A quinceanera, or quince for short, is a coming of age event for 15-year-old girls celebrated in many Latin societies. In the United States, it is especially popular in Mexican-American communities. The event may be marked by a small gathering and ceremony, but often parents, grandparents and godparents plan years ahead for a quinceanera that is quite elaborate.
Many celebrate this coming of age event with the reception only, but some also include religious customs. If you plan to precede the reception with a religious ceremony, you may need to reserve the date with the church at least one year in advance. The religious ceremony is part of the tradition of the Catholic church, so check on possible requirements such as classes that must precede the quinceanera Mass. Also check on the rules regarding regarding photography and videography, flower petals and music.
While the church ceremony may be of upmost important to parents, the location of the reception is likely to be of most concern to the soon-to-be 15-year-old young woman. Reception locations for a quinceanera celebration range from the family's home to four-star hotels. If there will be a Mass and the church has a banquet hall, booking this type of facility may save money and increase convenience. Reserving a space with a dance floor in a public garden is another option. Consider your budget, the number of people who will be attending and the level of extravagance you desire.
The most important guests at a fiesta de quinceanera are the girl's sponsors and honor court. The sponsors, called the "padrinos" and "madrinas" in Spanish, are family members, such as grandparents and godparents, and friends who help with the cost of the event. The honor court, called "damas" and "chambelanes" in Spanish, typically consists of the girl's closest friends and her siblings and cousins. Let family ties and personal preference determine the remainder of the guest list.
The quinceanera traditionally wears a ball gown and her court is dressed in gowns and tuxedos. If there is to be a religious ceremony, a tiara, cross, Bible and a scepter will be needed.
For the reception, the following items are desirable: a cake, catering, music -- whether a band or disc jockey, photographer, videographer, flowers, elegant glasses and dishes, a guest book, invitations, guest favors, and for later use, a memory album. The theme of the reception, if it has one, will dictate how the cake is decorated and the type of party accessories. Also a list of dances the court will perform is needed and the music for the quince princess and her dad.