Perfect Quinceañera vs. Sweet Sixteen

Stuck not knowing which party you want, read about each and then decide.

Quinceañeras and Sweet Sixteens revolve around family and friends with you being the center of attention. Each party represents a celebration in entering woman-hood, but their different traditions separate them in almost all aspects.


The Traditions
The church ceremony is important for a quinceañera; it is a private mass with close family and friends. Quinceañeras are also known for having a court of damas and chambelanes, representing fourteen years of the girl’s life. Sweet Sixteen’s also have a set of traditions including a candle lighting ceremony, where a loved one lights fifteen candles. Similarities between the two parties are the shoe-changing and tiara tradition; where the father changes the girl’s flats with heels and the mother presents her with a tiara.



The Venue
From banquet halls to yachts, Sweet Sixteens and Quinceañeras can be held relatively anywhere. Each party can have a set theme; from a princess theme to a color being a theme throughout, these themes, number of guests, and of course your budget influence the venue you might pick. Depending on how much a family is willing to splurge on the venue, girls can have their party as extravagant as they want.

The Dress
A Quinceañera usually wears a ball gown and the newest trend is to have a less formal dress for the dance part of the party. Quince dresses traditionally were white or pink; yet now a quince girl has a lot more options and can have the dress match any color theme. A sweet sixteen girl has an unlimited choice on her type of dress; she can branch off into all sorts of styles, ranging from strapless, short, or mermaid. For the church ceremony a quince girl cannot show bare shoulders, a shawl or bolero can be used with a strapless style, yet when it comes to the dance part, in general for both events a girl has more freedom in picking the style she wants to wear, opting for more than one dress for the occasion.

The Party
A Quinceañera usually has a dinner-party after the church ceremony in a venue fully decorated according to a color or theme, with party favors or recuerdos given out to guests. Although some Sweet Sixteen’s offer full course meals to their guests, it is also acceptable to offer small finger foods and refreshments. A cake is found in both parties and is typically a reflection of the young lady’s personality and ties in the theme of the event. For music, live bands or DJs are mostly used to play today’s top hits.


The Dances
Sweet Sixteens and Quinceañeras both have a father-daughter dance. Additionally, a Quinceañera has other dance routines: the entrance, the waltz, the toasting, and the surprise dance or baile sorpresa. The entrance and surprise dance can be the most fun of all dance routines, since you can really personalize them.

A Quinceañera is a traditional 15-year-old Latina’s dream of wearing a gown and throwing a big party. Sweet Sixteens embrace new ideas in their party while playing on the traditions of a quince. Whether young and hopeful or wise and older, these two parties are the expression of a young girl becoming a woman.

– By Jennifer Jimenez & Jenny Lu