For those organising it however it is a nightmare!
If you thought checklists were important for a children’s party
or a teenager’s party
then wait till you try and organise an 18th or a 21st. Preparation is vital, the earlier you start to organise the key components of the event, the more time you have to add the finer details nearer the time.
Print off a check list here
The initial checklist should include all the essentials such as the following:
Venues for 21st birthday parties are much easier to find as opposed to venues for 18th birthday parties. The reason for this is being that owners of venues fear the party may attract some guests who aren’t legally old enough to drink alcohol; this isn’t such an issue with 21st birthday parties.
Be sure your venue is aware that the party is an 18th, and don’t be alarmed if they ask for a deposit, this is common practice. Try and choose a venue which is relevant to the number of guests expected to attend. A small venue may become overcrowded very easily and a large venue may look sparsely populated.
The number of guests
- birthday parties for 18 and 21 year olds usually attract a great mix of people, including family members, work colleagues and college friends. Be sure to invite enough people to fill the venue but remember some guests may not attend and others may bring their partners, estimating for such an event is not an easy task. Don’t be afraid to add further guests at a later date if you fear the venue won’t look full.
- in this day and age money is on everyone’s mind and birthday parties are no exception. Be very careful not to go overboard, making a good impression is one thing but leaving yourself penny- less in the process is not advised.
Outline your budget at the start of the planning process and do not change this, changing the budget to accommodate a nicer venue or more expensive catering will have a knock on effect elsewhere. If you can’t afford something that would help make your 18th or 21st a big success then look at other options, is it available cheaper elsewhere? Could you make it yourself?
The length of the party
- 18th and 21st birthday parties usually last around four hours, starting at around seven and finishing between 11 and midnight, this however is very much dependant on the venue. If you are holding the event at your home then this is very much down to personal preference.
Ideally the party should be held in the evening, unless the guests are all family members or family friends. It can be very hard to persuade guests to go home if the party finishes in the late afternoon. If the party finishes late at night however guests are less reluctant to move on. Make sure the times of the party are clearly stated on the invitations.
Once the initial checklist has been discussed and the details of the party have been finalised it is then time to decide the finer details of the event. The checklist below will help with this.
- music is probably the best entertainment you could provide at an 18th or a 21st birthday, combine this with a dance floor and most guests will be satisfied. Some may choose adult entertainers but not everyone goes down this route and I am sure not all parents would agree with such a thing so best to stick to the disco. Party games are not uncommon still at 18th and 21st birthday parties but please note that one or two games of pass the parcel is more than enough entertainment, these are included more as a novelty rather than a source of entertainment.
- be sure to get your invitations out nice and early and that everyone you want to receive one does so. Make them decorative and memorable, that way people are unlikely to forget about your party; photos of the birthday boy or girl as a small child often make a good invitation background. Leave guests plenty of time to reply, outline the venue, times, date and a contact number clearly, that way nobody has an excuse not to reply or attend. Keep away from social networking sites, that way you know only guests who received an invite are likely to attend.
- there are so many catering options for an 18th or a 21st birthday party, again some are only relevant to large parties. Mass catering options such as barbecues, spit roasts and hog roasts
are becoming more and more popular at such events.
Some venues may insist that they provide their own catering, if this is the case then you may have to question whether this is at an additional cost or not. If there is no restriction on the catering then think outside the box, it is not every day you are 18 or 21, give guests something to remember your party by.
Traditionalists will always opt for the buffet option, if this is the case then why not try a hot buffet or an oriental buffet? Try something new. Pie and peas are another alternative option, there is so much you can do to make your party catering unique.
Please be aware that it is advantageous to have a good idea of the number of expected guests before ordering catering, most catering companies will ask for a rough estimate.
Hiring in professional caterers is certainly much easier than trying to organise the food yourself, especially for larger 18th and 21st birthday parties, for smaller events in the house however it may be easier and cost effective to provide your own catering. Do not forget the birthday cake; everyone will want to look at the cake and even more people will want a taste of it.