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Tween Party Dress Playdate Idea

I’ve done a fair number of photo shoots over the last 6 years, and from that I know if there is one detail you cannot overlook it is the outfit you wear to the party. If you want every photo to sparkle–you make sure the kids are wearing clean and themed clothing. Now that I am the proud parental unit of a tween girl, I can now also assure you that this is true even if there is not a single picture snapped. If you want your tween to meet you with big smiles, she must be fashionably decked from head to toe at all times, ESPECIALLY at a party. So I do what any reasonable mom would do and take her for the go-to place for tween party dresses and fashion (and coincidentally her favorite store), Justice.


As a reasonable mom, I also make my tween pose for photo shoot pictures with her friends after we go shopping to turn it into a fun afternoon that scores me major mom points. I’ll show you later in the post how to turn a shopping trip into a fun playdate by quickly putting up a set for your girls to fly their Christmas party fashion flags in. (It’s easy, I swear!)

Justice Playdate

Holiday Shopping at Justice

This year, we were able to have a bit of fun and take a friend to go party dress shopping with us courtesy of Justice. We spent a good hour trying on just about everything in the store. Truly, they have a little something for girls of every personality, whether that’s being a trendsetter, mega athlete or a through and through girly girl all at affordable prices. Makes it an easy place to go for one stop shopping for tweens at Christmas!

The salespeople were wonderfully accommodating on our fun time trip. They helped the girls put together outfit upon outfit and it was pretty cool to see the tastes of each girl become more and more apparent in what they chose to wear. They are such little people now! I still wonder where this face went.

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Of course, Justice has so much more than fashion; they are every tween girl’s dream for stocking suffers as well. You can check the Justice Holiday Gift Guide for more ideas. These two poured over every display; I don’t think there was anything there that they wouldn’t have been blissfully happy with!

So to make an easy playdate for your tweens…take the girls shopping. Get an outfit (or piece of an outfit) and then go home and go crazy playing fashion model. It’s pretty easy fun for everyone, as you can see from the pictures we took here!

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We invited our friends back to our house to model our Justice holiday dress purchases. All the tween party dresses are all totally photo perfect! It was a great end to our playdate playing fashion model.


Setting up Your Own Photo Set for Pictures

As you can see here, there isn’t a whole lot to the set. In short order, here’s what you need to do to whip together a party photo background of your own:

Choose an area of your house with great natural light – the most important part!! For me, this is the front room of my house. My kitchen and family room are terrible to photograph in. I’ve tried, I’ve failed, and just accept that all photos must be taken in the front of my house. Find that spot in your house and make photo camp there for your set.

Drape off your “set.” I used a sheet for my backdrop and another one on the floor so I had continuous white all the way through my pictures. Just give yourself enough room when you drape that you’ll be able to fit all your party dresses in the same frame without showing the room beyond your set.


Make some Christmas light “bokeh.” That is a fancy word for the sparkling lights you see in the background of pictures. This is a matter of setting your camera to a large aperture – so your subject is super clear and the background is fuzzy – and moving your lights far enough back that you can’t see the wires when the background blurs. I Heart Faces has a great tutorial on doing this for yourself. But to start the set up, hang white Christmas lights with white strings in front of your white drape.



Add props. I wrapped a stack of oversized boxes and stacked them up with a giant bow. Sometimes too many props make your end photo too fussy, so keeping the props simple is a good plan. Especially when you’re doing a super quick playdate set-up.

If you’ve got time, hang a few snowflakes. After I took the pictures, I can honestly say I don’t think they added much to the photos, but they sure looked festive while we were standing there!


You can win your own shopping spree to Justice to set up an awesome photoshoot playdate of your own.  Snap a photo of your tween’s holiday wish to enter into the Justice Wishes Sweepstakes between 12/1 and 12/24 to win weekly amazing prizes like $250 Justice gift cards or a shopping spree!

As for me, I have more ideas for my tween than I know what to do with this Christmas and will be heading back to Justice to pick up a few more things I know my tween will love.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Paula Biggs

Owner at Frog Prince Paperie
Paula Biggs is a party planner, DIY crafter, and owner of Frog Prince Paperie, where you can find hundreds of party, craft and lifestyle ideas.