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Asked to MC a Quinceañera? Professional Officiants Are In Demand For Sweet Fifteen Celebrations

Published Friday, Apr. 19th, 2024

A young woman celebrates her quinceanera with family and friends
Photo: Image Source / iStock

There’s a growing need for bilingual officiants who are familiar with quinceañera traditions during what some call a new ‘quinceañera boom’


If you’re a professional wedding officiant or celebrant, you may have been asked to officiate a quinceañera recently… and there’s a good reason for that! A U.S. ‘quinceañera boom’ that started in the early 2000s shows no sign of stopping, with some experts predicting the real boom has only just begun.


For professional officiants, especially Spanish-speaking bilingual officiants, this ‘boom’ offers not just an exciting business opportunity, but a meaningful way to support others in their spiritual and cultural communities.


But before we get into the ‘whys’ and ‘hows’ behind the increased interest in quince celebrants – and how AMM Ministers can take advantage of it – here are some quick facts to know about the tradition. 



An intro to Quinceañeras


There are nearly 65 million Hispanic people living in the U.S., and between 400,000 and 500,000 quinceañeras a year. Each celebration costs an average of $20,000, and experts say it’s become a $49 billion industry globally. That’s a lot of quinceañera crowns and cakes! 


The quinceanera industry is making headlines more frequently – especially in areas with large Hispanic and Mexican American populations. Headings like these are everywhere: ‘A $25,000 celebration? Quinceañeras are thriving in North Texas despite inflation’ (2023, Dallas Morning News); ‘The Big Business of Quinceañeras’ (2023, Texas Monthly News); and ‘Quinceañeras are a booming business and still a long-honored tradition’ (2024, Houston Public Media).


What is a quinceañera, exactly? 


A quinceañera is a ‘coming of age’ celebration performed on a girl’s 15th birthday, as she transitions from childhood to young adulthood. The celebration is a Hispanic cultural tradition with both religious (Christian) and social aspects, although non-religious celebrations are becoming more common. Quinceañeras are also called quince años, fiestas de quince años, or simply quinces. Quinceañeros, honoring boys on their fifteenth birthday, are uncommon but not unheard of – and this trend seems to be growing with Gen Z boys. 


In the past, quinces always included a religious service and blessing performed by a priest or pastor at the local church. These services were followed by large parties that lasted hours, filled with food, drink, dancing, and toasts. The ritual is thought to have originated with the Aztecs long ago in ancient Mexico, and are now practiced throughout Latin America and the world.  


These days, many families skip the church service and go straight for the celebration. Instead of a formal ceremony, they ask a family friend, parent, or professional officiant to MC the fiesta de quinceañera, and lead the honoree through a few time-honored quince rituals. 


These quince rituals vary by location and family, but usually include a ‘changing of the shoes’ or ‘shoe ceremony,’ when the honoree slips off her sneakers to put on a pair of grown-up heels. Parents and padrinos (godparents) may also help perform a quince ‘crown ceremony,’ a ‘three rose ceremony,’ give loving toasts, read scripture from the Bible, and more.  


And making sure each ritual or toast flows smoothly into the next? 


…That’s where professional officiants and celebrants come in!



Get ordained online with AMM and learn how to perform weddings and other ceremonies for families and friend.



Quinceanera decor and balloons in the party room for the quince celebration

Photo: edpuerto / Adobe Stock


Why are professional officiants and celebrants in high demand as Quinceañera MCs (Masters of Ceremony)? 


Ordained ministers, professional wedding officiants, and celebrants are stepping in for traditional clergy to perform modern quince blessings and to MC quinceañera ceremonies. 


These ‘lightly religious’ and non-religious quinceañeras have become more common as fewer American families belong to local churches, and as the number of religiously-unaffiliated and interfaith families grows.


Many families in the U.S. don’t belong to a traditional brick-and-mortar church, even if they consider themselves to be spiritual or religious. This is confirmed by several recent polls, including a record-breaking Gallup poll in 2021, which showed “Americans' membership in houses of worship continued to decline last year, dropping below 50% for the first time in Gallup's eight-decade trend.” 


There are likely many reasons for this, including population changes in age, an increase in multicultural and interfaith families, and less affiliation with a specific religion, but the results are the same – 


Many families don’t have a trusted local clergy person or community elder to turn to when it’s time to celebrate important life milestones. These milestones include baby blessings, naming ceremonies, weddings, funerals, and (you guessed it!) quinceañeras. 


As a result, families are seeking out online-ordained ministers, professional officiants, and celebrants to perform their daughters’ quinceañeras. 


How can professional officiants become part of the quinceañera boom? 


Officiants who are already familiar with the rich history of quinceañeras will be in the best position to help families looking for someone to lead their celebration, but there’s still lots of room for others to learn and grow. 


Bilingual officiants will be most in demand: According to Yadira C. Richards, Owner and Lead Officiant of Marry Us in Sugar Land, Texas, all but one of the quinceañeras she’s performed were bilingual ceremonies. This is because (like weddings!) quinces bring multiple generations together. Older generations might speak less English and younger generations might speak less Spanish, Yadira tells us, so bilingual events are usually the best fit for everyone. 



If you’d like to add quinceañera officiant and MC (emcee) to your services, here’s what we recommend: 


  • Do your research! Read about various quinceañera customs and rituals from different areas and cultures. There are many different traditions and ways to celebrate quince años, and they all vary slightly. Good research will help you ask the right questions when you meet with a family to discuss their daughter’s quinceañera for the first time.. 


  • Ask a lot of questions during your consultation with families! As mentioned above, there is a lot of variation in quince celebrations.


Yadira Richards says, "I feel like there are more questions that I have to ask when it comes to quinceañeras [versus wedding consultations], because there are different traditions. There are people that like presenting certain gifts, and those gifts have a meaning behind [them]. And so I have to get into those questions -- 'Well, will there be somebody presenting this, or this?', 'Do we have any of these other things that are included,' ... All these other things that have become part of the quinceañera tradition, that I have to ask more questions. I feel like it is sometimes a little bit more work, even, than a wedding ceremony."


  • Create a simple quinceañera program or ‘order of events’ to use as a starting point during the planning process. Every region and every family has a different expectation of what a quince should include, and you can add or subtract specific rituals from this program as you plan for the big day



  • Write a few sample quinceañera ceremony scripts to use as a starting place, and then personalize these scripts with special memories, stories, readings, and Biblical quotes/scripture. If you’re interested in performing religious (Christian), non-religious, or interfaith quinceañeras, it’s helpful to have a sample script or sample outline for each type of ceremony you’d like to officiate. Use the ceremony script linked above for inspiration.


  • Decide on a rate. Unlike weddings, quinceañeras don’t include a legal component, but Yadira tells us they can sometimes require a lot more planning.


  • Advertise your services! You may want to add a new page to your website that promotes your quinceañera services. Include the types of traditions and rituals you include in your quince package (such as a shoe ceremony, tiara/crown ceremony, rose ceremony, etc.), whether or not you’re bilingual, and if you provide religious, interfaith, or non-religious quinceañera services.


  • Remember that ‘word of mouth' is always a winner. Talk about your knowledge, experience, and love of quinceañera celebrations with friends and clients, especially if you’ve already established yourself as a trusted and talented wedding officiant. You never know when working with a wedding client will lead to a new quinceañera client, and vice versa! 


  • Be patient and persistent! As with any new officiant service, it might take time for people to find you. Network with local vendors and venues to let them know about your new quinceañera package/s, and take your time. Officiant Yadira Richards tells us she still sees less demand for quinceañeras than weddings, but that interest continues to grow in her area.



Thanks to Officiant Yadira C. Richards for her contributions to this article!



Headshot of Officiant Yadira Richards, she has long dark hair, a black shirt, and a friendly welcoming smileYadira C. Richards, owner and lead officiant of Marry Us, holds a B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing and has extensive experience as a bilingual communications writer and public speaker. She grew up in El Paso, Texas and now lives in the greater Houston area.


In addition to being an Ordained Minister, she is certified by Twogether in Texas as a premarital counselor.


She is a proud mother, military spouse, and professional, full-time, Officiant, with great passion
and love for what she does.


Marry Us wedding service is based in Sugar Land, Texas, and serves couples and families throughout the Greater Houston, McAllen, and El Paso areas.


Click the links below to connect with Yadira online: 


Marry Us


Wedding Wire / Instagram / Facebook / The Knot



You might also like: 



a young woman and her friend dancing during the quince anos celebration

Use this non-denominational quinceanera ceremony outline and script to create a personal, meaningful 15th birthday celebration. Read the full article here. 




Why are we talking about quinceañeras on American Weddings?


We spend a lot of time talking about wedding ceremonies here on the American Weddings blog. This makes sense... Marriage ceremonies (and wedding officiants) are awesome! And they’re our primary focus and passion. 


But AMM Ministers don’t just marry people. When they choose to, their roles can extend much further. Our ministers perform all kinds of rites, from weddings to funerals, baby blessings, name change ceremonies, quinceaneras, and more.


This deserves to be highlighted! 


Ordination through American Marriage Ministries gives our ministers all of the same rights and protections held by ministers ordained through traditional brick-and-mortar churches. As an AMM Minister, your right to conduct religious ceremonies of all forms is protected by the religious non-establishment clause of the First Amendment.


While many of our ministers only conduct wedding ceremonies, others also conduct other meaningful rites, like quinceañeras! 


Learn more about what it means to be an AMM Minister by visiting our FAQ page.



Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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