Life of a Quinceañera


Bianca Vargas

Back in the day of the Aztecs Indians, when a girl turned 15 it would be considered that she is ready for marriage, now a quinceañera is a coming of age celebration transitioning from childhood to adulthood. A quince is both a religious and a social event that emphasizes the importance of family and society. Quinceañeras originated in Mexico but are now celebrated worldwide. A quinceañera isn’t an event that can be planned in a week or two; this requires at least a year worth of planning. A lot of things come into consideration when planning a quince.   


The budget for a quinceañera is from $5,000 – $20,000 many people try to save money by going the DIY route, while others go all out to host for hundreds of people and spend upwards of $50,000. The money you spend all goes down to what you choose. A cake can cost between $250 and $600. A dress can range from $700 to $1,000+. You can get a simple dress short, long, or you can go big and get a custom dress. Most quinceañeras like to rent a limo or a party bus so she and her court can stay together when moving from one location to another. A limo can coast around $95 to $150 per hour or $600 to $1,100 per night. The venue is also pretty pricey, that is if you choose to rent a place. Many people choose to pay more money for a bigger venue for more guests, while others prefer to keep it small and will do it in their backyard or if they know anyone with a big land where they can host the event they will do it there. The next big thing is food, what food are you going to serve? Where are you going to get the food? Will you cater or cook it yourself? Many people have many different preferences on food and are very picky. Decoration is an optional thing, many just put table covers on tables, flowers in the middle and call it a day. Others go all out; they go from having a huge centerpiece in the middle of every table to having a fully decorated table for the quinceañera and her court. 


A very common thing for a quince is to have padrinos. Padrinos are usually family or close friends who will help with the cost and gift to the quinceañera specific item such as the ramo (flower bouquet). Everything in a quinceañera has a special meaning. The crown symbolizes royalty and loyalty to your family, god, and community. The last doll represents you leaving your childhood, but how you will always be your parents’ little girl. The medallion means having faith in yourself and family. The ring is to later be replaced with a wedding ring, but till then it represents God’s endless love. The heels symbolize maturity, a big step from childhood to adulthood. In a quinceañera there is always a court with damas (girls) and chambelanes (boys). Back in the day you needed to have 14 damas and chambelanes making the quinceañera and her main chambelan the 15th couple, but that has since changed and you are allowed to have as many people as you want. The court of honor accompanies the quinceañera throughout the day and partakes in a traditional waltz. 


Now a quinceanera is for a young girl to celebrate that she is becoming a woman without marriage strings attached.