The American party accessory that fits into every quinceanera
A birthday party is one thing. A quinceañera is in a class by itself. It’s a celebration and an event. It’s a 15-year-old girl’s coming of age party and historically it’s a coming out party – as in an introduction to society. It’s a tradition that Latinos celebrate around the world and if they move, they take the tradition with them. In New York, it’s not unusual to see families blending American and Latino traditions at quinceaneras.
Some families have combined the American Sweet 16 tradition with the quinceanera. That could be helpful in giving families an extra year to save for the event that often rivals weddings in its grandeur. Although parents are not marrying off their 15- and 16-year-old daughters, the quinceanera – sometimes called the Fiesta Rose, Quince Anos, and a quince – ushers a girl into womanhood, and it can look (and cost) a lot like a wedding.
Quinceaneras often begin with a religious component, such as Mass. Most New York families still treat the celebration as a tribute to God; it’s the important part, just like in the wedding ceremony. Also expect an extravagant tiered cake, toasts, and candle-lightings just like in wedding festivities. Often the day includes a shoe-changing ceremony instead of a garter removal and the young woman carrying around her beribboned “last doll,” which mark it as a quinceanera instead of a wedding.
But one of the glitzier elements of the celebration puts and exclamation point on the wedding comparisons: the dress. This step into womanhood almost always calls for a full ball gown, as elaborate as any princess bridal gown. White was even the dominant color, but that has shifted. Pastels have quietly flowed in to replace white; now bright colors are often taking center stage, especially in places like New York.
The princess of the day will likely receive a tiara and maybe a scepter instead of a wedding ring. Instead of bridesmaids, a court will be surrounded the birthday girl. The Court of Honor will consist of people special in her life. It could be young men, younger girls, or peers of the quinceanera. They, too, will get to dress up for the day.
Food traditionally would be Latin American dishes, and it would be prepared by neighbors and family. But the American twists now may mean an Italian menu, especially in New York. Themes have become a part of the day and those often influence the food menu. Perhaps quinceanera Hawaiian luau-style. And think caterers instead of aunts, abuelas, and neighbors.
The music also is more likely to be hired than the family jamming together. And there will be dancing. The trend of bridal parties having choreographed dances at the reception may have been co-opted from the quinceanera tradition. After the father and bride dance – oops, make that father and quinceanera waltz – the chambelanes and damas of the court break it down to the latest popular song. That dance was once a choreographed waltz as well, but at one time the waltz was the new dance all the hip kids were doing. Then it was the formal and elegant dance, perfect for this serious occasion. Now some of the serious is gone and everyone wants to have a good, memorable time.
Book your Selfie Station early
Expect a party of this magnitude to include other entertainment as well. Sometimes a hora loca (crazy hour) is part of the schedule and could include anything from karaoke to balloon artists. Beyond the crazy hour but necessary in the entertainment plans is the photo booth. Pictures have always been a part of the day, but photo booths are the American way to make photos interactive entertainment. This is among the first things a New York girl about to take her place as a woman demands at her party. The photo booth allows everyone to be a part of the festivities. Guests as well as the quinceaneara, her court, and family get to participate, create memories, and have fun.
If the right photo booth is chosen, the birthday girl will get a personal hashtag, links to social media, the ability to text pictures, and an album of all the photos taken. Selfie Station is the ultimate ultra-modern photo booth that will do all that and more. It’s brilliantly attractive without taking up too much space or distracting from the glamour. It can be used to add funny filters and green-screen backgrounds; it’s able to record video messages including slo-mo ones. It’s creating digital memories and ones that can be printed out with a personalized frame – an additional party favor for guests. And don’t worry; a Selfie Station photo booth owner will set it up and help guests use all the features.
Although the ceremonies are spread out somewhat more than weddings, weekends are party time. Expect high demand for venues, caterers, entertainment, and photo booths. Just like for a wedding, plan ahead. Call early to rent your Selfie Station.