Looking for a great party idea for a sweet 16 that is lots of fun for both gals and guys. Pitch this backyard bonfire idea to your teenager. This party was for a popular soon to be 16 year old whose Mom wanted her daughter and friends to have a good time in a safe supervised environment.
I love that this party was affordable and doable for anyone to pull together. Key items to pull the party off are: fire pit, bales of hay for sitting, outdoor lighting solution, and a set-up for food.
First task is to tackle the fire pit. There are several approaches to building a pit depending on how long you plan to use it. For this event, a level spot in the yard was chosen for each pit. Large store bought bricks were stacked in a circular pattern – at least 4 layers high. Bags of gravel were added to the center as a base for the pit. Alternatively, a store bought portable pit works too. For fun, color packets were added to the fire to change the color of the fire throughout the night. These are not recommended for use with food, so roast those marshmallows beforehand. Bales of hay were brought in for seating and placed at a safe distance around the pit. Purchase a few yards of rustic colorful fabric and cut in large squares to use for seating covers.
Lighting can truly transform an event. While practical for an evening event, lights also add to the decor to set the mood. There are several options depending on the budget and set-up time. You can use bamboo poles with candles or lanterns, outdoor lamps on poles with hanging loops that stick in the ground or my preferred solution: string lights. Purchase a few strings of mini globe lights and attach between wood poles purchased from your local hardware store. Drape in a square pattern around the party area or diagonally across the center area. In addition, it is a great idea to line the walkway and/or entryway with lights. If you do not have pathways lights already, simply place battery operated tea lights in paper bags for a cost effective and fire safe solution.
Who doesn’t love seeing their name in lights. To make the night even more special, the dessert table featured the birthday girl’s name in lights. After all, it was her night to shine as the star of the party. Rustic decor elements were used such as burlap fabric, an aged suitcase, and a weathered backdrop. A custom handmade rag banner was draped across the front of the table with burlap flowers on each end. Chalkboard tags and labels were used for the “Sweets” cake banner, popcorn bags, and cookies. Chocolate coated krispy treats were placed on a mirrored wood tray surrounded by pine cones.
Marquee Light DIY
Long before marquee lights began showing up in local craft stores and other major retailers, DIY’ers were coming up with alternatives to the heavy metal versions. Wanting to try this myself for awhile, this event was the perfect opportunity to put my crafting skills to work. To learn how to make these, I used Oh hello Friend’s tutorial as a guide.
Admittedly, this project took longer than anticipated. Take note that cutting the opening out of each of the letters and adding the lights to each letter will take some time. You want to make sure the edge is cleaned after removing the backs of the letters. Adding lights into each hole make take some time as well as I found I needed to clean around each hole since the cardboard cracks as the hole is drilled. I used string lights which I tied up behind each letter using twist ties. The extra cord leading to the plug was wrapped in burlap fabric.
So the big question is would I recommend you make these yourself or purchase them now that they are readily available? Depends on a couple of scenarios. First let me state that I made these over a year ago, apparently before they arrived in my local craft stores. So, my passion to make them was higher. If you have the time and enjoy crafting and the reward of self achievement then go for it. Otherwise, if you are short on time and/or would rather spend your time on other projects, I say make the purchase and spend your time decorating them. In addition, I have only found smaller size options in the stores, so making your own gives you more flexibility to make larger letters.