The Miami Herald
September 24, 2001

Girls and parents get ready for `coming out' parties


 Tiaras and puffy white dresses. Choreographers and caterers. Disc jockeys and limousines.

 A lot of planning goes into both a Sweet 16 party and a quince -- the latter in the Hispanic community, which celebrates a girl's "coming out'' at age 15 instead of 16.

 The first "Mis Quince Exhibition Show'' was held Sunday at downtown Miami's Hyatt Regency. The aim was to help parents and their daughters sort through all the stuff  of fairy tales.

 "There are so many things, so much to coordinate, you go crazy,'' said Marina Paez, who has begun to plan her daughter Nicole's quince for May. "That's why I came here. I have everybody in one place.''

 That's the idea behind the show, a kind of one-stop shopping where exhibitors could offer their expertise, be it in video or photography, flowers, food, fashion, hairstyling and makeup, music or cake. More than 20 vendors participated in the exhibit, which was much like a bridal or baby show.

 "We ran out of fliers,'' said Jessica de Quesada, who has a party-planning and decorating business, Doing It With Style. "It's a fun way to bring new clients to our

 Tony Fleites only had to stand behind a television set with a video of a party he taped last year -- the happy-birthday princess beaming -- to get a long list of potential future customers.

 The idea came from Hyatt management and the owners of Adeluz Party and Decorations.

 "My market is the Latin social market,'' said Christina Nuñez, senior catering manager at the hotel. "And I saw a need to develop the market because it had more

 She called Adela Arzeno and Luci Almanzar of Adeluz, and they put the show together. They said it was the first show dedicated solely to the quinceñera and Sweet 16 parties.

 "It's also an attempt to revive the Hispanic cultural tradition of the quince,'' Almanzar said. "Some girls today prefer to go on a cruise. We show them how this can be much more special.''

 "We got a lot of ideas,'' said Angie Yanez, who is planning a quince next summer for daughter Emily, a freshman at Monsignor Edward Pace High.

 Clarel Salazar's party is in December.

 "I have the room and the DJ,'' said the 14-year-old from Pembroke Pines.

 Her mom, Maria, may have found a quince photographer Sunday.

 Organizers briefly considered canceling the show after the terrorist attacks on the nation but decided against it.

 "We felt the president's orders were to go back to normal, and this was a way to let people go back to their lives,'' Almanzar said.

 There were few thoughts of the tragedy as close to 500 people applauded and cheered the models who changed countless times into more than 50 dresses, at least one with a hoop skirt reminiscent of Scarlett O'Hara.

 "Your dress can be as big as you want or as short at the bottom as you want it to be,'' said Isabel Albuerne of The Wedding and Party Corner, who was master of
 ceremonies of the bilingual program.

 "Ooooh, how pretty,'' said Angelica Diaz, 13, an eighth-grader at Westwood Christian School, as she watched one girl twirl in a satiny gown.

 She knows what style of dress she wants: "Strapless, sparkly, simple. Not too busy.''

 Two-year-old Amber Paez, Nicole's little sister, squealed in delight after every single dress. "Ay, Papi, buy me that one,'' she told her father until the next model came out. "No, no, that one is prettier!''

 Her mother laughed.

 "Don't worry, sweetheart. You have 13 years to choose,'' she said.

© 2001 The Miami Herald and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.