By now, most of you know I have four kids. And you may suspect, they’re each very different. As a lover of parties, I have thrown more than a few in this house, and we’ve celebrated all the milestones of our kids’ lives with celebrations in all kinds of themes, and I’ve shared most of them here! It’s how I love my peeps, and they’ve come to expect it from me! But my Lily is a little different than her brother and sisters in that she’s not a huge fan of the spotlight and doesn’t like a big deal made of her. So, when she told me she didn’t want a big party for her 16th, I was a little stumped at what to do! Parties are one of our love languages. And her friends really wanted to celebrate her. So, I did what any crazy mom would do and went behind her back and planned a party anyway. Don’t worry… Lily was very happy about it in the end, and I know her enough to know she would be. But here’s how it turned out, because you know when I throw a party I love to taco bout it!

So, yes, we started with our favorite food group: tacos, and just ran with it. I went with several of my favorite go-to party essentials and principles and was able to put it all together in less than 2 hours while she was out of the house! (A new personal record, I think.)

First of all, you knew there would be lots of paper– from the wrapping paper table runners to the banners to the paper plates and napkins. I love to use paper! And of course– my favorite black and white stripes prove once again that they go with basically any theme! I got these particular plates at Hobby Lobby, but you can find some great wrap and cute plates here…

The cactus decor trend is still very popular, so there is no shortage of cute cactus party decor! I’ve linked lots of great options for that via my affiliate link HERE. The cactus stand-ups here were from Hobby Lobby. You also may remember this “sixteen” word topper from my daughter, Abby’s Sweet sixteen which I shared way back HERE. These are very popular as well, and you can find some great customizable options by clicking below…


I made the “Taco Bout a Sweet Sixteen” banner from basic black poster letters and string. And the rainbow striped background is just strips of colored crepe paper hung over the curtain rod!

For flowers, I kept it very simple with yellow daisies in colorful drink bottles and bright carnations in a mason jar. Lemons and limes in a bowl add color, too, and they’re a great refresher to keep by a water dispenser.

To keep with the Mexican theme, I set up a colorful beverage station on our cafe shelves beside the table. And one of my favorite parts of the party… these super easy cactus ballon sculptures! I had seen similar ones to this on Pinterest, so we made our own version. Using green balloons, blown up to various sizes, we created the arms of the cactus by adding on the balloons with double-stick tape. Then we created a blog, on top with a little bit of crepe paper. With a white paint pen, we drew on lines to represent the prickly spines! Aren’t they so cute!

And of course, I had my letter boards! These are some of my staple pieces that I use at parties.  I found this large white one a while back at Marshall’s, but there are lots of options out there! 

Also, the gold mylar number balloons are always super-fun and you can order those here…

One more of my favorite tips to share that helps so much when throwing a party… choose just one or two spaces in which to focus your party energy!  I kept things simple by just decorating the breakfast room and making that party central.  The advantages for doing this is that you get much more bang for your buck when buying decorations, and concentrating your efforts in one main space gives the guests lots of eye candy to take in!  Since I needed a place for the guests to be able to sit and eat, I added just a few party details to the dining room as well.  But you’ll notice my favorite staple table cloth and cloches are still there, fitting the theme.  

And we pulled out the famous 16 marquee number lights which I’ve been asked about so many times since we made them and used them for Abby’s 16th.  I wish I could say we have numbers like these available, but I’m sorry, we don’t!  I have found this custom option below which you may want to check out! 

The party was fun to put together, the guests were fun to be with, the food was delicious, but most importantly, we got to celebrate 16 wonderful years of Lily! I hope these tips and sources are helpful if you decide to throw a fun party to celebrate your peeps as well! There is so much more party inspo to be found here on the blog!  Just click here to see more!