I begged my mother for a quinceañera when I was a young girl, but because of the high costs associated with having one and the fact that I had two younger sisters who wanted their own quince’s, my parents decided to bypass the celebration as a cost-saving (and fair) measure. Many families get stressed out by the idea of throwing a blowout quinceañera and the potential debt it could incur (banquet halls, elaborate dresses, and stretch limos can all add up to one hefty bill that could take years to pay off!). But, before you dip into your 401K consider that it is possible for your familia to have a traditional rite of passage party without breaking the banco. Here, 15 tips to save on everything from the DJ to the invitations.
1. Send digital invites. Going paperless may not go over well with your abuela, but it’ll trim your budget big time! Evite, Paperless Post, Glo, or Pingg allow you to send an invitation without printing or stamp costs.
2. Use an alternative to flowers for your centerpieces. Flores are are expensive, so instead create centerpieces around bows, balloons, candles or crafty finds. For example, buy $1 mason jars or glass bowls from dollar stores, fill them with candy, stones, seashells, floating candles—anything that fits your quince theme.
3. Go with a buffet instead of the traditional sit-down dinner. Enlist relatives and familia to make trays of food and you’ll avoid major catering charges!
4. Get sponsors (padrinos) to help with the costs. Family members will want to chip in and help, from providing the drinks and beverages for your banquet hall to funding the purchase of the quinceañera’s dress.
5. Try this sheet cake trick. Fondant-draped cake, silky ribbons, and elaborate decorations can be costly. Instead, go with a smaller cake then supplement with a larger sheet cake that you can purchase at your local supermarket.
6. Create your own playlist, instead of hiring a DJ. Sites like Spotify allow you to make and sync playlists from Salsa to Shakira (just make sure your venue has a professional sound system built in).
7. Do your own hair and makeup. Thank Dios for YouTube! Your daughter will be able to pull off any look with beauty how-to tutorials. We love Latina mom vlogger DulceCandy. Hollywood your daughter’s theme? Then try Dulce’s makeup tutorial for a perfect red carpet look.
8. Enlist your family and friends to take photos, instead of hiring a photographer. With so many filters, apps, and good-quality resolutions from mobile phones, you’ll have pictures that you’ll cherish forever! Give family members and amigas a list of the important moments you want them to capture.
9. Shop the sales for your dress. Some retailers, like David’s Bridal, will host mega-sales two times a year (hello $99 dresses!), typically the beginning of Spring and Fall, to make room for next season’s merchandise.
10. Pick a venue that lets you bring in todo. Instead of renting a ballroom in a hotel or going to a restaurant, save $$$ by hosting your quince at a hall that allows you to DIY.
11. Don’t host her quince on Saturday. Saturday nights are popular but you’ll save big when you host on any other day. If the actual birthday falls on a weekday, say a Wednesday, having the party on that day will make the celebración extra special.
12. Make your own favors. Whip up abuela’s yummy cookies or chocolate-covered almonds. Everyone loves edibles!
13. Have a candy table. In lieu of favors (or even a cake), leave a sweet taste in your guests mouth with a table full of dulces. Pick a specific color scheme to match the theme of the party.
14. Skip the full bar. Mojitos and margaritas are expensive liquor that can add up, so give your guests a choice of wine or beer to sip throughout the night.
15. Schedule a limo for pick-up and drop-off only. Make a grand entrance without grand precios. If you’re hiring a limo, get one to drop you off and pick you up rather than having the limo wait throughout the ceremony and photos.