We’ve broken this checklist down into three timeline sections to make planning a Quinceanera as easy as possible. The first section is long term tasks that need to be thought through and done well in advance. The second seconds is medium term tasks and then lastly the tasks that you only complete in the few weeks leading up to the Quinceanera. This seems like a lot of work, but if you break it down into pieces, the planning process will go much smoother and you might even have fun while you’re at it!
Long Term Quinceanera Checklist (4-8 months away from the event)
1. Set your budget
Setting your budget is one of the most important steps in the quinceanera planning process. If you don’t have a predetermined budget, your planning can get out of control very fast. Having the budget for your Quinceanera guides the rest of your planning process.
2. Pick a date for your Quinceanera
Like setting your budget, this is one of the most important steps in the planning process and none of the subsequent steps can proceed without this date. Think hard about this date, as the time of year/season, day of the week, and holiday weekends can all affect the price of the reception venue (if you choose to book a venue for your Quinceanera reception). Side note: booking a venue on a friday or on the off season can reduce your costs by the thousands.
3. Book the church and minister
Give your church a call and let them know you want to start planning your Quinceanera. Most churches have an office number you can call to talk to someone about planning. Be sure to let them know which date you picked and make sure they have a minister available on that day.
It’s also good to meet with the minister or at least touch base on the phone (if you have time) to go over what has to happen on the day of.
4. Book the Quinceanera reception venue
This is another one of the most important steps in the Quinceanera planning process. The venue has to be booked before you can reserve a caterer, dj, etc. Like what was stated previously, if you want to save some money you can try to book the reception on the off season or on a different day of the week (usually Saturdays are the most expensive).
5. Book the caterer
Make a list of potential entrees you would want and then go to your venue and ask if they have any preferred caterers. Sometimes only certain caterers will cater at your chosen venue. Be sure to meet with each potential caterer and do a taste test (free food!)
6. Book entertainment
Whether you are having a DJ, or full band, you’ll want to do this well in advance and give them the venue location and date of the Quinceanera. If you choose to use a DJ company, be sure to make a playlist and give it to them so they have an idea of what to play.
7. Book photographer
Having quality photos that you’ll cherish for years is an important part of any Quinceanera. It’s pretty easy to find a quality photographer in your area with a simple google search. If you’re running out of budget from booking the other items on this checklist, you can always have a friend or family member take pictures with a camera or smartphone!
8. Select a theme for the Quinceanera
This is an important step because your decorations, baker, and cake style will all depend on your choice. These can be based on the honoree’s hobbies, favorite movies, or something completely make believe (like Unicorns!). Once you have chosen a theme, also be sure to choose a color theme that goes along with it (example: white, pink, blue – white pink green – etc.) You’ll use this in one of the following steps when you pick out decorations.
9. Find a baker and select a cake
You’ll want to do this pretty far in advance so your baker knows when to have you cake ready and so you can make sure the baker can make the exact type of cake you want. If for some reason you can’t find a private baker in your area, many grocery stores (like Publix, Harris Teeter) will make a high quality, professional cake for you based on your theme.
10. Select your Damas and Chambelanes
Start off by making a list of potential damas and chambelanes and then gradually tweak it until it’s perfect. Also make sure that all your damas and chambelanes will be available for the Quinceanera by touching base with them on the phone. They will need to know well in advance so they don’t make other plans!
11. Create your guest list
This is the fun part! Pull out a piece of paper or open a new spreadsheet on your laptop and begin typing in names, phone numbers, AND addresses of everyone you want to invite. You’ll need this information later when you send out your invitations.
12. Decide on Padrinos
Create a document on your laptop with all the items that need to be paid for (many of the steps above) and break it down into who will be paying for what. You may need to setup a meeting with family and friends to figure this part out.
Long term tasks done, and you’re now more than halfway done with planning your Quinceanera!!
Medium Term Quinceanera Checklist (2-4 months away from the event)
1. Start your Quinceanera dress and accessories shopping.
You’ll want to start looking around and visiting boutiques to find the perfect dress for the occasion. This can usually be done in 1-3 trips to boutiques. Once you’ve chosen the perfect dress, buy it and let the store know when you need it by. You’ll have to come back by the boutique a couple times to do fittings and then finally pick up the final fitted dress.
2. Pick out dresses for Chambelanes to wear
Usually you can do this while you are shopping for the celebrant’s dress, as most boutiques/dress shops will also have many other types of dresses for you to choose from.
3. Pick out formal wear for the Damas
This part is usually a lot easier than picking out dresses, just pick suit or tuxedo and then choose your colors (lots of people go with bright colored ties or bowties and even colors to match the Quinceanera theme).
4. Pick and book a choreographer or dance instructor for the Quinceanera waltz.
Again, google is your friend here so search for dance choreographer or dance instructor and you’ll usually get many hits in your area. Your instructor will teach everyone involved how to properly do each dance and enjoy this part, because this is one of the most fun parts of the Quinceanera planning process!
5. Begin picking and buying decorations that go with your Quinceanera theme
There are many places you can get great decorations from. Target, Party express, Etsy, and Amazon all have great selections of Quinceanera decorations. Start stocking up and pick a place to store your decorations until your event date.
6. Confirm tables, chairs, and tent if having an outdoor Quinceanera
Many reception venues will provide these for you, but if not, you’ll need to contact a local party vendor to book chairs and tables for the Quinceanera reception. Ask your reception venue about chair/table vendors if you need them, they’ll usually have great options for you.
7. Block hotel rooms for your guests who are traveling.
Pick a couple local hotels and call them and let them know you’re having a Quinceanera and need to block some rooms. Use your guest list as a guide and give them an estimated number of rooms that you’ll need. They’ll block them for you for free.
8. Create a day of outline – for ceremony and reception
Work with your minister/priest, and the venue owner to draft an outline for the ceremony. Once that is complete, draft an outline for the reception and deliver copies of this to your reception vendors. Confirm with each vendor that they know where to be and when (be sure to call them out in the outline).
9. Choose and mail your Quinceanera invitations
You should have a finalized guest list at this point (and hopefully you have all their addresses too!). There are many places online to find incredibly nice invitations for the Quinceanera. Google is your friend here, and if you don’t find something you like, Etsy has many people that will hand make your invitations and customize them to your liking.
Note: Many people planning a Quinceanera will use an RSVP website or Text RSVP app to gather their RSVP replies which takes a lot of stress out of the planning process. You can use an RSVP website like RSVPify, or even easier, use a text message RSVP app like Replied App so that your guests can RSVP quickly via text message.
10. Book appointments for hair and makeup for the day of the ceremony
Most makeup artists will come on site and do everything the morning of the ceremony. You can pick someone you love and know does good work, or search online for local makeup artists in the area.
Short term checklist – 2 weeks – 1 month before the Quinceanera
1. Get your final head count for the Quinceanera
Your RSVPs will begin to come in a few days after you’ve mailed your invitations. If you used an RSVP website or text RSVP app like Replied App, your RSVPs will be counted automatically for you. Take your final head count and give this to your caterer, reception venue, priest, and chair/table vendor if you booked one. They’ll need this information to be prepared for the Quinceanera!
2. Build your seating chart for the Ceremony and Reception.
USe your final headcount and take a peice of paper and draw out all the tables for the Quinceanera ceremony and reception. Draw circles to represent chairs and put guest names in each of the circles. Remember to put people together that have things in common or put family members together so they have something to talk about!