Back on the Sweet 16, I Mean Sweet 60 Circuit

Back in the dark ages of the early 1970’s when I was a teen, there was one party that every young girl HAD to have – a sweet 16. It was a coming of age ritual and it also gave the upwardly mobile folks in my neighborhood a chance to throw a soiree. There was a catered dinner or lunch, favors, elaborate opening of gifts, making a bonnet for the birthday girl out of ribbons, and usually included an activity such as making a memory candle by dripping hot wax over an empty Chablis bottle. (Who still has theirs?)

All kinds of parties required all kinds of outfits.  Some parties tried to outdo the other. It was really hard for a girl like me to keep up with the Joneses, and despite the fact that I had a lot of friends and attended a major amount of sweet sixteen parties, I never had one myself.

SIDE ANECDOTE: Just to let you know what kind of mother-in-law (Dori of Blessed Memory) I was privileged to have with my ex-husband (who was more like a mom and a role model to me) here is my Dori Sweet Sixteen Story. ┬áMy ex-husband Jeff went steady with a girl named Debbie when he was a teenager. Debbie must have been like me in that her parents had no intention of giving her a sweet sixteen party. At any rate, Jeff’s mom Dori threw Debbie a surprise sweet sixteen party so she would have one. That’s the kind of woman she was, and oh if I had only known her then in my era, I too would have gotten my sweet sixteen. I could do a whole blog on having this kind of a mother-in-law as most are not so lucky.

At any rate, those days are long gone, but now I am on the birthday party circuit again this year. It is a joyous time to celebrate that VERY BIG birthday with my wonderful friends who are being honored, and feted in many fabulous ways. Call it the Sweet Sixty Circuit, although in all honesty, a few have been Sweet Sixty-five. I’ll never tell who.

As written about before, I am a real party girl. I am enjoying every minute of these parties – each one more clever, and elaborate than the next. (which made me think of this past blog on my own upcoming big birthday in May)

I’ve been to one that was a television reality show taping, very glamorous. I’ve been to one that had one of the funniest life videos I have ever seen. I’ve been to one that brought out the flower child in us – a hippie party. I have been to the elegant luncheons. I’ve even been to one that was a knock-off of Oprah’s Favorite Things, only this one featured a giveaway of the birthday girl’s favorite things. How super creative!!

This one was a surprise and we hid behind her old high school portraits.

blog Shelly better

More photos below:

Chippendales always a treat!

Blog Sharon


Here we were suddenly all looking just like the Birthday Girl!

Blog Denise

Another fun aspect is that there is usually a song and dance routine involved, the better to honor the special woman properly. We get very zealous with these in Houston!

Loving parties like I do, this is the best, happiest time for me. Although I am loving being on the wedding circuit too, I am having so much fun celebrating with friends at these parties and looking forward to my own in May. Because I love to dance more than anything, I requested a dance party. Let’s see what I end up getting.

And the best part? No one is even thinking about that looming number of 6-0. No one is intimidated, or depressed. The fact that we are healthy and alive and still youthful is a great reason to celebrate. As you can see by the photos, these are celebrating the milestone, and not the leaving behind of our younger years. We are vibrant women, and much more youthful than the preceding generations.

Now back to reminiscing about those old Sweet 16 parties – what do you remember?


  • I still remember my Sweet 16 at John’s in the Benson East in Pa…and of course my memory large goblet dripping in wax.It was a wonderful day! But..what I remember most is that 2 of my Aunts insisted on helping my parents pay for it,because my Dad had lost his job at that time. Unfortunately I no longer have the memory goblet..but I do have the rememberance of 2 wonderful Aunts who through their generousity helped make a special day…and 6 months ago a special childhood friend helped make me a 60th party…I am still blessed.

  • Hope your 60 party is as much of a blast as mine was. By the way, I threw it for myself. If I waited around for my husband and son to think of it, where would I be?

  • These are incredibly clever party ideas! So much imagination!

    I had to beg for a Sweet 16 party, but I got one..a few months after my birthday. I remember a tradition of a friend drawing my gifts with a Sharpee pen on a cloth napkin. And wasn’t there something where the guest was supposed to say the phrase”under the covers?” I’m fuzzy on that one…I think I want another Club Med trip when I turn 60 in 2016…an escape from the bitter winter of NJ will be a nice bonus!

    I’d LOVE to go to parties with that much thought and creativity put into the theme. I’m not good at small talk parties..just sitting around a table eating catered stuff like fish or deli trays. (I’ve been invited to some boring holiday parties like that..I call them “shivas” without a deceased person) Party on Arlene..Your crowd is awesome!

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