A Sweet Sixteen Party Rocks the Ballroom

“Groovy?” Hardly. “Awesome?” So 2010. It’s hard to keep up with teens, because what’s hot just changed like, uh, five seconds ago. But, some things really never change. Girls – and guys – just want to have fun. And, they love to dance. So, when Justina Juvonen-Dodge’s daughter, Camilla Grover-Dodge, was about to turn 16 last fall, Justina knew that a dance party would be the perfect scenario for her surprise birthday party. Here’s how she made it happen . . .

Call on the Superheroes – her BFFs.

Surprising a teen is a big deal; we know how they love to be in control of their own schedules. Rather than attempt to go it solo, Justina wisely included three of Camilla’s closest friends – Vanessa Stoltzfus, Katie Null and Katie Kubis – in her circle of trust, and “Mission: Surprise Camilla” was devised. A decoy party, ostensibly for another friend, would get Camilla dressed up without raising suspicion. The girls arranged to spend the afternoon with Camilla at Luxe Salon, getting party-ready with hair and makeup appointments.

It’s All About That Bass (and playlist).

For a teen party, the DJ is the make-or-break of the whole night. Play the right tunes, and the party rocks. DJ Freez was given the playlist of Camilla’s favorites in advance, provided by her close friend Vanessa, thus helping to create the ultimate dance party. A photo booth with plenty of props made for the perfect selfies. Professional photographs also added to the festivities.

From Art Deco to Uptown Funk.

Transforming the elegant, black-and-white-themed Hamilton Ballroom into a contemporary dance club was a must. The site of scores of weddings and other adult celebrations, Justina called on the décor experts at Shumaker PDT to bring in club-style lounge seating in white leather to which she added her own hot-pink pillows.

Claudia Himes, president of Special Occasions, was engaged to dress the tables with her always-on-point linens. “The elegance of the art deco Hamilton Ballroom wears black very well,” recalls Claudia, who dressed the high-top tables in sophisticated black tone-on-tone stripe floor skirts and topped them with bright-white textured cloths. “Every party room needs a pop of color, and we did just that with magenta satin floor skirts on a few 60-inch round guest tables finished with black-and-white print runners,” she continues. Buffet tables were dressed in a high-energy stripe.  “A darker fabric works well on serving tables, as it’s more forgiving throughout the event.  All in all, the combination of fabrics set the stage for a fun, dressed-up party!”

Make it Swing with an Awesome Chandelier.

The Hamilton Ballroom’s classic, signature black-and-white checkered dance floor was glammed up with a trio of chandeliers suspended over its center. The remaining lights were dimmed, and the walls were washed with pink and purple uplights to add to the club atmosphere.

Rock the Buffet Until It’s Gone.

Hey, dancing burns calories. Food – the fun kind – is a must, as are lots of water, sodas and lemonade (pink, of course). Justina created a menu of teen-friendly foods with caterer Greenfield Restaurant that kept the guests’ energy levels high: Black Angus sliders, chicken quesadillas, mini-pizzas and sweet potato fries. Playing with your food was encouraged at the chocolate fountain, where fresh fruit and the makings for s’mores were sweet options. Cupcakes rounded out the menu.

Missing RSVPs? Shake It Off!

Teens are notorious for not responding to invitations. For those among us who have not planned such a party, they are clueless as to the costs and complications involved in not knowing how many guests are attending. This is where Camilla’s three BFFs came to the rescue, keeping tabs on the invited guests who planned to attend.
“The party was fantastic,” says Camilla, the guest of honor. “I was completely surprised when I walked in. And, everything looked so cool!” Totally fab, we say! (Oops, is that soooo yesterday?)

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