A quinceañera, the celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday, is a rite of passage that many young women and their families look forward to for years. These parties can be quite lavish and therefore expensive to host, so understandably many parents tend to budget for them far in advance.
If you’re planning one, whether it’s coming right up or years away, it’s typical to wonder: How much does a quinceañera cost? How can I make it affordable without breaking my budget?
Here, you’ll learn more about:
• What is a quinceañera?
• How much does a quinceañera cost?
• How can I budget for a quinceañera?
What Is a Quinceanera?
A quinceañera is a unique type of party that celebrates a girl’s 15th birthday in certain Latin American cultures. The term “quinceañera” translates to “the girl who is 15,” but it represents something much larger than that. A quinceañera signifies when a young girl becomes a woman who is mature, capable, and independent. This event also serves as a symbolic gesture that reaffirms her religious beliefs and commitment to the church.
Usually, a quinceañera involves hosting a religious ceremony and then following that ceremony with a party. When it comes to planning a quinceañera, many people take it as seriously as a wedding, and the expense can be similar to how much a wedding costs, too.
Average Cost of a Quinceanera
How much does a quinceañera cost? There is no one average cost that pinpoints how much a quinceañera is. The cost can vary greatly depending on where the party takes place, how many people are invited, and what kind of event is hosted.
In terms of ballpark figures, how much a quinceañera costs usually ranges from $5,000 to $20,000. To sock away that much cash, you will likely need solid motivation to save money. Thinking of the happiness of the event and the memories it will create will probably help.
Common Expenses for a Quinceanera
To set and stick to a budget, it can be wise to look at the different components of a quinceañera. How much this party costs will depend on what is spent on things like food, decorations, and clothing. When creating a budget (which requires major discipline with money) for a quinceañera, it can be helpful to plan for the usual expenses and to determine where it’s a good idea to splurge and where to save.
With this in mind, parents can take their time saving up for the event each month. A plan can be mapped out in a variety of ways, from using pencil and paper to making a budget in Excel.
What follows is a quinceañera budget list with some of the key expenses to keep in mind.
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Similar to hosting a wedding, the venue can be one of the more expensive aspects of throwing a quinceañera. It typically accounts for at least 10% of one’s budget but can go much higher. The more people invited, the larger the event space will need to be, and the more this cost can rise. Also consider whether the location you are interested in comes with tables and chairs or whether you will also need to rent those, adding to the price tag.
How much food is required and the type of food and service style can affect the cost of food for a quinceañera. Whatever the case, this is typically among the big-ticket items in a budget, often accounting for 35% of the total expense.
Having a buffet where guests serve themselves tends to cost less than hiring servers to bring the food to each individual table. Choosing to serve late-night snacks and to have an open bar for the adults can also affect the price of food.
The birthday girl normally wears a dress similar to a wedding dress, which can be quite expensive, and close family members may also require formal wear for the event. This typically is a celebration that involves some serious wardrobe shopping that can easily cost around 10% of the total budget.
Photo and Video
Many families choose to hire a professional photographer, videographer, or both to capture special moments from the event. If you are among their ranks, then you need to include that expense in your party planning and plan how you want to stick to that budget. This can take about 12% of your total funds for the celebration.
Some parents will want to hire a DJ, live band, or other form of entertainment for the quinceañera. Mariachi bands and photo booths are other popular features of these celebrations.
Decorations are a good example of a quinceañera expense that can vary greatly depending on how much someone wants to spend on flowers, linens, flatware, and other decorations.
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Because planning a quinceañera can be a lot of work, some families may choose to hire a party planner to help them out. This person will typically have an extensive network of resources and can take the time and stress of planning off the hands of the parents.
Tips for Budgeting for a Quinceanera
After crunching the numbers on the expenses mentioned above, some families may find they need to scale back on their plans. Saving money is important, and no one should be saddled with major debt for a celebration. Let’s look at a few ways to make planning a quinceañera on a budget easier.
Planning the Date in Advance
The closer it gets to the event date, the more venues and other vendors are likely to charge. Planning the event far in advance can make it easier to select less expensive dates for the party and to have a top pick of vendors. The less expensive vendors may book up faster than the pricier ones.
The clothes for this big celebration are likely to be worn only once. Why pay a steep price and then have them gathering dust? Renting formal dresses, shoes, tuxedos, or suits instead of buying them can help lower the cost of clothing for the event.
Finding a Reasonable Venue
Another reason it helps to plan the event far in advance is because it gives parents and their daughter time to look for different venus. Community centers, churches, or a family home may all present affordable options for a quinceañera.
It’s time to get crafty. Instead of buying expensive decorations, have some fun by planning some DIY projects and save some cash at the same time. Arranging your own store-bought flowers, for instance, can save a bundle.
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Limiting Number of Guests
As tempting as it can be to invite tons of family and friends to such an important event, the more people invited to a quinceañera, the more the party will cost. Limiting the guest list to just nearest and dearest friends and family can make it easier to find a smaller and more affordable venue. It can also mean that you will spend less on food, drinks, and decor.
Paper invites and stamps add up surprisingly fast, especially when you have a long guest list. Keep things low-cost and environmentally friendly by sending out e-invites instead. This is a quick way to cut a major cost from a quinceañera budget..
Filming Videos and Photos Individually
As noted briefly earlier, hiring a professional photographer or videographer can be expensive. Asking a friend or family member who enjoys photography or videography to capture the event can help cut down on this expense or even make it free.
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Banking With SoFi
Working towards a big financial goal like hosting a quinceañera? Now is a good time to open a SoFi bank account and start saving. When you sign up for our Checking and Savings with direct deposit, your money may grow faster. We offer a competitive APY and don’t charge any of the usual fees.
How much does a typical quinceañera dress cost?
While most quinceañera dresses cost around $200 to $300, they can be much more expensive. Renting a dress or buying a used one can help save money here. Don’t forget to budget for alterations and accessories like shoes and jewelry.
Who traditionally pays for a quinceañera?
The parents of the birthday girl are the ones who usually pay for a quinceañera. That’s why it’s important they have a quinceañera budget so they can save accordingly.
How long should you plan for a quinceanera in advance?
It can be helpful to plan for a quinceañera at least a year in advance, especially if the parents hosting the event need to save money for it. Depending on the scale of the event, parents may want to start saving even sooner. Parents can create a quinceañera cost breakdown so they know what to save for and where to cut back.
Photo credit: iStock/alvarez
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