For most young adults - no birthday is more important that their 21st. If you have been asked to plan or host a party for a friend or relative that is turning 21, the following tips will help you plan and pull off a terrific 21st birthday party!
Send out invites a month in advance: Whether you send e-vites or mailed invitations, you want to invite your guests at least a month in advance to ensure that they save the date for your party. Both types of invitations are acceptable. Make sure that you provide the date, time, and location of the party on the invitation, as well as specific RSVP instructions. For example - provide the name of the person that recipients should contact as well as the preferred way of contacting them (email, phone, or both). Or, to make it simple for yourself and the guests, ask those invited to RSVP only if they are unable to attend.
Other things to include in the invitations if they pertain to your party:
- If you do not want guests to bring gifts then make sure you state on the invitation "Please, no gifts" or "All we request you bring to the party is yourself".
- Request for guests to bring something specific to the party - whether it is an picture of themselves with the guest of honor to make a collage, a dish to pass, or a 'beverage of choice' to give to the birthday boy or girl in honor of becoming 'legal'.
- Directions to the party.
Decide on food and beverage to serve: Let's assume that your party is being held in a home or clubhouse type of setting - so no formal sit-down meal. Do you want to offer finger-type food that people will snack on all night long? Or will you offer a full meal buffet-style. Which ever you decide - make sure that you have enough to serve everyone - better to have too much than too little. Believe me, if there is food left over at the end of the party you will have plenty of guests that would love to volunteer to take it off your hands. Bring inexpensive disposable bags and containers so that you can easily pack up leftovers.
Make sure that you remember the plates, napkins, and utensils needed. Plates and napkins that feature a nice design on it are always nice and add a festive look to the presentation of the food- but it can be expensive. One option is to buy the plates and napkins in a solid color to save on costs. Or perhaps only splurge on the smaller, decorated 'Happy Birthday' dessert plates.
And a birthday cake is always a must - although now days 'cupcakes' are also the rage. Although bakeries may offer fancy varieties - they often come at with a hefty price tag. So if your budget is limited, don't hesitate to order a large cake from your supermarket or warehouse bakery. And if you have something special or unique in mind when it comes to how you would like the cake decorated - don't hesitate to ask them if they can accommodate you. I've seen supermarket bakeries do great "beer" and "cocktail" related decorations on their cakes. Remember to give them at least several days notice for your order.
As for the beverage - of course there must be a toast to the guest of honor at some point in the evening. Wine, beer, mixed drinks or champagne are all appropriate to toast with (as, of course, is any non-alcoholic beverage for those guests that prefer not to drink). Prior to the date of the party, decide who will be toasting the birthday boy or girl and asked them to prepare ahead of time a short toast. When he or she finishes with their toast - have them ask all guests to raise their drinks to the guest of honor.
For the rest of the night - make sure there is plenty of water and soda on hand. Lemonade or ice tea also go over well. As for alcoholic beverages - see what your budget allows. The "21" age group will probably be happy with just beer, however some of the older guests may prefer wine.
Ambiance: Although decorations aren't necessary - they do help set the stage for a festive get together. They can be as simple as a few balloons bouquets strategically placed throughout the room. Also - a balloon bouquet on each side of the entrance to the party shouts 'Party' and also makes it clear to guests that they have arrived at the right location. A few vases of fresh flowers are also a nice touch. Party supply stores have great "theme" decorating items (sports, beach, etc.) that can also add flair to the event.
Music also plays an important role. Should it just play in the background or does it have a major role in the event such as in the case of dance music? Think through the music choices ahead of time, as well as the sound system if the party is not being held in your home. Ahead of time assign one person responsibility for the music throughout the duration of the party. And remember - there's a whole slew of 'drinking' related songs out there (type in "songs about drinking" in a search bar and they'll be at your finger tips).
Do you want to play drinking games? If you only know of the same or two that everyone else knows just go to your favorite search page and type in "drinking games" and you'll have access to more games you ever thought were possible.
Always keep in mind the guest of honor when planning the party: Take into consideration the likes and dislikes of the celebrant throughout all of your planning. If he or she has a hobby, a favorite food, a favorite city - all these things might spark ideas of how to incorporate it into the party theme. For example let's say that the birthday boy is a sports fanatic. You can send out 'sport ticket' invitations to the party and decorate in his favorite team's color. Or the birthday girl has a favorite singer - you would want to make sure that songs from that artist are included in the party's music mix. Or perhaps she's a chocoholic. Make sure the birthday cake is chocolate fudge and hand out take-home gift bags with her favorite candy.
A little bit of up-front planning can save you time, hassle and money in the long run.
Cool Party Favor - Copyright 2009Planning a 21st Birthday Party