Adult birthdays are always worth celebrating. However, adults are a lot more discerning than a roomful of 5-year-olds. Therefore, the details become all the more important. In this article, we will offer 10 tips for planning the ultimate adult birthday party right down to the last detail.
1. Always create your budget first
You can’t move forward without a budget in mind. Is the cost of the event falling on your shoulders as the person throwing the party, or is it a group effort with contributions from family and friends?
If you’re the lone host, then you know how much you can afford. If others are involved in the hosting, ask each person how much they are willing to pitch in. Once you have the number set, you can start pricing all the essential elements from an event venue in Vaughan to entertainment.
2. Consider your “non-negotiables”
Create a list of all your party elements, broken down into non-negotiable details like your venue, catering/bar, and cake, and then a list of nice-to-haves. Priorities will vary based on the celebrant.
For example, if they love the party, but aren’t as concerned about the food, you can focus on snacks with a substantial bar and ramped-up entertainment like a live band.
On the other hand, if they are all about the food, then focus on the menu, wine, and maybe a DJ. Prioritize each item to get a better idea of budget allotment.
3.Have an A, B, and C guest list
Guest lists tend to be a sensitive discussion. Because the budget determines how many guests you can invite, you need to prioritize your list. Creating an A, B, and C guest list allows you to know who to invite first:
- A list: Your closest family and friends.
- B list: Friends, professional associates, and extended family that probably should be invited.
- C list: The people you’d like to invite if your budget or guest count allows.
Enlist close friends and family to help prepare the list, and use the numbers to narrow down your venues.
4. Choose a date suited to most guests
The longer your guest list, the sooner you should set the date. You want to ensure that you give enough notice to the guests you most want to attend. First, consider any existing events that will conflict with the birthday party, such as weddings.
Also, the date should be reasonably close to the actual birth date. Remember, you’ll need to be flexible with a few possibilities to make it work with your guests and your preferred venue.
5. Consider the type of party
Before choosing a venue, you need to know what type of party you’re throwing. Is it a brunch, a dance party, or maybe a cocktail party?
Will it circle around an event like going to a concert or sports event, or maybe an activity like golf or skating? Is it a formal gathering focused on a meal and dancing afterward, or is it more casual, such as a barbecue with games?
6. Use a checklist when considering venues
Once you know what type of party you want to throw, it becomes easier to narrow down your venue choices. A checklist allows you to compare apples to apples when speaking to each venue. Your venue should:
- Accommodate your guest list
- Allow you to decorate to suit your theme
- Offer a flexible menu (whether it is a five-course meal, cocktail party, or buffet)
- Be centrally located to make it easy for most guests to get there
- Be within budget
- Offer an event planner
- Provide flexible event space to suit your needs
- Focus on service
- Make an excellent impression
- Provide a private entrance separate from other events
When you find the venue that checks the most boxes, you can schedule a tour and discuss the details of your party.
7. Understand the difference between theme and style
A themed party is associated with something very specific such as a favourite movie, an era in time, a trend (like disco), or even a location such as Paris.
A style is based on the special touches at the party through décor, the menu, and the overall ambiance you wish to create. When going with a theme, you need to decide on the following:
- Will guests be asked to dress in costume?
- What details are crucial to create a clear theme?
- Does the theme impact the menu?
- What entertainment/activities tie in with the theme?
If your party is based on a style, the considerations are quite different:
- Is there a dress code for guests?
- What is the colour palette to set the right tone?
- What inspiration does your guest of honour offer, such as hobbies, favourite colour, passions, etc.?
- What type of menu suits the style?
8. Send invitations at least six weeks out
Ideally, you want to give guests at least six weeks’ notice. For larger birthday parties, consider sending out a save-the-date notice two weeks prior to your invitations. This will help ensure you see a higher attendance.
Your invitations should reflect the theme or style you have chosen and include the following information:
- The theme, if there is one.
- Dress requirements, whether it is theme-related or dress code.
- Whether gifts are expected (today, it is traditional to state gifts are not expected but appreciated).
- The date and time, as well as the duration, such as ending at midnight.
- Location with directions.
- A request for special dietary needs.
- An RSVP deadline.
You can send out invitations from your B and C lists if you receive negative responses.
9. Match your menu to your party style
When planning your menu, you want it to reflect your event’s style and/or theme. For example, a sit-down menu with a few courses is ideal for a formal gathering, while a buffet might work for a less formal event.
However, buffets can also be quite elegant, with multiple choices allowing guests to choose the foods that suit their diet restrictions.
Speak to the chef to arrange a tasting of the foods you are considering to ensure the food meets your standards. Don’t forget to include your guest of honour’s favourite foods, and ask your chef how they can include them.
Have the chef prepare and finalize the menu before the event, and be sure to send them your final guest count.
10. Match your entertainment to the theme
Birthday party entertainment should be based on the style or theme of your event. For example, hiring a live band or DJ or planning an activity such as golf or skating makes sense sans a theme, while other possibilities such as dance lessons, casino or game show activities, or watching a movie tie in with a theme.
These tips will help you plan the event of the year and honour the people you love.