Simple Ideas for a Boho Sweet 16th Birthday Party
Looking for fun party ideas for a milestone birthday? Check out the details of this boho Sweet 16 birthday party! Planning another kind of party? Find our favorite party theme ideas for any special occasions!
All photography curtesy of Emily P Photography.
I love an excuse to throw a fun party for a special occasion and a milestone birthday is extra special! There are so many wonderful 16th birthday party ideas out there and we had a blast planning our daughter’s special Sweet Sixteenth birthday celebration! Even if you are not throwing a sixteenth birthday, you can use these boho Sweet 16th birthday party ideas for any kind of special occasion.
Our daughter, Payton, has such creative ideas and gave me a lot of input for the style of this themed party for her birthday celebration. Then, we used many things we had on hand to make it a budget-friendly celebration! We added some fun finds for a touch of the sixteenth birthday celebration look and got busy with our party planning!
For this post, I’ll share everything we used with you and also some tips and ideas you can use for party planning of any special occasion!
How do you throw a 16th birthday party?
Well, this was my first time but everyone had a great time and most of all, the birthday girl said it was perfect! I’ll share more details through the post, but here is a quick run down what we did (and a basic list of what you need to plan):
- Venue: Home
- Date: Scheduled (best we could) around school and church activities so more of her close friends could come
- Invitation: Created on the Canva app, then sent via text to the party guests
- Food: Payton wanted a simple cookout and a “Sweet Bar”
- Activities: Volleyball, corn hole, ping pong, pool, s’mores, and “hanging out” with friends!
- Decor: Earth tones (blush, terra cotta, tan), baby’s breath, simple flowers, boho style
- Photo Booth: Since the activities were mostly outside, we created one photo area outside and decorated that space.
- Photography: This can definitely be done yourself. However, we splurged and hired a friend who is a professional photographer. This made the evening a lot more relaxing for us, as parents. Plus, we got some great pictures of the milestone birthday celebration!
Simple Ideas for a Boho Sweet 16th Birthday Party
Party Planning for a Special Occasion or Sweet 16th Birthday Party
For any special occasion, you can do yourself a big favor by planning well in advance. Even though there are many things that cannot be done until right before the big party, having a good plan in place makes it a lot less stressful!
Here is a list of things to consider as you begin planning your special occasion:
Determine the size of the party you’re able to host and build the guest list around that. I always start with family members, then add our closest friends.
Since we were having the party at home, we could accommodate a larger guest list. Payton has so many close friends so we were able to invite everyone on her list. We were so blessed that so many of her best friends could celebrate with her!
Determining the venue and the guest list kind of go hand in hand, as you need to make sure the venue holds everyone on your guest list. If you have a larger budget, you may want to consider event spaces. This also depends on the desired activities.
How do you celebrate a Sweet 16 at home?
Since Payton’s requested outdoor activities are things we could do at home, it was a great choice to make our home the venue. However, for example, if you need a dance floor or tables and chairs for a dinner party, you may need to find a venue that accommodates those activities.
Deciding on a party theme can be really helpful in narrowing down the many choices and birthday ideas! There are a lot of awesome party theme ideas. However, you’ll want to choose a theme based on the guest of honor’s favorite activities and tastes!
The casual style of this sixteenth birthday party was perfectly suited for our daughter’s personal style and comfort zone. To me, that was all that mattered!
Party Dress Code:
Once the theme and activities are determined, be sure to let guests know about the dress code. Especially if there is a particular style of dress or costume expected, make sure you give the party guests plenty of advance notice!
Set a menu well in advance. This will be a big chunk of the budget, especially for a teen’s birthday!
Payton wanted a simple cookout so we recruited grandparents to help keep the grill going and the plates full! Especially if you have a large party, it can be particularly challenging to manage the guests, the food, activities, pictures, and everything else on your own.
Pro Tip: Consider asking a few close friends or family members to help with specific things.
For example, Payton asked her grandpa to be the grill master and her grandma was perfect to keep the trays on the buffet full of hot hamburgers! I asked a friend ahead of time to be available to help me with last minute preparations. Your best friends and family members will most likely be happy to help and it will save you a lot of unnecessary stress so that you can enjoy the celebration too!
If you are hosting a birthday celebration, the cake is of utmost importance! We went all out for the “Sweet Bar” by adding a cake and other favorite treats from our local bakery. If you love to bake, you could certainly do the cake and desserts yourself. However, that is not my area of expertise, so I am happy to pay for great desserts from our Publix bakery!
Your decorations can be all DIY birthday party ideas or you can hire it out! We did a combination of the two and it worked perfectly.
Since the activities were mostly outdoors, we created a photo booth backdrop space that also served as the main decoration for the party. It was visible from all areas of the yard but not in the way of games and activities. We used a large pallet wall that we’ve had for many years as the backdrop.
To bring in the party colors and a fun style for a teen girl birthday, we hired someone to create an amazing balloon display that connected to the wood wall. It turned out absolutely gorgeous and set the mood for the whole party.
Next, Payton asked for simple baby’s breath and flowers. We added THESE adorable glass vases (16 of them, of course!) to the wood wall and filled them with white roses and baby’s breath from Trader Joe’s.
Sweet 16th Birthday Party Sign:
Then, an inexpensive LED “Sweet 16” sign was the perfect finishing touch. We hung this in the girls’ bedroom after the party so they get to continue enjoying it! THESE signs come in different sayings for a variety of special occasions and milestone birthday or congratulatory events. Plus, they are a really great way to add a fun touch to the party decorations.
Lastly, we added a jute rug and a wooden bench to make it the perfect photo booth for best friends or a whole group of close friends! I am so glad we hired a photographer who could make sure the birthday girl got great pictures with her friends and close family too!
Depending on the type of party you are hosting, you may want to consider party favors.
Over on THIS blog post, I shared a smaller party we did for our other daughter with a few of her best friends. Since it was a small group of teenage girls, we went all out on the party favors.
However, for this large sixteenth birthday party, we made sure everyone was invited to take a few treats home with them from the “Sweet Bar,” rather than setting up specific party favors.
Choosing a Theme for a Sweet 16th Birthday Party
How do you celebrate a Sweet 16?
When it comes to choosing a theme, there are SO many wonderful birthday ideas and party theme ideas out there. Whether you are looking for fun party ideas or a more formal occasion, there seems to be an endless supply of themed party celebration ideas available!
Over the years, we have enjoyed a lot of fun themes for birthday parties here at our own home or at local attractions. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Slumber party
- Theme park
- Amusement park
- Movie night
- Pool party (only for the spring/summer birthday though! Haha!)
- Local spa
While we haven’t done these party ideas (yet), here are just a few more ideas that we think would be really fun sometime:
- Water park
- Costume party
- Themed party for a specific historical time period
- High tea for a formal party
- Fancy dinner party
- DIY escape room OR go to an escape room
- Beach party
- Hire a chef for a cooking class
Do you have a unique party idea? Share it in the comments below!
Choosing Activities for a Sweet 16th Birthday Party
What happens at a Sweet 16th Birthday party?
You will want to plan activities and party games based on the guest of honor’s interests. Also, be sure to consider the party guests and what their level of interest will be for any given activity.
Outdoor activities are a favorite for Payton and her friends. We have a grass volleyball court in our backyard (or this four-square volleyball game is fun for groups too) and an outdoor ping pong table. Then, we set up corn hole. Inside, the pool table was kept busy too! We had board games and card games available too, though the outdoor activities were the real hit. It was perfect for a group of teenagers and a casual party style.
How do you make a memorable Sweet 16?
The photo booth area was kept super busy at the beginning of the party with close friends too! They enjoyed having a mini photo shoot together. It is so fun to have these pictures to remember such a special occasion!
Planning Food for a Sweet 16th Birthday Party
If you’re planning a 16th birthday party, chances are there will be a lot of teenagers there. You probably already know this, but you need PLENTY of good food. Haha! We let our birthday girl set the menu. She kept it really simple with grilled hamburgers, potato salad, fresh fruit, and chips. We could have added any number of finger foods also but decided to just keep it super simple.
For her “Sweet 16”, we set up a special “Sweet Bar”. The “Sweet Bar” was basically a candy bar with a lot of delicious sweet treats mixed in. Then, we had ice cream ready to add when the birthday cake was served.
I visited the candy aisle at Walmart and Target and also the specialty foods section at Homegoods. Between the stores, I find a lot of great options for sweet treats that would tie into the color theme of the party. This made the candy bar feel decorative as well as delicious and the food doubled as party decoration. Win win for everyone!
Pro Tip: Choose candy and treats with wrappers that blend with the party colors. You can also unwrap some of the treats so that they tie in with the aesthetic.
We used a variety of small tiered trays and pedestals to give a variety of heights. After placing all of the candy and sweet treats, we filled in ALLLLL of the rest of the space with marshmallows. They are super inexpensive and the white goes with almost any color scheme. This makes them the perfect filler for a candy bar charcuterie!
How to Make S’more Charcuterie Cups
- Plain cups (we used THESE french fry cups)
- Sharpie in party decor color (we used THIS pack of metallics)
- (4) graham cracker squares per cup
- (2) chocolate bars per cup
- (2-4) marshmallows per cup (depending on the size of marshmallows)
- Optional: add a themed marshmallow on top for fun (we used these heart marshmallows I found at Homegoods)
This was a really great way to make s’mores so easy for a large group! Everyone could grab their individual s’more charcuterie cup and enjoy creating their s’mores as they wished. Plus, it made for really cute party decor too! Again, it was a win win as the food doubled as decoration! Payton used the metallic sharpies to write a pretty “16” on each cup. You could easily individualize this for any special occasion or milestone birthday!
Plan Table Decor for a Sweet 16th Birthday Party
How do you throw a Sweet 16 party on a budget?
Even though most of the activities were outdoors, I knew there would be family members and party guests who would enjoy sitting inside to eat. Rather than a full tablescape, I set up a pretty centerpiece where people could come and go at their leisure throughout the evening. It worked perfectly for a casual event like this. Plus, we were able to make it very budget-friendly by using mostly decor that we already had on hand!
I started with a woven table runner as the base (similar HERE). Since our table is 12 feet long, I used two of them. Next, I added THIS pretty gauzy table runner. It is available in so many great colors. Plus, it is under $12, so it is budget-friendly. It is perfect for special events to add a touch of color. Lastly, I added THIS gorgeous table runner in the middle. The tassels added a boho touch while the gold threads picked up on the metallics in the party colors. The layered look added a lot of texture and interest to the table decor.
For the centerpiece, I created simple arrangements with white roses, baby’s breath, and filler flowers from Trader Joe’s. Simple jars are perfect for small bouquets. To add a sparkle, I used a variety of THESE mercury glass votive candle holders and THESE flameless tea light candles. They added the perfect amount of elegance while being easy and convenient. Flameless candles are a great way to add a cozy glow for a casual event so you don’t have to keep an eye on an open flame!
Lastly, we laid down adorable cards with quotes of “life advice” that Payton picked out at the Sugar Boo and Co. store. After the party, these were also hung in the girls’ room for decoration so they can continue to be enjoyed and offer daily inspiration too!
Sweet 16th Birthday party banners and balloons:
Full List of Party Decor:
- Woven table runner
- Gauzy table runner in dusty pink
- Cream and gold table runner with tassels
- Hanging mason jars with handle
- Mercury glass votive candle holders
- Flameless tea light realistic flickering candles
- Happy Sweet 16 gold banner
- 40″ number balloons “16” in caramel color
- White French fry cups for individual charcuterie
- Sweet 16 cupcake toppers
- Sweet 16 LED sign
- Glass cylinder wall vases
- Earthtone balloon arch/display kit (similar to what we hired out)
- Sweet 16 white and gold napkins
- Bamboo disposable plates for dinner and dessert (these are nice and sturdy!)
- Bamboo flatware (also sturdy!)
We had so much fun planning and hosting this special occasion for our birthday girl! I hope it offers you a guide to get started planning your own special event or maybe even some easy ideas you can use for a fun party.
Every aspect of the birthday party was so fun, from the planning to the setting up to the last of the guests mingling late that night. Best of all, the birthday girl had a blast and we have wonderful memories of celebrating this milestone with her!
All photography curtesy of Emily P Photography.
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