Most Quinceañera celebrations are large events with a 150 to 300 person guest list. It can be a major challenge to host a large party without the help of a professional event planner. Priscilla Mills, author of: ‘Quinceañera Connection: Your Dream Celebration On Any Budget’, says she frequently receives calls from panicking mothers who are dealing with a last minute crisis.

You deserve to have the best Quinceañera celebration possible. However, in order for your dreams to become a reality there are some tips you should be aware of. The following ten items should be completed ten to twelve months before the quinceañera Celebration.

1. Top of the list: it is recommended you start planning your Quinceañera celebration as early as 10 to 12 months before the event. It is also necessary to be organized and have the right planning tools to work with. This will prevent costly mistakes from happening and allow everyone involved to enjoy the planning process, instead of creating a stressful nightmare.

It’s best to use a Quinceañera planner, even if you plan on hiring a professional party planner. It is also very important to keep all your notes, samples, contracts and invoices in one place.

 2. The next step is to have a ‘getting started’ or planning get-together with immediate family members. Make sure you schedule a time and place where there won’t be any interruptions. The first decision to be made is to set a date for the Quinceañera celebration. Then, have everyone share their ideas regarding what they think the special celebration should be like.

The next decision to be made is the budget – that’s the dollar amount planned to cover the projected costs for the Quinceañera celebration. The size of the budget directly affects all decisions relating to the celebration.

Budget Breakdown Guide

The following should be used only as a guide.
The categories and percentages can be changed depending on the type of services to be contracted and the budgeted dollars available for the event.
52%               Caterer/ beverage/banquet hall rental fees
18%               Photographer and/or videographer fees
5%                 Flowers
5%                Quinceañera dress and accessories
3%-18%         Music depending on whether it is a live band, a DJ or both
3%                 Invitations
5% -10%        Miscellaneous

3. Next on the list is a follow up meeting to discuss other important items. The Quinceañera tradition is to have sponsors for the celebration. Therefore, it is important to determine early on who the sponsor will be and what  they will contribute to the celebration.

Other areas that need to be discussed: will there be the traditional Corte of Honor? If so, who will be invited to participate in the Corte of Honor? What will be the configuration of the Corte? How many girls and how many boys? Or will there be only girls or only boys? Another important decision to be made is whether or not there will be a mass? If so, where will it be held?

4. Contact your preliminary list of sponsors. It is important to find out how involved they want to be. If a sponsor is planning to pay for all or part of the reception, they may want to check out venues with you. Alternately, they may leave the decision-making up to the immediate family.
5. If you are considering hiring a party planner, start interviewing them now. Once you have the names of party planners you should set up a meeting with each one. Before you contract with anyone, check with at least three current referrals for each party planner.
6. Check out venues that fit into your budget and can handle the approximate number of guests who will attend. If you plan to serve alcohol, be sure to check with the venue to make sure it is allowed. If allowed, you will be charged a corkage fee per bottle, which is less costly than paying the full banquet hall price.
7. Interview musicians and photographers. Besides checking the quality of their work, make sure you feel comfortable working with them. Do you feel they are listening to what’s important to you? Past experience is the best indicator of how your event may go so be sure to check current referrals.
Be aware that the Master of Ceremonies is the person who can create a fantastic party or create a situation where your guests leave early. Making the right choice here is critical.
8. Start negotiations with the vendors and venues that are your first choice. Complete negotiations. Have contracts written up, but don’t sign them yet.
9. Take all your contracts to an attorney that specializes in consumer law. Have the attorney review all the contracts. A good attorney will look out for your best interest and protect you from any hidden clauses that could cause a problem or cost you money when it’s too late to make any changes.

Follow these guidelines to help make your dream Quinceañera Celebration a reality!