8/9/2013 2:24 PM ET|
These girls' parties can cost more than a wedding
The Quinceañera is an elaborate and costly Hispanic coming-of-age event. It's also a fast-growing, multimillion-dollar industry.
Originally considered the province of rich families, the Quinceañera is now a mainstream event for hundreds of thousands of Hispanic girls in the U.S. The business now generates over $400 million a year.
The events can be very elaborate, starting with a mass and then followed by a reception and party featuring gowns and tuxedos, catering, gifts, photographers, attendants, limousines, bands, choreographed dances, special lighting and customized cake. Latino News Today says families spend on average between $15,000 to $20,000 for their child's Quinceañera -- and quite often much more.
"There are parents that have been saving up their entire lives for their daughter's Quinceañera," the site says. "Some Quinceañeras will cost more than the girls' future wedding."
Quinceañera magazine -- yes, there's a magazine -- lists dozens of Quinceañera expos in the U.S. Midwestern and Western states annually. Along with national companies, the expos attract local small businesses, from bridal stores making special Quinceañeras gowns to food companies and stationery stores.
"It is still growing. I would say it's a good, maybe five to six percent of our business at this time" Helen Edell, with Alligator Soup Stationery and Gift Boutique in Las Vegas told the city's 8 News Now-TV during a Quinceañera expo there in 2011. "Out of it also comes the weddings."
Some big corporations have also taken notice of the Quinceañera.
This past March, Disney Consumer Products, the business product segment of Walt Disney (DIS), unveiled its "first ever line of Quinceañera gowns inspired by the inner qualities, personalities and stories of the Disney Princess characters." The debut line of 21 gowns, featuring two styles for each Disney movie princess, comes with suggested retail prices running from $530 to $999.
"Disney is thrilled to provide young Latinas with the opportunity to celebrate the elegance, grace and poise of their favorite Disney Princess characters on such a special and momentous day," Gilberto Martinez Kladt, vice president of licensing for Disney Princess, said in a press statement.
And you know you've become a national phenomenon when a TV-reality show gets involved. As the Los Angeles Times reports, MTV's long-running "Quiero Mis Quinces" program "gives viewers a behind-the-scenes look at just how expensive -- and bratty -- the parties can get."
No disrespect, but what a complete waste of money! Have a BBQ in the backyard and call it good. Then take the 15 or 20 grand and save it for, I don't know, college???
I understand this is a treasured celebration in Hispanic families. But I am amazed how much money is spent in the US with this event. Quinceaneras started in small towns where all the people in the town brought a food item and helped with decorations. It was a celebrated event. And of course, wealthier families had more elaborate affairs.
This current trend of trying to 'out do' the other is ridiculous. Should families really go broke doing these events? And I have similar feelings about the over done wedding ceremonies. Have people lost their minds and better sense? Have we lost what was truly special in order to show how much better we are than everyone else?
As a Texicana, I really don't give in to the Quince celebration. The origins of this celebration come from a family dressing up their 15 year old daughter in her wedding gown, blessed and paraded around the small town to show that she is ready to be married. The town brings basically a pot luck and celebrate her passage to womanhood and introduce her to the available bachelors and future suitors.
My parents had me blessed and I chose a vacation instead. I have to admit that I was in the court of honor of about 5 of these and they were fun back then. Now that I know more of the history I'm glad that my parents wouldn't indulge me!
When I was 15 I had a big quinceanera and it was a great occasion. I was very involved in every aspect along with my mother. But big back then, 15 years ago, is nothing compared to now. Three years ago we had a quince for my niece and it totaled to around 15k. It was a wonderful celebration and we were all very involved in the planning. I have an 8 year old daughter who already has her colors picked out for her quince. I started saving for hers about two years ago, and yes I also have a savings for her college. Things are also bought with time. In my family as you can tell with my daughter, this planning starts long before age 15. If I go somewhere and I see something pretty that is black and purple and cheap, I get it. If you do it right, and smart, yes the total talley is a lot but it's not so bad when things are purchased over a few years.
But it also needs to be said that if people are breaking the bank to have one is crazy. If you can't afford to go big, don't. Some of my family can't afford the big quinceaneras and we still have fun at the backyard ones.
I am Hispanic, and I have never understood the need for this tradition. I guess it is because I just think with the expense of raising children, the money would be better saved for college.
I understand that it is tradition and most families do like to go all out for their kids, but it is just another tradition people love to spend money on. For example: Quinceaneras are just like your common America sweet sixteen's. How much money do you spend on those? And why can't you guys just have a BBQ and call it good too?
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