How to Turn a Quinceanera Into Winter in Wonderland


In Hispanic tradition, a quinceanera is a party thrown to celebrate a girl’s 15th birthday, though the term also refers to the girl being celebrated, who is making the transition from a girl into a woman. Typically, the ceremony includes a mass, the ritual giving of a "last doll" to the girl being celebrated, and a waltz between her and her father. A girl can transform her quinceanera into a winter-themed event with winter-themed decorations, food and and entertainment.

Dresses and Hairstyles

  • Traditionally, the ceremony begins with the girl's formal entry into the main room in which the celebration is held. On her arrival, the assembled guests stand in her honor. It's customary for girls to prepare by wearing elaborate dresses, and some also style their hair in French braids or up-dos. To match the blue-and-white color scheme often associated with a wintry theme, a girl may wear a white ball gown with blue shoes and coordinate beforehand with her "court," a hand-picked group of closest friends, to ensure that each member wears some variation of blue and white. She may also wear a frosty tiara spangled with snowy sparkles against a twilight backdrop.

Wintry Decorations

  • The ceremony is traditionally held either at home or in a public venue such as a banqueting hall, with a main table laid out for the guest of honor and her court in a central location visible to the other guests who are seated at tables throughout the hall. Typically, a space is also marked off for the dance that follows the cutting of the cake. Decorate the table with centerpieces symbolizing the quinceanera's transition into womanhood, such as small butterflies with sparkling, iridescent wings that evoke the wintry theme of the party. Illuminate the dance floor with strings of twinkling white lights, and hang pictures, arranged in chronological order, tracing her journey from birth to the present day.

Toast and Cake

  • An important moment during the ceremony is the toast in which adults convey to the quinceanera how proud they are of her and how they are passing onto her the responsibility for making her own decisions, after which she says a few words of her own. The guests enjoy a formal dinner followed by the ceremonial cutting of a cake, the dimensions of which may be extravagant. Purchase or bake a three-tiered cake with either 15 candles on top or five candles on each tier to signify the quinceanera's age. Divide the cake by tiers and place each tier on a tower of glass filled with ice to create a luminous wintry display.

Music and Dancing

  • One of the central events of a typical quinceanera is the waltz between father and daughter. Accompanying them on the dance floor are the 14 members of the court, seven girls known as damas and seven boys known as chambelins who dance with each other. Following the waltz, the court of honor may perform a carefully rehearsed, choreographed dance. Underscore the winter theme by dancing to one of Tchaikovsky's famous Christmas waltzes, such as "Waltz of the Flowers" or "Waltz of the Snowflakes" from his "Nutcracker" suite. Use blue up-lights to create a crystalline glow and shine disco lights to throw snow-shaped patterns across the dance floor.

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