How To Plan a Quinceanera: the Ultimate Guide

How To Plan a Quinceanera: the Ultimate Guide

January 23, 2022
By Erin Clark

Read more and get $30 OFF our dresses with a FREE Queenly account

Quinceaneras are birthday celebrations cloaked in tradition and heritage. They are the parties every Hispanic girl dreams of; a party only rivaling their wedding day.

And now it’s your turn! We love this journey for you. We know how exciting this milestone is and we also understand how overwhelming the planning can be. Luckily for you, we are here to help. We have gathered a complete list of tips and tricks to get you from today until the grand entrance to your big bash. The partying we will leave to you.

Know Your Limits

If you are opting to hire an event planner, do this first. You will be able to coordinate with them the funds for each vendor and necessity for your party and they will handle the financial responsibilities from here. For the sake of giving you all the information you’ll need to plan a perfect party, let’s assume you have decided to handle the preparations yourself, or with the help of a family member.

Budget planning isn’t the most fun part of quince preparations, but it is so important. Before you check anything else off the party list, you must set a budget. Knowing what you can spend before you start planning is the only way to ensure that you don’t run out of money halfway through planning.

Once you know your bottom line, you need to allocate the funds. Each piece of the puzzle needs a monetary amount attached so you can find options within your designated price range. It might not be as fun, but it’ll keep you from falling in love with a vendor that you can’t afford.

Pro tip: don’t allocate all the funds. Leave a small amount aside for backup. There will be items that will be above the set amount that you can’t live without. If you have a little money set aside as a rainy day fund, you won’t have to compromise on that must-have.

To Theme or Not To Theme

Now that you dealt with the finances, the fun can begin. Start with the theme; this will set the scene for everything else you buy and plan. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy or wild, but at least have a color scheme you will stick to.

These details are usually already in your mind, but nail them down and be comfortable not budging on them. If you start to waiver on colors or themes your planning will start to suffer.

Part of the tradition of quinceaneras are the over-the-top themes and decor, so don’t be afraid to let your imagination run wild with ideas; just make sure you can make them happen before promising anything to anyone.

Plan out the decor and hire vendors that specialize in the theme or style that you are wanting to exude. You don’t want to hire a photographer that specializes in portraits when you need someone to capture all the candid moments.

Be sure to look at portfolios and reviews; once you hire your vendors, make sure to give them a full rundown of theme and event expectations so everyone is on the same page. This is especially important for the music; you want to ensure the DJ or band has the songs needed for traditional dances as well as any songs that definitely shouldn’t be played.

Pro tip: don’t tell ANYONE your theme or color schemes other than those helping plan and pay. Keeping your details a secret will ensure that people don’t start adding input and throw you off course.

Who’s Who

After nailing down your theme, decide who is getting an invite. You want to get a guest list together ASAP so you can ensure that you’ve put enough money into food and drinks. Also nailing down a guest list before picking a venue will ensure that your space can handle all the family and friends attending.

While it is essential to send out formal invites, we will get into those in a minute, you can start to spread the word if you want to give people the extra time. Especially if you’re inviting family members from out of town, give them a heads up about the date so they can start planning. Weddings usually send out a save the date, so verbally telling friends and family about your upcoming party is a great way to put the event in their minds so RSVP time is much easier.

One more thing: don’t forget to pick your court while you’re making a guest list! It’s important that your court knows and agrees to the terms before you start inviting others to your party, so if someone isn’t comfortable with everything you can change them out for a different friend or family member and they can still be invited to attend.

Where To Party

Ok, now that you know how many people you can expect to show up, nail down a place to throw your bash. Having a guest count and theme on the table before picking a venue will ensure that not only will your venue be able to accommodate the number of guests attending, but will also be able to make your thematic visions come to life.

While you’re searching for a venue, make sure to keep entrance, any planned dances or entertainment, and the flow of the evening in mind. It could be a beautiful spot, but if you are planning to adhere to most of the quince traditions, like a court dance, and there isn’t a designated stage or dance floor then it won’t be the right place for you.

If possible, look into the point of contact at the venue of your choosing right away and establish a good dialogue in the beginning. That way, as you get closer to your party, you won’t be in the dark or confused about any details and the party will go off without a hitch.

Also, be sure to create an order of events with timestamps for everything and email it at least two weeks early AND bring one in with you when you arrive. This way there isn’t any confusion about the evening and your contact is ready to direct the staff so you can enjoy your night.

Pro tip: Be sure to bring a thank you card or tip for the venue contact. A party like this requires a lot of contact and planning, so a small gift of some sort shows you appreciate all the hard work that went into the planning.

Be sure to bring a thank you card or tip for the venue contact

Larder and Libations

Food and drinks go hand in hand with the venue space. Once you know where your party is taking place, plan what you’ll be serving to everyone. Take the theme and size of the party into account when choosing your dinner. Buffet and sit-down dinner will take on very different orders of events: a sit-down dinner will be more formal but take a lot longer to serve whereas a buffet will have a more casual feel but be a quicker dinner to ensure that more dancing and mingling happens.

Food for thought: food truck parties are trending right now so if you are planning a quince in warmer months and have the option of being outdoors, consider hiring a few food trucks for the evening. It will be so fun and offer a lot of variety, and many times will cost a little bit less than more formal dinners.

Check Yes or No

It’s time to pick and send your invitations! You have two choices: you can send them via the mail or pass them out, or you can do an online invitation. Sending out something in the mail is obviously more traditional and offers a more formal vibe.

You can still add a URL to a webpage to make RSVP time seamless, or add a menu card if you are doing a sit-down dinner. If it is a black-tie affair, definitely add little cards for the directions and venue information so your guests are fully prepared for everything when they arrive.

If you choose the e-vite route, make sure to add the link directly to your party webpage so they can get all the information in one place. Evites do have an advantage these days due to the convenience and the various options out there for free. Those can be harder to find in specific colors and themes so you might have to be flexible.

Whichever route you go, try to go for invitations that display your theme or at the very least coordinate to your colors so your guests can choose outfits accordingly. State any dress code or mandatory arrival or departure times on the invite and be sure to send them out at least 8 weeks in advance so you’ll have plenty of time for guests to RSVP.

Say Yes to the Dress

Now it’s time for our favorite part: choosing your dress! Your dress isn’t the most important part of the party but it is one of the oldest traditions when it comes to quinceaneras. Special ball gowns were handmade for girls celebrating their arrival to womanhood and we love the idea of keeping with traditions and maybe adding in some modern flair.

Ball gowns are the most traditional style of gown you can wear for your quince, and the good news is they’re still in style! If you want to add some modern twists, try a two-piece ball gown set, or an asymmetrical neckline. Both styles are trending right now so finding the perfect fit for you will be a cinch.

Since the 1800’s, the most traditional colors for quinceanera dresses have been pink, purple, and blue. Deep colors that were reserved for royalty and special occasions. Today, we like the idea of mixing modernity into tradition by breaking free from the main three colors and coordinating your gown with the color scheme or party theme you chose. Check out these ball gown options here:

Themes and color schemes play out over the entire course of the party, from invites to decor. So naturally, your dress should do the same. The big thing is to make sure your dress stands out but fits into the vibes of your party. You don’t want to pick a pink lace gown if you choose a safari theme for your birthday. Similarly, you don’t want to necessarily wear animal print if your theme is princess or butterflies.

Another practice that we can totally get behind is changing your gown up to three times for the party. Traditionally, you have a very formal ball gown for the mass and grand entrance, then you’ll have the reception or party dress, something that ties into your theme a little more closely and has more movement. The last outfit change usually only occurs if you do a traditional dance with your court and need a specific look to tie into the choreography. Consider these styles for your party:

 Big princess-like ball gowns can be worn for the first half and more traditional practices that you adhere to then you can choose something in a funner livelier silhouette to dance in all night

This is a great way to not only have your looks ever-changing for your big day but also to tie in all the traditions of generations past with the modern woman you are today. Big princess-like ball gowns can be worn for the first half and more traditional practices that you adhere to then you can choose something in a funner livelier silhouette to dance in all night. We are thinking a sheath gown or fit and flare would be right at home for the party. When it comes time for a big dance number with your court, try something in a high slit option; a silhouette that will hug the figure but offer movement and intrigue while you dance.

Best Foot Forward

A time-honored tradition for girls at their quinceanera is the shoe ceremony that takes place before the father-daughter dance. It’s a custom in which the birthday girl will take a seat center stage and her father or important parental figure will change her shoes. Girls are expected to wear ballet flats to the mass and entrance to the dance, then be placed into heels during the party signifying her entrance into womanhood.

It’s a sweet moment between a birthday girl and the family member she is closest with to celebrate becoming a woman and it is generally a huge deal; so you are going to really want to plan the shoes properly.

Great flat options to start the night will include simple designs or something with a little sparkle. They are meant to be youthful so don’t go too serious with these. Your heels should be more mature in style but coordinate well with your dress. Considering this is a more formal affair, think of strappy heels in a color that compliments your dress.

Court Order

Your court is designed to be your closest friends and family members and they precede you in the grand entrance to your party. Your court is made up of pairs, so be sure to coordinate suits and dresses to complement each other and be a setup to your outfit.

A great way to do this would be to choose dress options for your girls in the contrasting color to your dress. So if you choose something in blue, choose a gown or a variety of gowns in orange hues that will make your gown pop when standing next to each other for pictures.

Also remember that if you are changing outfits for a special dance number, decide whether or not your court will need to do the same. If the consensus is no, then make sure that the court gown you pick offers them movement to make sure your court dance is flawless. We recommend A-line gowns or tulle for the court; these are options that will look formal and pretty but they are styles that will be easy to move in so your dance doesn’t suffer.

Now It’s Time To Party!

Congratulations and happy birthday! Following these steps when planning your Quinceanera will ensure that every detail is covered and accounted for. No matter what you choose, remember this is your big night and you should do things in the exact style and manner that speaks to your most authentic self. Remember that it’s ok to be you; everyone else is already taken!

Get the app.

One girl's dress is another girl's treasure.

Apple App Store LogoGoogle Play Store Logo
Get the Queenly app on iPhone or Android
Contact Us
880 Harrison St Suite 204
San Francisco, CA 94107
Mon-Fri 9am-8pm PST
Sat-Sun 11am-5pm PST

Contact Us
Terms of ServicePrivacy PolicyReturn PolicyCookies PolicyCopyrightShipping InfoPayment Methods Accepted Protection Status