How to plan a super sweet 16th birthday party

Sweet Sixteen: the age where you got your first job, applied for your learner’s permit, and assumed other more grown-up responsibilities.

While frequently overshadowed by the big one 2 years later, that doesn’t make your teen’s 16th any less of a major milestone birthday.

And like any other milestone birthday, it’s something that deserves to be celebrated with a big, blow-out celebration!

Just one question: how do you plan a sweet 16th birthday party?

A good Sweet Sixteen party requires careful planning to make it happen. In fact, after their first birthday party and perhaps their 13th (where they celebrate turning into a teen), your child’s 16th birthday party is one of the earliest milestones they’ll reach!

So, what should you be planning for? And what role can bulk lollies play?

(What? We sell lollies online – it would be remiss of us to not mention sweets!)

Why’s it called sweet 16? Learn about sweet 16 traditions and history

There’s a good reason this birthday gets its own special name – simply put, it’s a big deal!

For girls in particular, 16 was the age where they transitioned from girl to woman – this is when debutante balls would occur, complete with ball gowns and tuxedos.

While that particular tradition isn’t really all that common anymore, the idea that your daughter’s 16th birthday is a landmark birthday has stuck.

That isn’t the only thing that’s persisted – while sweet 16th birthdays have evolved, there are still a couple of sweet 16 traditions that continue even to the present day (which you can work into your daughter’s upcoming sweet 16th birthday party!)

First dance with Dad

You may see the father and daughter dance during weddings – if they threw a sweet 16th birthday however, that won’t have been the first time!

One of the oldest sweet 16th traditions is the dance between daughter and father. Thankfully, while this tradition persisted, the rule saying that it still needs to be ballroom anymore hasn’t.

Choose any song you like, from fast-tempo party music, to a poppy ballad, it’s completely up to you (more specifically, it’s up to the birthday girl).  

Candle lighting tradition

Candles play a huge role in birthdays – little wonder they’re such a common fixture in sweet 16th celebrations too!

When it comes to sweet 16th parties in particular, this tradition takes the form of choosing 16 individuals (naturally) that will hold and light 16 candles for the ceremony. These can be parents of the celebrant, siblings, other family members, friends and even a special someone.

Upon each of the sixteen candles being lit, the participants give a message to the celebrant. 

And once the sixteen candles have all lit up, it’s time to get singing happy birthday!

Passing an heirloom

Sweet 16th parties have their own traditions of handing things down – in particular, handing down family heirlooms.

Think of it as symbolically passing the torch from one generation to the next to honour what has been done before – and bless what is to come.

Such items include valuable things such as jewellery, a bible, a piece of furniture or decor, or even a car!

Whatever you choose, the passing of an heirloom symbolises the beginning of a new chapter of the celebrant’s life, with the heirloom symbolising their newfound responsibility and accountability.

How do you make a Sweet 16 party fun?

It’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it?

You’re already familiar with the traditions – of course, it still needs to be a fun party!

So, what can you do to make a Sweet Sixteen celebration turn out to be one of the sweetest parties ever? The answer is plain and simple: plan and prepare!

In particular, it’s important that you start by asking yourself…

How much is your budget?

Budget is everything!

Before you decide on anything else, the best thing to do is to ask yourself how much you are willing to spend on the Sweet Sixteen party.

This will dictate whether it’s a simple, laid-back celebration, or an extravagant blow-out party. 

And if you’re the celebrant (in which case, happy birthday to you!), we suggest asking your parents how much they’re willing to set aside for the celebrations.

Alternatively, tell them what you want and they’ll hopefully sit down with you to go through what can and can’t be done. (You could even consider your birthday party to be your present from mum and dad!)

Should the party venue match your event theme?


You shouldn’t even need to ask – yes, your venue and decor should match your event theme. You can’t have one without the other, after all!

And we’re not just talking about the decor, either.

Sweet 16th birthday parties tend to be on the larger side, with dozens and even hundreds of guests. That many people require space to hold them all.

If you’re expecting a large number of guests, you should look into the floor plan and figure out how comfortable they can feel during the party. While smaller guests lists might comfortably fit in your home or backyard.

And finally, if you’re going with a dedicated venue, be sure to inspect it first to get a feel for it, as well as determine whether or not you can get your chosen theme to work with it!

How far in advance do you send out sweet 16 invitations?

As far as invitations are concerned, they  should be sent out 3 to 5 weeks in advance.

This can give time to your guests to check and adjust their schedule for the party, as well as giving you time to adjust your plans to accommodate everyone who RSVPs.

And while we’re on the topic, be sure to set a deadline for people to respond – the last thing you want is an unknown number of people turning up to your party and throwing your plans for a loop.

Why food options are available and how do you choose one?

Obviously, cake is mandatory – but what about everything else?

Answer: it depends on how big the party is.

If you’re looking for a safe bet however, party foods and finger foods like sausage rolls are always good (and easy) choices, especially if you have heaps of people to feed.

And of course, who could forget about lollies?

Bulk lollies are the perfect choice for a sweet 16th. Not only do they require minimal preparation, but they’re also a great “bridge” so to speak.

While your teen and their friends may leave many things behind as they get older, the love of lollies isn’t one of them!

And that makes something like a lolly bar such a great choice for a Sweet 16th birthday party!

What activities can you do at a Sweet 16 party?

Honestly, it all depends on what type of Sweet 16th you go for, as well as how many people you’re inviting.

For events with more people, food, a playlist of house tracks and a place to dance it out might be all you need to ensure everyone has a great time.

If it’s a smaller event however, the options open up!

While your daughter might have outgrown pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, there are a couple of other activities that you can work into the celebrations such as:

  • Name that tune – a fun game that’ll get everyone involved
  • Lip sync battles – complete with dress-ups
  • Karaoke – always popular and SO much fun!

Buy lollies online with our online lolly shop

How do you have a good Sweet 16th birthday party? Start with lollies!

You’re never too old for lollies – while your teen may be turning 16, there’s always room for sweets in their celebration – especially if you opt for a candy bar to go along with your table of finger food and snacks!

Of course, you’re going to need a lot of lollies to make it happen.

That’s where we come in – our online lolly shop specialises in three things:

  1. Carrying a huge range of different sweets
  2. Providing bulk lollies
  3. Doing so at wholesale prices

Basically, the three most important things if you’re planning on including lollies in your upcoming celebration!

What are you waiting for? Click here to start shopping!

Have questions? We’re more than willing to answer them at 1300 899 000 or at this link.

    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop