A Quinceanera is a traditional Hispanic celebration that is held when a girl reaches her 15th birthday and enters womanhood. It is a coming-of-age religious ceremony, similar to a Catholic communion or Jewish bat mitzvah. In Cuba, a Quinceanera is a particularly large-scale celebration, during which the young Latina wears a white dress and is treated like a princess.
Arrange the mass ceremony. A Quinceanera consists of a religious mass and a reception or fiesta. The family should contact the church to set up the mass and also decide which children will be members of the young lady's court. The girl is accompanied in the processional by seven boys and seven girls to symbolize the number 15. The children carry pillows holding her shoes, which she will exchange for high heels during the ceremony, as well as a crown or tiara. She may also give a "last doll" to her younger sister or cousin during the ceremony.
Plan the fiesta. The fiesta is similar to a wedding, so the planning requires both time and money. The family should find a suitable venue and make selections for the party's food, music and decorations. Traditional Quinceaneras feature a feast of traditional Cuban food and cake. Decorations should go with the chosen theme. A live band or DJ is common, as Quinceaneras feature a lot of dancing, and it is tradition for the young girl to dance with her father..
Purchase the girl's outfit. The young lady needs a beautiful white dress, similar to a wedding dress, along with shoes and jewelry to go with her Quinceanera outfit. If the young lady is getting her hair and makeup done for the occasion, set up an appointment to have that done professionally or buy the necessary makeup and accessories to get her ready at home.
Buy the gifts. The family, including grandparents and godparents, traditionally gives the young girl gifts for her ceremony. Gifts should include her high-heeled shoes, tiara and a ceremony pillow to present these items to her during the mass. She may also receive a religious gift such as rosary beads, a cross or a prayer book. Some young ladies are given scepters to represent their transition to womanhood; these are traditionally given during the ceremony's reception party.
Send the invitations. The Quinceanera is a huge event in a young woman's life and should include a mix of her family and friends. The invitations should include the date and time, as well as directions to the ceremony. They should reflect the theme or colors of the Quinceanera. Invitations may be printed in both Spanish and English. The invitations should be sent by the parents, in honor of the young lady, at least six weeks prior to the ceremony.