How to have a candle-lighting at your Sweet 16
An important aspect to Sweet 16 parties is the candle lighting ceremony. It's not necessary, but I've been getting more and more questions about how to organize one.
What is it? A candle lighting ceremony is a way to honor those guests that have made a difference in the celebrant's life.
The traditional way to arrange a candle lighting ceremony is to do the following:
- Pick the most important 16 people in your life that are attending the party; people who have influenced you while growing up. If relatives and friends are invited, this list should include all grandparents, siblings and parents (or extended family). The list would then move on to important aunts and uncles, cousins, other family and friends. If it's just friends, the list should be considered carefully since you don't want anyone's feelings to be hurt. As if I have to tell you, 16-year-old girls are very, very sensitive!
- Now comes the hardest part. Part of the ceremony is saying a little something about each person as you introduce them and call them up to light a candle. Thus, you have to write a paragraph or two about each, you may want to make it a poem, you may want to tell a favorite story or anecdote about something that happened to you, or you may want to mention your favorite thing(s) about that person (like Grandma's meatloaf or what it's like when your Mom and you go shopping).
- A word to the wise--do not go on too long or your guests will be bored and fidgeting while you are trying to carry this off. So keep it short and to the point, but entertaining if you can.
- Sometimes people do unusual things instead of using candles. For instance, they may go to a sign company and have a puzzle made. Then each person puts up a piece of the puzzle. When the puzzle is finally done, it has message like "Happy Birthday," or it's a picture of you as a baby or even now. There are all sorts of creative things you can do.
- Finally, if you are using candles, you need to make sure that you tell the party center to have a table available to set them up. You need to buy the candles; they can be tapers, they can be ball-shaped or they can be creative representing one of your favorite things (like rose-shaped candles). Go to a local candle store and you'll see what they have available...it's amazing!
- Schedule the ceremony at the beginning of the evening; otherwise, it's an excuse for your guests to beg out early! Do it before dinner is served or between dinner and dessert. Make sure to tell the DJ or band beforehand so they can work it into their evening schedule.
Have a Happy Sweet 16!