress, shoes and crown. Every girl dreams of the perfect dress for their quinceanera celebration. Now it is not the time to count pennies, you should buy the right dress for your daughter, even if it is more expensive, and make sure you combine it with suitable accessories. The costs of quinceanera dress is between $200 and $2000. The traditional style is a ball-gown, and a lot of Quince's follow the tradition and wear long white or pink gowns however it is common for a girl to choose their favorite color for the dress.
**BUDGET TIP: There are many online options for purchasing your dress, some of which have incredible pricing like this one that I found on Amazon for under $200 and available in multiple colors: Quinceanera dress
If you are concerned about the fitting when you are ordering online, most online stores will accept exchanges and refunds. You also have the option of purchasing a size larger than you would normally get and take it into get alterations done to it.
The crowning ceremony is another tradition at a quinceanera. Usually the parents of the birthday girl purchase her a tiara and scepter as gifts for her special day. The crown is symbolizes a young girl being a princess in the eyes of God. In the ceremony the crown replaces a smaller head piece that is worn, it’s usually the mother places the crown on her daughter during the ceremony. The scepter symbolizes authority, being given a scepter is to accept the responsibility of being mature woman.
Shoes for the shoes ceremony, some choose to get 2 new pairs of shoes. The flat shoes to wear before the ceremony and heels for the ceremony itself. You don’t have to purchase the first pair but the second has to be new. The shoes are a representation of a girl stepping into society as a woman, removing her childhood shoes and replacing them with her first pair of women's shoes. You can choose any shoes you would like it is a tradition for them to be white however many young girls choose other colors as well.
TRADITIONAL QUINCEANERA GIFTS
Aside from birthday gifts there are a number of other traditional gifts given at a quinceanera. The last doll, a bracelet or ring, earrings, a bible and a rosary. Each of these gifts like the crown and scepter have a symbolic purpose.
- The last doll: This is traditionally provided by the father, it’s symbolic of leaving behind childish things.
- Earrings: These are given to remind the quinceanera to keep her ears open to God and listen to what God tells her.
- Bible: The Bible is a tool of guidance, it is given as a gift so the birthday girl always has something to turn to in times of trouble.
- Rosary: Rosaries are a part of the Catholic faith and it symbolizes the birthday girl’s faith in God.
WHAT’S ON THE MENU?
Prepare the food The food is certainly a major part of the quinceanera celebration. People usually serve traditional Latin American meals such as tacos, enchiladas, picadillo. There are diverse types of enchiladas you can serve and include rice and beans as well.
**BUDGET TIP: If you don’t have to attendees, you can prepare the food yourself.
For bigger celebrations, hiring a caterer will save you a lot of headache and time so it is recommended. Should you choose to hire a caterer, make sure you get samples of the food that will be served at your party. Most caterers require a deposit, so if you find a place that you like to be prepared to pay for some of the costs up front.
Don't forget your cake and sweets! It wouldn't be a party without a cake! Similar to a wedding, the cake the centerpiece of the reception. Check with your local bakery about the cake options they have. If you don't have a lot of options for a bakery you can also check with your local grocery store.
When it comes to beverages, keep in mind that many guests will be friends of your daughter, so you have to serve mostly non-alcoholic drinks. However, you shouldn’t forget preparing some champagne for the toast.
**BUDGET TIP: If you choose not to serve alcoholic beverages you will save quite a bit of money.
ALWAYS US YOUR RESOURCES, THEY ARE WAITING TO HELP YOU!
If you experience difficulty in choosing all the things you need for your quinceanera, it is only natural to get help. Recruit your friends and family to help you with the planning and organizing. You can take some ideas from different websites, magazines and catalogs. They present various types of decoration, and a wide range of colors. You can also hire an event planner, there are many out there that specialize in planning quinceanera parties.
Don’t forget that this is supposed to be a special day for you and your family, try to keep your stress levels low by remembering why you are doing all of this planning and organizing.
A quinceanera happens once in a lifetime. That is why mothers and daughters have to make efforts and organize a memorable celebration. Of course, fathers have to help too, but it seems most of the things are a female job. It is important to decorate the hall nicely, and send unique invitations. Not to mention the birthday girl's quinceanera dress- it has to be a big ball gown, colorful and sticking to the princess look. There are many other details to consider, and this is the main reason why it takes so much time to plan a quinceanera. It is believed a year before the girl's 15th birthday will be enough to set out the family's budget and arrange everything.
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