Next month Alyssa Tinoco will celebrate her 16th birthday with a blowout party at the Hobby Event Center for 200 of her closest friends. “I’ve been planning for almost a year now,” the YES Prep sophomore says.

With her mother’s help, Tinoco has a theme (Western, with enough hay to make the 3,500-square-foot Bluebonnet Room feel like a barn), a dress (long, fluffy, and blush-pink, paired with brown cowboy boots), a cake (covered with real flowers), and plans for four choreographed dances she’ll perform with her friends. But the whole thing is much harder than she anticipated.

“I thought it would be easy,” she admits. “It’s like, so much you have to think about: how many people you can invite, how many people can fit, what would look nice, what would go together.”

What advice would you give on party planning?

Plan really early. I feel like I planned early, but I still don’t have enough time to do all the stuff I needed.

What’s been the most challenging aspect of the process, and what’s been your favorite part?

Making sure the centerpieces in the hall match up to what we wanted them to be, to make sure it wasn’t too much, to make sure it looked nice, and to make sure everything was organized. My favorite part is spending more time with my mom.

What’s your hope for the day? 

I hope that it looks as nice as I see it in my head. I hope it turns out that nice, and I hope everybody has a lot of fun, because that’s the most important thing. I’ll remember it forever.

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