Celebrate with friends at home and throw the perfect party with these easy and budget-friendly sweet 16 birthday party ideas!
My youngest child…my only girl turned 16 in June last year.
We didn’t want her special day to go by without a celebration even though she was doing school virtually and hadn’t been to her dance classes in months.
2020 was a rough year for everyone but I think especially for teenagers.
And even though life was a bit different at the time…you only turn 16 once right!?
How was my baby already 16?
It’s just crazy how fast time goes by and now she’s about to turn 17. What!?!
Okay enough mom sulking…let’s get back to the point.
A sweet 16 birthday party!
How were we going to celebrate my Emma girl turning sweet 16?
Sweet 16 Birthday Party Ideas
We decided to throw her a surprise party with a few of her close friends at home.
I love hosting parties at home and immediately started thinking of ways to make this little party a bit extra special for Emma.
Her friend made her some cute rhinestone-studded sunglasses and I bought her a Sweet Sixteen headband so she was off to a good start after walking in the house to her friends yelling surprise!
We kept the party simple and focused on things teenagers love…MUSIC…FOOD…SELFIES.
After moving the table out of the dining room we had the perfect dance floor.
And portable speaker synched to a phone provided the music.
What’s a dance party without glow sticks?
Emma and her friends wore some fun bracelet and necklace glow sticks as they danced all night long!
Ohhhh all night long…are you singing with me? LOL
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Sweet 16th Birthday Party Food Ideas
Since the party was in the evening I decided to just serve snacks rather than a meal.
Emma loves popcorn!
So creating a popcorn bar was the perfect snack food to serve at her party.
A popcorn bar is another simple sweet 16 birthday party idea. But really it’s great for any party you’re hosting.
It keeps options limited so you don’t have to worry about a ton of different food ideas and whether or not they “go” together.
Plus it looks so pretty displayed in gold and white…doesn’t it?
I got the popcorn from our local movie theater then bought a bunch of toppings.
It really was a hit at her party…the kids loved it!
Check out all the details on exactly how I put together the popcorn bar here.
No matter what your theme is a popcorn bar is a super fun addition.
Easy DIY Photo Booth
I wanted a place for Emma and her friends to take pictures and selfies.
Because don’t we all love to take photos with our friends?
We didn’t have much time so I enlisted Anne’s help to hang this DIY photo booth while Emma was out with a friend right before the party guests started arriving.
It was a simple and pretty backdrop for pictures.
Here is Emma with Anne’s girls Katy & Livy!
Love these beautiful girls and their sweet friendship!
Birthday Photo Display
To add a little personal touch I made a photo display of pictures of Emma on each of her birthdays.
It’s an easy idea for her 16th birthday that didn’t take long to put together.
And this idea can be done in many different ways for lots of different occasions…birthdays, graduations, anniversary’s, weddings, bridal or baby showers.
Did you see Anne’s amazing display of photos for a graduation party?
Sweet 16 Birthday Party Decoration Ideas
The gold and white foil paper fans are from Target and happy birthday banner is from Party City.
I pulled apart the letters on the banner and adhered them to the wall with the paper fans above the dessert bar using double-stick tape.
There were also some of the fans hung from the chandelier in the dining room (aka dance room) but I forgot to get a picture.
Just behind the drink table you can see #16 party decor.
Those are paper mache numbers that I bought at Hobby Lobby and spray-painted gold to coordinate with Emma’s 16th party decorations.
I used these numbers for both of my sons graduation parties in their grad year and painted them in school colors.
Anne came up with some really gorgeous ideas to decorate these inexpensive plain numbers for your next celebration.
Keeping the color scheme consistent throughout all these sweet 16 birthday party ideas allows everything to look decorated without spending a lot of money on decorations.
Sweet Treats for Emma’s 16th Birthday
Can you believe Emma doesn’t like cake?
Yup, I have that kid who doesn’t like cake.
Every year she’d let us sing happy birthday to her and blow out the candles on a cake she didn’t eat.
Now don’t worry she absolutely loves sweets so a candy bar was definitely the way to go when celebrating her sweet sixteen.
We did serve some cupcakes for her friends because most people like cake, right?!
Inexpensive mini cupcakes from the grocery store looked even better after I added some pretty gold sprinkles to them.
This was such a fun party to throw for our sweet girl and she had a memorable night with her friends celebrating.
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