How to Plan a Birthday Party
Planning birthday parties is both fun and stressful. There are many elements of a good party to take into consideration, and the responsibility of the party being a blast falls on you. There are some fail-safe steps to take in order to plan a fantastic birthday party that will have everyone involved and having fun. Make sure thatyouhave fun along the way!
Deciding When and Where to Have the Birthday Party
Choose a date for the birthday party.The sooner you choose a date, the sooner you can get started with planning other elements of the party.
- Consult with the person whose birthday it is to determine a good day for the party. Check his/her schedule and take note of any holidays around that time. Keep in mind that many people travel for different holidays.
- It is advisable to host the party on a weekend. More people will be willing and able to come if it is on a weekend, because many people do not have to work on the weekends.
Select a time for the party.Appropriate times will vary based on who the party is for and the age of that person.
- If you are throwing a birthday party for a child, host it in the late morning or early afternoon. This is most convenient for families.
- If you are throwing a party for an adult, then an evening party is appropriate.
Decide on a budget for the party.Parties can easily consume a great deal of money, so it is important to come up with a budget and stick to it.
- Come up with an overall budget, meaning a total amount that you want to spend on the birthday party. Most people believe that a budget up to £200-300 is reasonable, and many feel keeping party costs under £150 is completely doable.
- Break down each element of the party (e.g. invitations, food, drink, decorations, venue) and decide how much should be spent in each area.
Create a guest list for the party.There are a few reasons for doing this.
- A guest list will help you ensure that no one is forgotten when sending out invitations.
- It will aid you in deciding where to hold the party. A guest list of 12 people means you could host the party in someone's home, if you wanted to do so, but a guest list of 50 people will likely need to be held somewhere else.
- This will eliminate the risk of people the birthday person does not want attending showing up to the party.
- Having a number of guests in mind enables you to determine how much food and drink will need to be provided, if you are doing that yourself or having it catered.
Consider where to have the party.This involves knowing the individual for whom the party is being thrown.
- Take into consideration what the birthday person wants. If he/she wants a more elaborate party, then work to plan the party in a venue that enables that. If he/she is into small gatherings with close friends, then aim for that instead.
- You will need to decide if you want to have the party in your home or someone else's home in order to keep the venue cost-free.
- Think about making a reservation at a restaurant if your party is of a reasonable size. Most restaurants can accommodate up to about 25 people without too much issue.
- Another idea is to host the party at a party or banquet hall. This will be a more expensive option, but it can easily accommodate more people.
- Think about the guest list and keep in mind if any guests need accommodations. Be sure that wherever you choose caters to people who need certain accommodations, like wheelchairs.
Planning Out the Party Details
Decide if the party should have a theme.Themed birthday parties can be a lot of fun, but they can also end up being more costly when you consider buying everything to match the theme.
- Weigh the pros and cons of having a themed party based on the person whose birthday it is. Would they like a themed birthday party?
- Consider whether it is a kid's party or an adult's party. Choose a theme that is age-appropriate, if you decide to go this route. For example, appropriate themes for children would be based on kid-friendly television shows or movies, circus, movie theater, a children's book, or carnival. On the other hand, appropriate themes for adults might be a black-and-white affair, casino, a decade theme, or an adult movie or television show.
Purchase and send out invitations.Once the earlier details are decided upon, then it is time to send out invitations to the guest list.
- It is best to send out the invitations about 3-4 weeks in advance of the party in order to give people enough time to plan for it. Be sure to include RSVP information on the invitation.
- Sending out the invitations after you have decided on the earlier details ensures that you have the guest list secured and that you have decided on whether to have a themed party, making you more organized.
- Be sure to reach out to some of the invited guests for help. They can help set up, clean up, provide food, decorate, and more. It is not necessary to do it all by yourself!
Create a plan for the food and beverages.Based on what you have decided for the party, you have different options for these aspects.
- Decide what type of food will be best for the party. If you chose a theme, then make sure the food flows with that theme.
- Know whether any of your guests have food allergies. If so, be sure to provide options that are safe for them to eat or let them know that they are welcome to bring their own food.
- Be realistic about how much food and drink to provide based on the length of the party. A party that is planned to be an hour or two might only require refreshments and birthday desserts, while a party that is meant to last for several hours will need more of a meal.
- Make sure that you plan for enough food and drink to cater to all of the guests. Err on the side of too much food rather than too little.
Know your obligations for providing the food and drinks.You may or may not be responsible for providing these things, based on your decision about where to host the party.
- If you are throwing the party in your home or someone else's, decide if you will make all of the food yourself. If not, then reach out to others and ask for their assistance in providing the food and drinks. A potluck is a great idea!
- If the party is going to be held at a restaurant, then no real planning needs to be done in this area, as the restaurant will take care of that for you!
- If the party is going to be at a party or banquet hall, then you need to check with their staff about catering options. Find out if you can bring the food, if they will cater the food, or if they have particular vendors they use to cater food for parties.
- Decide whether alcohol should be provided, if it is an adult birthday party. For example, if the birthday person does not drink and has many friends and family who do not drink, then alcohol would be unnecessary.
Gather decorations for the party.This is one of the most enjoyable parts of the planning!
- If you decided on a theme for the party, then this will be easy, as you will simply buy decorations to match the theme.
- If you did not decide on a theme, then think about what the birthday person would want. Does he/she like a lot of decorations, like balloons, streamers, and confetti? Or is he/she more of a laid-back person who is not interested in decorations? Purchase decorations accordingly.
- Decorations are not as important for an adult's birthday party, but they are quite important for a child's birthday party. Kids are imaginative, so even household items can contribute to the decorations if you want to save money in this area.
Choose entertainment options for the birthday party.This could involve several different types of entertainment.
- For a child's birthday party, there are many options. Games are great, but they often require supplies, so keep that in mind. You could have a story time, if it goes with the theme. Another idea is to have music playing. You could also hire an entertainer, such as a clown, a magician, or a scientist, if it is in your budget.
- An adult's party can just as easily include games. It would also be helpful to have music playing in the background, either via a disc jockey or via a homemade setup with a computer or smartphone and speakers. If the party is going to be out on the town, then the entertainment could come in the form of a live band or an activity, such as a comedy show.
Choose what dessert will be.For many birthday parties, this is the most important part!
- Most of the time, the birthday person will want a cake, especially if it is a child. Decide whether you are going to make the cake yourself or purchase one from a bakery.
- Know what kind of cake the birthday person likes, and take into consideration any food allergies of the guests. Have an alternative dessert ready if they cannot have the cake.
- If the birthday person does not want a cake, then provide what they do want! Cupcakes, brownies, pies, cookies, and ice cream are all perfectly acceptable substitutions for birthday cake.
Create a back-up plan in case of weather, especially if the party is outside.Have an alternative location prepared and a system for notifying the guests if the need arises.
Getting Ready for the Party
Arrange your organized help to assist you in setting up the party on the day of.This is why you asked them to help, so make sure they are there to help you!
- Set up the decorations and food, if necessary.
- If you are providing the food to the party venue, then be sure to get it to the venue on time.
- Give yourself enough time to set everything up. Rushing will result in mistakes.
- Have everything you need in one place, or have dedicated helpers be in charge of what supplies they are helping to provide. Know where everything is to streamline the process.
Have a plan for keeping the food hot or cold, depending on what it needs.
- If the food is being catered or provided by the restaurant, then that will be taken care of by that business.
- If you are providing the food in your home or someone else's, then be wary of putting the food out too early. Food can spoil if it is not kept hot or cold.
Notify your guests if you have to move the party to the back-up location.If you had an outdoor party planned and the weather is poor, then your guests need to know where to go instead.
Be prepared for mishaps, because they will happen.Take them in stride as best you can.
- Have a dedicated cool-down area if a child gets upset during the party. It is best if it is away from the rest of the guests.
- Have a first aid kit and anything else that you think might be necessary in case someone gets injured during the party.
- If you have pets, keep them secured away from the guests for the duration of the party. Unless your pets are very well behaved and trained, an issue could arise there, from someone being afraid of them to the pets getting loose.
QuestionWhat are good games and entertainment for a 13 year old's birthday party?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerHaving a disco party is easy to do; a movie is always good, and you can set up a popcorn bar to match or an ice cream or cupcake making station. You could also make pizzas.Thanks!
QuestionWhere is the best place to have a party?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on your theme. If it is in budget, renting a space can be very nice because you have a "blank canvas" to work with. Outdoors is also a good idea.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the best day/time to have a party?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe best day to have a really good party is when all the friends of the birthday person are present and available. You should be wary of this, especially when the party is in the summer, as a lot of people will be out of town during this period of time. Try to fix the party date as close as possible to the actual birthday date.Thanks!
QuestionWhat are the difficulties faced when planning a birthday party?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerMoney is usually an issue, but you'd also want to make sure you have plans for games or activities during the party, and that you choose the right food, and get enough of it. There might also be difficulty securing a venue, so if you have a place in mind, call as far in advance as possible to make sure you can get a reservation.Thanks!
QuestionWhat would be a good theme for a party that's celebrating two people of different ages (an adult and a child)?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerA craft night would be fun for both age groups. Crafts could involve varying levels of difficulty. You could do this at home or at an art studio.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I find a place to have the party?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGo for things you and your friends like to do. You can even have one at home, and decorate it with your favorite theme.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I plan games for a five-year-old's birthday party?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can stick with simple games like tag, hide and seek, or pin the tail on the donkey, or you can show them some cool science experiments (they don't have to be hard, 5-year-olds are easy to impress).Thanks!
QuestionWhat do brothers like for their birthdays?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThink about what they like to play with, and what the theme of the party is.Thanks!
QuestionHow many people should I invite for a sleepover?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt’s really up to you, but I would suggest no more than four. A bigger group would be more difficult to control.Thanks!
QuestionIs it possible to plan it in 24 hours?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, but it will be hard work.Thanks!
What time is suitable for the 21st birthday party?
Would a carnival or circus theme be good for my 5 year old's birthday party a week before Thanksgiving? How much distance should I put between the party and Thanksgiving?
- Have fun while you plan! You are planning a party, after all, so make sure that you enjoy the process.
- Do not be afraid to ask for help!
- Ice cream and cake are the main refreshments. Children will look for them first.
- Be very aware of any potential food allergies. People's reactions to food allergies vary but can be very serious, requiring emergency medical attention.
Sources and Citations
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