21 Things to Consider While Planning a 21st Birthday Party

Planning a 21st birthday party is always a fascinating experience. From this article, you’ll get to know how to make the most of the upcoming event! You’ll discover a birthday party themes list, smart tips on selecting and decorating the venue and many other pieces of advice.

1. Concept

Your birthday celebration ideas will depend on the general concept of the event. Would you like to host an intimate family gathering or a loud party with all your friends? How do you envisage the atmosphere at the event: cozy, romantic, full of drive…? You might want to select a theme for guys or girls or avoid being focused on gender at all.

2. Budget

No matter how large or limited your budget is, you should start with defining the sum that you can afford to spend on the celebration. Put down this figure and plan all the aspects of the event so that you fit into the limit. To cut down expenses, you might look for recommendations on how to plan a 21st birthday party on a budget. To track your upcoming expenses, you might want to use Excel with its in-build formulas.

3. Guestlist

Here is a step-by-step plan on creating a guestlist:

  • Compile a list of all people whom you’d like to invite. It might include only your friends or your family members too.
  • Narrow down that list according to the capacity of the venue that you hire for your 21 birthday.
  • Think of the closest circles of everyone whom you invite. For instance, it might be impolite to invite someone without their girlfriend or boyfriend.
  • Decide on whether your event is child-friendly.
  • Optionally, you might want to ask someone to review your list and tell you whether you’ve forgotten about someone important.

The number of guests will ultimately depend on your event’s budget. If you would like to have a pet-friendly event, make sure the chosen venue supports this format.

4. Date & Time

When planning a party, it would be wise to keep these tips in mind:

  • Saturday is the best day for inviting people to have fun. Most guests won’t need to go to work on Sunday. And they won’t need to rush to the party right from their work, as it might happen on Friday.
  • The ideal time for the start is 8-9 pm. You’ll have enough time to serve meals, enjoy the drinks, music and entertainment.
  • Top 21st birthday plans suggest that the celebration should last 3-4 hours. If some of your guests want to carry on, they should be able to relocate to another venue at night.

When booking a venue, ask the management whether they might allow you to stay for an extra couple of hours, if needed. Plus, get to know the price of the prolongation.

5. Venue

A professional birthday organiser would advise you to pay attention to the following aspects when choosing a venue:

  • Price.
  • Capacity. The bigger it is, the more you’ll need to pay for hiring it.
  • Location. Since your guests will be arriving from different neighbourhoods, they will appreciate if the venue will be located in the centre. Plus, you’ll be able to visit bars and clubs around it.
  • Inside or outside. Even if you dream of an outdoor event, you should organize it in a venue that has an indoor space. That would come in handy in case of bad weather or other emergencies.
  • Catering. Some venues might fail to provide catering, others might not allow you to bring your own catering.
  • License. Check the deadline for serving alcoholic drinks.
  • Music, decorations and entertainment. Ask the managers whether they will allow you to put all your 21st birthday event ideas into practice.

In this article, we won’t focus on party ideas at home. But remember you can have fun at your own house too!

6. Invitations

Most likely, your guests won’t mind if you invite them to your celebration with a regular phone call or WhatsApp message. Yet to impress them, you can create custom invitations in either printed or digital format.

You should specify the following information on the invitation:

  • Date
  • Time
  • Venue
  • Theme
  • Dresscode
  • Any other details that are relevant to your event

And don’t forget to customize each invitation by mentioning the guest’s name on it!

7. Theme Ideas

Here are a few examples of top-notch party ideas:

  • Latin fiesta
  • Black and white
  • Tropics
  • Aliens
  • Cowboys
  • Your favourite TV series of video game
  • Cyberpunk
  • Fashion show

The themes list could go on further and further.

8. Style

If you stick to any of the above-mentioned 21st birthday themes, you might want to invite a make-up artist to do face-painting or body art for your guests. Plus, you might want to distribute free accessories, such as fancy sunglasses, funny hats or paper masks.

9. Appointments and Bookings

One of the crucial rules of planning a birthday party is: try to book as early as possible. This principle applies to everything and everyone you might want to hire: the venue, catering, the DJ, the performers and so on.

10. Party Food

You should adjust your food to the time of your event. Here are a few smart recommendations that you might want to remember:

  • Inform your guests in advance how much food you’re planning to offer them
  • If you would like to party late at night, it would be enough to provide only light snacks
  • If the event starts between 7-8 pm, try to offer something more substantial to your guests
  • If you enjoy cooking, you can prepare one or two of your signature hits for the event

If you hire a venue, they should be ready to provide you with meals and snacks. If you want to buy or order something from third-party providers, you should discuss your 21st birthday food ideas with the venue’s management.

11. Decorations

Here is a selection of superb ideas:

  • Hang a balloon garland above the venue’s main door
  • Create personalized paper fans and banners
  • Pin your photos in chronological order on the walls or on a dedicated board
  • Place an installation with 21st bday balloons to create an Instagram spot

12. Music

When organising a party, you can do the following:

  • Hire a professional DJ or a live band and tell them in advance which songs you would love to hear
  • Allow your guests to DJ
  • Curate your own pre-recorded party playlist
  • Hire or purchase a karaoke machine, a screen and a few microphones

Talk with the venue about the equipment that they can provide you with.

13. Games

Make a list of simple and funny games that are familiar to all your guests. Think of small cute prizes that the guests can win.

14. Drinks

When planning a 21st birthday party checklist, you should include the following drinks there:

  • Champagne
  • Wine
  • Beer
  • Various spirits
  • Water
  • Juices
  • Soda

To make your event special, offer creative cocktails to your guests, preferably with funny names. And remind everyone to drink responsibly!

15. Photo & Video

One of the most popular mistakes is to hope that your guests will make enough pictures. In fact, people will be busy with food, drinks and having fun. Consider hiring a professional photographer and maybe also a videographer. Plus, you can get a photo booth — all your guests will adore it!

16. Transport

If your budget permits, hire a party bus or a limo for your guests to arrive in style. If the celebration takes place in a remote location, you should organize any type of transportation, not necessarily a posh one.

17. Cake

The cake should be the central element of your checklist. You might consider the following options:

  • Buy a ready-made cake
  • Order a custom one
  • Ask the venue to provide you with one
  • Bake a cake on your own

The cake should not only taste great but also look mesmerizing in photos and videos.

18. Speeches

Not every guest needs to deliver a speech for a friend — but the best friend should definitely do so. Great speeches hardly last more than five minutes.

You cannot just look for examples in the internet, copy the text and read it out loud. One should customize it to mention the unique character features of their friend and the amazing experiences they had together.

19. Shows and Entertainment

Here are some excellent 21st birthday party entertainment ideas that should impress your guests:

  • Acrobats
  • Caricaturists
  • Dancers
  • Glow shows
  • Human topiaries
  • Magicians
  • Sand artists
  • Silhouette artists

If you hire a venue, you might ask whether its managers can recommend performers to you.

20. Driver

When planning a party in a location where public transport might not be easily accessible, it might be wise to hire a driver. They will take the guests home safely and comfortably.

21. Don’t Forget About the 21 Birthday Party Traditions!

When thinking over party ideas, please keep in mind that it should be a classy and sophisticated event. Australians can legally drink alcohol as soon as they turn 18, so the spirits shouldn’t be the main focus of the celebration. Instead, your guests will expect to taste canapes, barbecue and cake.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, this article came in handy and provided you with a comprehensive answer to the question “What should I do for my 21st birthday?”. Plan things in advance, stick to your initial budget and be creative. Try to schedule the celebration on a Saturday, invent a cool theme, book fabulous entertainment and have fun!


What If I Hate Wedding Planning? 8 Tips to Make Things Bearable

Our editorial team received a letter from a desperate bride. She doesn’t want us to reveal her name — but we can share with you the details of her story. 

“I’ve been dating my partner for over two years. Four months ago, he proposed to me and our wedding will take place in half a year. 

But instead of being over the moon, planning my wedding is making me miserable. I genuinely love my future husband and he adores me too. I believe that we were born for each other. It’s not the idea of becoming his wife that I hate… I hate planning my wedding! 

I suffer from insomnia and I’ve lost appetite. I’ve become irritable and frequently break out in tears.

Is there something that could help me to cope with my feelings?”

Surprisingly, this is a rather widespread problem among brides-to-be. In this article, we will try to analyze the possible reasons for this phenomenon and share 8 wise tips with you.

Why can wedding planning be stressful?

boho style wedding flowers

In most cases, brides-to-be feel miserable because of the following reasons:

  1. They are shy and introverted by their nature.
  2. They are afraid to do something wrong.
  3. They are not sure whether they should spend that much money on the ceremony.
  4. They don’t want anyone to envy them — but they know that some people will.
  5. They are bad at organizing things. They have poor time management and task management skills.
  6. Even if they are normally good at organizing, they might feel too emotional. They think they might lose focus and forget about important details.
  7. They have seen too few weddings with their own eyes and they don’t know what to get started with.

For each of these problems, you can find efficient solutions. If you don’t know anything about modern weddings, you can look for videos and articles on the Internet. Also, you ask your friends for advice or consult a professional wedding planner.

People who fail to control their emotions might need to wait a bit. Your wedding won’t take place tomorrow or next week, right? You’ll have enough time to cool down and get used to the thought that you are a bride-to-be now. 

As for the spendings, you might get married only once in your life. Even if you tie the knot for the second or third time, it’s still a very special occasion. You can compare it to buying a new house or a new car. The memories about this day will stay with you for the rest of your life. Your kids and grandkids will be curious to see your wedding photos and videos. Professional wedding organizers say that people who economize on their weddings often regret it later. But those who make beautiful and heart-felt ceremonies never regret their expenses!

Most of the above-mentioned problems are based on an archetypal fear. Consciously or subconsciously, you might be asking yourself “Will my life change too drastically after the wedding? Will I need to sacrifice my freedom? Will my character, lifestyle and habits change?”. 

Today, all these fears hardly make sense. Yours is not an arranged marriage. You know your partner very well and you’re sure that they have deep feelings for you. Only the best is ahead of you, so cheer up!

How to plan the Big Day hassle-free?

wedding arch with flowers

Now, let’s focus on the 8 precious recommendations that should help you to overcome the “I hate wedding planning!” problem.

  • Relax

Hatred is a healthy and natural human emotion. If you hate something, there’s nothing wrong with it (or with you). If you hate wedding planning, it doesn’t mean that you’re crazy or inferior to everyone else. Just accept your feelings and don’t blame yourself

  • Take a break from wedding talks

Set the time when no wedding discussions are allowed. When you leave your office in the evening, you don’t reply to your client’s messages anymore, right? Customers know your working hours and they realize that you will answer them the first thing in the morning. You can apply the same principle to conversations about wedding planning. 

You can prohibit your closest people to talk to you about your wedding in the following time intervals:

  1. On Sundays
  2. During lunch breaks
  3. Early in the morning, before you had your first cup of coffee
  4. When you’re driving

Also, you should explain to your partner, friends and relatives when you feel more or less ready to talk about the ceremony. Plus, you might select an optimal communication channel: face to face, WhatsApp, email and so on.

  • KISS 

No, this principle doesn’t suggest that you should kiss your partner every time you feel stressed (however, that might be a good idea!). This acronym stands for “Keep it simple, stupid!”. 

Avoid exaggerations. Don’t tell yourself that planning a wedding ceremony is a challenging task that very few people on this planet can cope with. It’s not an exam or job interview. If you do something wrong, no one will punish you — and of course, your partner won’t leave you!

For perfectionists, it might be difficult to stick to the KISS principle. They believe that on their wedding day, they must look impeccable. They think that everyone expects them to throw a grandiose party. But the truth is that not everyone is a perfectionist. Most people take things much easier. They will be happy simply because you get married, period.

  • Ask for help

If you hate the process of planning your wedding, maybe your partner loves it? Your mother, sister or best friend might be huge fans of event organizing. Don’t hesitate to tell them that you would appreciate their help. Most likely, they will feel happy and privileged because you entrust them with such a responsible task. 

  • Define your priorities

What do you expect from your wedding? What is the most important aspect of it, in your opinion?

  1. Cost-efficiency
  2. An opportunity to see those people whom you meet too rarely (such as a childhood friend who lives abroad now)
  3. A splendid show
  4. Your chance to forget about the diet and eat so many tasty things
  5. Photos and videos where you will look gorgeous
wedding wooden decoration

Put the most effort into those aspects that seem paramount to you — and delegate all the rest. 

  • Focus on your preferences

You will feel less stressed when you concentrate on a particular type of activity that you like. These are just a few examples of what it might be.

  1. Planning the menu
  2. Choosing the dress
  3. Discussing the decorations
  4. Creating hand-made invitations

If you keep yourself busy with simple and practical things, you will forget about the drama.

  • Invite only your dearest and nearest

You don’t need to invite 100 guests to your big day. Instead, try to surround yourself only with those people whom you genuinely love and trust. Let it be just your closest relatives, a couple of friends and a couple of colleagues. Ask your partner to narrow down the list of guests that they might want to invite too.

wedding ceremony with relative on a beach

Intimate weddings have many advantages:

  1. They cost less than large-scale gatherings
  2. You will effortlessly find a venue
  3. It will be easier for you to calculate how many meals and drinks you need
  4. All the guests will stay connected and will be able to enjoy true family vibes
  5. You can be sure that the photographer takes enough pictures of everyone
  6. You will find time to talk to everyone and express your gratitude for the gifts

Besides, you won’t need to spend too much time and effort on organizational duties during the ceremony. The caterer, the DJ, your mum and many other people would be coming up to you to ask questions. The larger your party, the more decisions you will need to make on the spot. 

Some brides-to-be might think “What if my other friends and colleagues will get offended if I don’t invite them?”. Well, it’s your big day and not theirs. You can afford to be a bit egoistic on such an occasion. Your comfort and your positive emotions should be your top priority. 

  • Choose a calm venue

Some restaurants allow the newlyweds to book only a certain part of their premise. This means that apart from your guests, there will be many other people in the restaurant. You should avoid such venues!

If you like the style of rustic weddings, you can book an old barn in the countryside that was turned into a banquet hall. Yes, you will need to organize the transportation for yourself and your guests. But no third parties will disturb you there. You will be able to walk in the fields, take pictures, make videos and enjoy 100% privacy! Later on, you might have a rest in a boutique hotel.

If you prefer to stay in the city, you can book a small pub. You might book the venue for the whole day, for the whole evening or just for a few hours. If you opt for the latter, ask the administration whether they will be hosting any other events before or after your wedding. Ideally, there should be no evening concerts after your daytime party. 

Consider those venues that you know well. It might be the cafe where you met your partner or where you had your first date. Or it might be a restaurant in a quiet side street with hardly any traffic. If your partner wants to organize a wedding in a posh and trendy location, think twice whether you might agree or should insist on your variant.


If you’re a bride who doesn’t like weddings, don’t panic. You’re not the only person in the world who has this problem. 

You might be afraid to plan your own big day simply because you exaggerate. You think that it might be too challenging and too stressful — but in fact, it should be so much fun! Talk sincerely about your feelings with your dearest and nearest. Let them help you. Opt for an intimate ceremony instead of a large-scale one. 

Learn to relax and focus on your love!