Latino families in Arizona splurge on Quinceañeras

Phoenix – A growing number of Arizona businesses are benefitting from a Latino tradition as more families splurge on quinceañeras.

The coming of age celebrations are common for 15 years old girls in Mexico and other parts of Latin America. In the U.S. Latino families carry on the tradition and many are hosting lavish parties.

“I’ve been wanting a quinceañera since I was 6 years old,” said Lizeth Rabago, who had her party on June 25th. Her parents spent as much as $30,000 on the event.

“Italian food was the bomb,” said Rabago complimenting the cuisine at her party. “My dresses came out beautiful and my chambelanes did the vaults really good and my parents just looked amazing.”

Chambelanes are the escorts who usually perform a dance with the quinceañera and sit with her during the ceremony and party.

Lizeth Rabago's signature album for her quinceañera. (Photo by Lillian Griego/Cronkite News)

Lizeth Rabago’s signature album for her quinceañera. (Photo by Lillian Griego/Cronkite News)

Lizeth had two different dresses, fresh flowers on every other table and half a dozen bands performed during the night as well as a DJ.

And celebrities are among those hired to perform at quinceañeras. South Texas attorney Thomas J. Henry spent $6 million on his daughter’s event, according to media reports. Nick Jonas and Pitbull played at the quinceañera.

Budget-conscious families often rely on godparents “padrinos” or “madrinas” to help pay for the music, beverages, dress or other expenses.

Many businesses that cater to brides also do quinceañeras. Martha’s Bridal & XV shop also sells quinceañera dresses.

“There are prices starting at $350 and go all the way to $2000-$2500. It all depends on what every girl wants,” said Martha Escalante, owner of the shop.

Like weddings, there are more quinceañeras during seasons when the the weather is nice.

“Over one weekend there could be three quinceañeras and the next six or seven,” she added.

Event planners also do both weddings and quinceañeras. Claudia Morgado owns Venecia II, a reception hall located in Mesa. “You have to talk to the DJ. How they are going to plan it? You have to talk to the photographer. How they are going to plan on the same day? We need to get together on the food,” said Morgado.

She offers the same packages for both weddings and quinceañeras. The basic package costs $4,000 and is designed for 400 guests. The most expensive packages start $9,000 and include food, a cake, DJ, limo, photos and video.

And Quinceañeras Magazine and quinceañera expos held across the country are filled with advertisers, events and ideas to help girls plan their perfect quinceañera. “This a dream that will only happen once,” said Rabago.

“The best memory was that I actually spent time with my family and I just know that I will have this memory for the rest of my life, until I have a daughter someday.”