The Quinceanera is an age-old tradition that Hispanic families hold dear. It gives honor to young girls as they transition into women. The traditional order of a Quince begins with a celebratory Mass during which the Quinceanera reaffirms her dedication to God, and is followed by a fiesta with dancing and a generous feast. The fiesta is also a way of introducing the birthday girl into society.
How to plan the perfect Quinceanera is for sure a lot of fun, but it also takes a lot of planning. As well-loved as the classic tradition is, some girls may want to try new things to give their Quince a more modern twist and add a touch of their own personality. If you’re that girl, then you’ve come to the right place! Here are the basics you need to know to plan your Quinceanera and ideas to give it a healthy dose of your own sparkling personality.
The 3 Must Have’s
Before starting your overall plan, learn what makes a party a success. For this, you only need to remember three Must Have’s:
- The food must be delicious
- There must be more than enough food for everybody
- Everyone must feel at ease and perhaps have different activities or attractions to enjoy, so they’ll want to stay longer.
Think about what you want to do on your special day. What do you want your guests to do? Dance? Play games? A mix of both? Do you want a smaller, intimate setting, perhaps with everyone simply mingling over fantastic food? Or do you want a roomy space with plenty of places for guests to take photos, play games and have fun? Anything is possible. Nowadays, event planners have come up with amazing gimmicks that can make a Quinceanera fun and exciting.
First Things First: Food
In a lot of ways, planning the menu isn’t that complicated. Just get a move on by asking your mom for help in collecting recipes, researching food blogs, talking to caterers, and finding pins to help you plan the tastiest Quinceanera your friends and family will ever attend! Now on to the creative, contemporary twists to the usual:
The first order of fun is a great guestbook. Never mind the usual “sign your name and write a note, please.” How about something fun and quirky? Maybe a game or a challenge so they must search for their names?
Giant Find-a-Word Puzzle
Your guests will highlight or circle their names using different colored markers, pens, or pencils. This is absolutely a very cool, non-standard guest book idea.
Wooden Letter with Your Initial
Another fun guestbook idea is to have your first initial—or both initials, or your monogram—cut from wood, then have your guests sign with a marker. If you leave the wood natural, then a black Sharpie works great. If you paint it, then put out markers in your color theme. After the party, you can preserve the wood with a sealant.
Canvas or Poster Board on an Easel
Get a giant stretched canvas from the art department of your craft store, or a big piece of foam core or super-heavy poster board. Put it on an easel, have your guests sign with colored markers or brush-tip calligraphy markers, then have it framed as a remembrance of your 15th birthday.
Idea: You could put a 5×7 of your fancy Quince portrait in the middle, or the photo you used for your Save the Dates if you sent them.
A pillow is a traditional Quinceanera symbol, so order—or make—three pillows: one for kneeling, one for the tiara presentation, and one for your guests to autograph.
Set up an entrance table with an Instax camera. As they come in alone, in pairs, as families, or in groups, your guests can take a selfie and stick the pic onto a regular guestbook that they can then sign and maybe add a short message to you.
Bang-up Photo Booth
Photo booths are a great alternative to hiring a professional photographer for candid shots. (Do hire a professional for formal portraits, though.) Photo booths are also a surprise when you look at the compilation days later. You can rent a photo booth and select from set themes, then jazz it up with props that your guests can use and enjoy, getting silly with the accessories while taking photos.
You can also go for a DIY photo booth. Scout for cloth and fun trinkets or Christmas lights for the backdrop. Also, add props to tailor the booth to fit your style and personality.
Another fun idea for a photo booth is to use plants or flowers—even giant paper flowers. This is a great idea for a jungle, garden, or outdoor Quinceanera.
For variety, you could have 2 or 3 DIY photo booth, all in different styles, set up around your venue and ask guests to take selfies then upload to a custom hashtag so you can see all of their photos on Instagram.
TIP: Include a bench in the photo booth to encourage group photos. If you get one with a hinged top, you can store your Quince memorabilia in it! You’ll find fabulous storage benches online in all price ranges.
One of the best parts of attending any celebration is the take homes. There are literally hundreds of creative ideas, but often the best kind of party favor is food! You’ll be sure that they won’t be left behind, and you’ll know your guests will “eat them up” so no worries about whether they went to waste or not.
Try having a candy station. Get 4 to 6 big colorful bowls and fill them with your favorite candies and chocolates. Add tiny take-home bags that your guests can fill themselves. They can then choose exactly which candies and how much of each that they want to take home.
One more candy favor idea is to customize boxes or tin canisters and pre-fill them. Mints are a safe choice since most people eat them, and they’ll do double duty as breath fresheners! But feel free to give out your favorite candies or chocolates if you want to. A decorated container also gives your guests something they can reuse, and that will remind them of the awesome time they had at your Quinceanera.
A last word:
As you plan your Quince, don’t feel pressured to have too many activities. You don’t want to keep your guests running around and doing things the entire time. Too many activities could distract them from the real reason they are celebrating: You becoming a lady!
Guests remember parties for the food and the new things they get to do. So instead of going for an action-packed celebration, throw a party with the best menu on the planet and a couple of totally unexpected new things that provide a touch of creativity. Your guests will enjoy the freedom to have fun with one another, or choose to simply sit and chat, and that’s what makes the entire Quinceanera even more special: Choices!
Hint: Check out our blog for a Quinceanera planning list that will help you track all of these details and more!