Sweet Sixteen on a Budget!

Darn that Sweet Sixteen show on MTV for warping kids into thinking that those kinds of events are reasonable at that age...or on most parent's budgets. So, when I was asked to plan a Sweet Sixteen event a couple of months ago I was excited for the challenge and felt like I could create a big budget look for what I consider a modest budget for the scale of event I had in my mind. The only parameters I was given were the event location and the theme of zebra and fuschia. So, after checking out the location: reaction was positive. Really reasonable price and a great layout for 100 or so kids. But, what's up with the gymnasium style floor? That graphic pattern is just ridiculous!

First things first, it was time to brainstorm and I decided with a theme like zebra and just go all the way. Over the top. Creating a fine line between obnoxious and fabulous. 

So, after hours and hours of shopping online for deals on ebay, and even, I knew it was time to hit the thrift stores and turn some junk into genius.

After 10 thrift stores and 10 hours our largest suv was jam packed with items I was looking forward to 
re-purposing. These lamps, most of them with a price of $4.00 or so, had that 60's/70's oversized look I was searching for. Some spray paint, craft paper and a few feather boas later and this is what we had:

 Somewhere I had seen a sucker topiary and thought, huh...I bet I could do that. So, I did. party stuff at great prices. The girls loved their banner.

These large square prints, pretty cute as is, were about 35" x 35" and were half off at Goodwill. $6/each. I thought they'd make a fun welcome right when you walked in with the girl's initials on them. So I double-stick-taped some of the zebra paper right on top of the glass and used pink scrapbooking paper for both the border and the center. Cardboard letters covered in elmer's glue and silver glitter were glued right on top. After putting them on some inexpensive easels and using a couple of pink walmart clip-on lamps as picture lights, we had ourselves a pretty cute (and inexpensive) custom welcome.

With some of the extra paper and a couple of the cardboard letters, I used some foam rectangles on the front doors to continue the theme. 

Centerpieces were a whole other beast. I wanted them to be a focal point, high enough so that they wouldn't interfere with people talking at the tables and yes, just a bit over the top. So, I loaded up at a 50% off sale at Hobby Lobby with pink, black and white flowers and every silver branch I could find and went to town. Using some simple glass cylinders and a floral foam circles covered in gift bag filler, I just layered them all in focusing on height and drama. Battery operated LED lights were used in the vases surrounded by fuschia tuille. And, voila! We had our centerpieces!

 Sure, we would have loved to do chair covers...but, really, at some point you just have to remember it's for kids and save the money.

Our lounge area came together with the help of some blow up loveseats, walmart folding tables and rug and a little bit of elbow grease. 

 A local woman makes the most amazing cakes out of her home. This was $65.00!

 I bought 90% of the glassware we needed for the desert table, candy section, candles and vases for anywhere from ten cents to $2.00. Bargain. 

Theres nothing like creating something...whether it's interior design or an event...and then sitting back and watching the people for whom you created it, love it and feel special.
 Didn't know I do events? 
Welp, now you do! Call or email me for more details and have a great Thanksgiving week!



Carrie DeVine said...

Jen....AMAZING!!!! What girl wouldn't love to have this as her 16th birthday party!!! I should have had you helped me with Thanksgiving....I am out of time!!

jgiles said...

Very, very cute. I had Sami and Alexis in my fourth grade class many, many years I feel old. They are all grown up. You did a great job and I know they appreciated all of your hard work.

Jen of All Trades said...

Ahhh, thanks Carrie. I would have loved to have had you there that day helping out because you have such a great eye for that kind of thing but I hope you had fun at the Iowa Game! Jean, I totally forgot you had them in class! Yes, they've really grown up and I think they had a ball. It made me feel good to be able to do it for them. :)

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