04 May Top Tips for Throwing the Ultimate Teen or Tween Party

Throwing a party for your teen or tween might seem like a daunting task. Let‘s face it, this age group can be difficult to please. Whether you are planning a birthday party, Bar or Bat Mitzvah, Sweet 16 or graduation party, the planning is not as hard as you might think with some of these cool ideas.

Planning Time

If you want your child to enjoy the party, let him or her be a part of the planning process. Letting your child choose a theme and contribute to decor, entertainment and food ideas is a surefire way to make sure he or she is invested. Set clear expectations and agree on the budget, start and finish time and guest count. Make sure that you have a discussion about friends of friends showing up at the party (teens love to travel in packs!) and plan for some extra people just in case.


You don’t have to have a theme, but it is a great starting point for the planning process. Consider favorite colors, hobbies or other themes that speak to your son or daughter. Plan a theme around interests and activities like sports, Broadway, fashion or music. Themes such as glow in the dark, Hollywood glamor, night club, candy shop, masquerade or outdoor movie night are also big hits with teens and tweens. You can always tie the theme into the season with ideas like winter wonderland, spring it on, summer splash and autumn awesome.


Decor and Entertainment

Outfit your party space with decorations and activities that tie into your theme. For example, if your child’s favorite team is the Phillies, use a red and white color scheme throughout the venue. Rent an inflatable baseball speed pitch cage and have a concession stand where the kids can get popcorn, peanuts and Cracker Jacks.

DJs are a must-have to keep the party going. Have your child work with the DJ to create a song list that is reflective of his or her tastes in music. Many DJs can also play games with the kids during the party. Have lots of fun giveaways for winners like sunglasses, bead necklaces, noisemakers and glow sticks. Photo booths with props are huge hit, too. Consider fun favors like dance floor socks or ring pops/class rings for graduation parties.


When collecting RSVPs for the party, provide a place for parents to include their cell phone number. That way, you will have a way to contact a parent in case of emergency. Station one parent at the drop-off location to connect directly with guests’ parents at the door. Take note of how each invitee is getting home and collect any missing phone numbers for your list.

Make the kids feel like it’s their own party, while providing adult supervision at a distance. Making rounds on the regular will help to keep your tween’s event PG13. Carefully place candy bowls and items that need refilling around the party space. This gives you an excuse to take a spin around the room without appearing overbearing.

At Columbia Station, Robert Ryan Catering & design offers the Club Room, where parents can relax and hang out with less formal soft seating and hightops while the kids dance their booties off in the ballroom. At The Barn on Bridge, parents can be stationed in the loft while the kids have the first floor to party!


Capture Those Memories

Formal photography and videography are great, but there are so many other ways to capture the fun. Build memories with signed Jenga blocks filled with messages from guests, or create a time capsule that will be opened when the guest of honor turns a certain age. Have the videographer ask guests to say something directly to the guest of honor for the video. If you get a photo booth, make sure that you get to keep an extra copy of each photo. For Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, have each guest sign the horah chair.

Food Fun

Food stations offer your picky eaters and grazers more variety and freedom to grab a bite, mingle, grab something else and mingle some more. Consider fun tween/teen options like a nacho and taco station, Philly cheesesteak station or slider bar. Breakfast stations with mini pancakes, waffles and chocolate-covered bacon are sure to be a hit, too.

For dessert, consider adding anything from a shaved ice station and an ice cream bar to elaborate candy and mini dessert displays. In the cooler months, have a s’mores station and hot chocolate bar. Other options include a cotton candy or milk and cookies. Cupcakes are still trending in place of a traditional birthday cake. You can arrange them in fun presentations and not worry about everyone’s favorite flavor because you can pick a variety.

Slushies and mocktails are a must have! Popular mocktails include:

kids' partyMR. FROSTY


2 oz. cran-raspberry juice

1 scoop lemon-lime sherbet

Ginger ale (to fill glass)

Cucumber slice


Add cran-raspberry juice to a short wide glass. Add a scoop of lemon, lime or lemon-lime sherbet. Top with ginger ale. Garnish with cucumber slice.



1 leaf fresh basil

4 fresh blueberries



Tear the basil leaf into small pieces and place in the bottom of a tall glass. Add four blueberries and muddle with a muddler or a wooden spoon. Fill the glass with crushed ice and then fill with lemonade.

Ready to start planning your ultimate teen/tween party? Whether you want to party at one of our exclusive venues or host a party at your home or other off-premise site, Robert Ryan’s team of expert event managers can help you along the way. Contact us for a tour of one of our venues or to arrange a consultation today!

Robert Ryan Catering and Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a five-star rating on WeddingWire and has received WeddingWire’s Couple’s Choice/Bride’s Choice Award seven years in a row. Learn more about Robert Ryan Catering & Design and tour our venuesSubscribe to our e-newsletter for exclusive offers, up-to-date news and recipes from our executive chef.

Ronna Dewey

From inception to execution, Robert Ryan Catering & Design works with you to realize your vision for your event, and translate it into a successful affair.