It’s almost sad to see how much your little princess is growing up. The beauty of youthful imagination and discovery gives way to a future in which a lady is valued for what she does, rather than for who she is. (If that doesn’t bother her today, check back in twenty years or so.) It is likely that your daughter’s life is headed for some degree of treadmill competition mode, which is the future mankind has thoughtlessly created for one another’s children.

In adolescence the biggest trophies already go to the champions. The most exciting accolades go to the best scholars. I have no doubt that young people could use a lot less, “way to go!” and a lot more, “thank you for being yourself!” And of course that’s why your child needs to be queen for a day, and soon — before she’s all grown up and the magic is gone. Maybe someday she’ll be toiling away, under-appreciated, just like most of us. But it will be OK, because inside she’ll still be that queen. And a touch of magic sparkle will be saved along with the memory.

I know, it’s a hard sell for a fourteen-year-old tomboy to be asked to help plan her own rite of passage. If she’s not ready, do her future a favor and take it upon yourself to make the magic happen. If your child is stubbornly averse to even having the celebration, it may be her pride speaking. Coax her a little before you let the matter drop. You might want to read the two paragraphs above out loud to her, tell her how much it means to you, or tell her how you feel about your own celebration or lack thereof . If your child ultimately refuses and the opportunity passes, see if she doesn’t regret it in time for plan B — the sweet sixteen party! Every girl matures at her own speed. Caution: If you need plan B, it’s your ace in the hole. Don’t mention it too soon.

So where is the best place for a quinceanera? It is in the future of your daughter’s heart. The second best place is the venue you choose. And the venue that I find absolutely the most appealing is the beach — or a ballroom — or a ballroom at the beach! That’s why I call Daytona Beach’s Crystal Ballroom at Sunset Harbor the “second best place for a quinceanera.”

A fifteen-year-old girl is both a big girl and a little girl. The little girl inside your child wants to play on the beach with her friends by daylight like the Homeric Princess of Phaeacia; and when the day wanes her hungry crew can dress for dinner. The symbolism of the sunset outside the window as they drink virgin cocktails isn’t lost on young people enjoying the precious sunset of their childhood. An evening of dancing, treats and gifts lets everybody play grown-up, and lets your girl be queen.

Quinceaneras by the beach play well in retrospect. An impressive venue plus a fun schedule of activities makes a precious memory to cherish no matter where life takes a young woman. Take plenty of photographs and keep mementos. There must be no contention on this day. It’s a parent’s responsibility to keep the mood happy and make it easy for the kids to behave — especially your own. If either you or your child believes in God, make sure He is invited. Everything that happens today will be well-remembered, so you can’t let anything spoil the mood. Did the cake fall apart? Was a vendor late? Did someone wear the wrong shoes? Did a young person commit a faux pas? Make it OK. Keep everybody feeling good.

Regardless of the cost, your child’s rite of passage is the kind of one-time expense that makes it reasonable to splurge. But at Crystal Ballroom at Sunset Harbor we’ll work with your budget to make sure you get the party you choose at a price you can handle. We’ll also put a lot of love into this momentous occasion. If your girl is thirteen or fourteen, get moving. Contact us to get help with planning, budgeting, and that all-important slot in our schedule!

A quinceanera by the beach is good for your child, but also great for your family. Life is challenging with teenagers. When the going gets tough, stay up-beat and supportive and give your child some time to soften. You can start by reminding her of her upcoming rite of passage and your unwavering love for her through good times and bad. After all, you’re throwing this party because you love your girl. Most of all, thank her for being herself.