Planning a birthday party doesn’t have to be difficult; it can be a fun process for you and all those involved in the planning. It starts by going through birthday party ideas to see what fits the person you’re celebrating, whether it’s you or someone else. Kids’ birthday parties will be different from parties for teenagers or adults. With some thoughtful consideration and planning, you can have a great party for whoever you’re celebrating.
Planning a Birthday Party
Before reviewing birthday party ideas, start by answering preliminary questions to help you in the rest of the planning process.
- Date and Time – The first thing you should decide on is a date and time. Weekends are usually the best time to plan birthday parties, so they don’t interfere with work or school. If there are close friends or family members you really want at your party or your child’s party, you may want to run the date past them before sending out invitations, to make sure there isn’t a conflict. If there is a conflict, you may want to consider changing the date.
- Budget – Setting a budget is important as it can be easy to go overboard. This will help you decide all the other elements of the party such as the number of guests, venue, and the menu. As you review birthday party ideas, you can quickly identify which ones wouldn’t meet your budget, which will help you narrow down your list.
- Place – Once your budget is set, you can decide on the venue. Smaller budgets will require free or low-cost venues such as someone’s home or backyard. If your budget is small, think outside the box; could you possibly do your party at a church or the park? If your budget is larger, you might rent a banquet hall at a hotel or have the event catered in a private room at a restaurant. If you have specific birthday party ideas in mind, you must think about how much space you’ll need for activities or entertainment before deciding on a venue.
- Menu – Consider the person celebrating his or her birthday. What do they like to eat and drink? Are they gluten-free, low-carb, diabetic, or do they have other dietary needs? Should alcohol be served? This all depends on the honoree’s age, lifestyle, and preferences. The birthday menu should honor the person celebrating their birthday and consider the needs of the guests. Determining the menu will also help you find the right caterer if the birthday party is a catered event.
- Cake – In deciding on the cake, you will want to consider your budget and the tone of your party. A beautiful cake from a high-end bakery will certainly delight guests, but it will also come with a hefty price tag. If you have a tight budget, or the tone of your party does not call for an extravagant cake, consider baking your own or ordering one from a grocery store bakery. Cupcakes are also a nice alternative.
- Guest List – Most birthday parties include close friends and family members. The number of guests depends on your budget and the location of the party. If your party is at home, you must figure out how many people you can accommodate. Also, take into consideration the formality of the event. All guests should receive an invitation whether it’s an email, phone, or card invitation. Large or more elaborate celebrations might require a card so that guests have all the details they need. Even for less formal parties, a card invitation is a nice touch so you can relay the theme of the party for your guests.
- Decorations – You’ll first need to look at birthday party ideas and choose the right one to help you decide on decorations. This could be as elaborate or as simple as you want. Happy birthday banners are popular for home parties involving children or family only, and sometimes, there aren’t any decorations at all because the food, cake, and activities are festive enough. Larger formal events require more decorations in the form of flowers and centerpieces to liven up the venue.Don’t forget that tablecloths, napkins, and plates can serve as decorations by using colors associated with the theme of the party. You can mix and match these elements to create a fun, casual or elegant atmosphere.
- Activities and Entertainment – This depends on the theme of your party. Will you need to plan games and activities to make it more fun? What supplies or items will you need? Will you need to hire musicians or entertainers, or will light music in the background suffice? If you aren’t sure what to do, review the birthday party ideas below to help you decide on activities and entertainment.
Birthday Party Ideas for Kids
There are a lot of birthday party ideas for kids. No matter what you choose, make sure it’s filled with fun for a memorable event.
Costumes aren’t just for Halloween. Have your guests wear costumes and have ballots for votes. You can award the winners with prizes. You can also ask guests to dress in a certain theme (like the 80s, princesses, and cowboys).
If your child loves a certain superhero, have a themed party celebrating their favorite hero. Plates, cups, napkins, and tablecloths can match the theme and colors of the superhero. For entertainment, groups of guests can act out a scene from the story, or you could even have the movie or cartoon play in the background.
Picnics are a great affordable way to throw a birthday party. Plus, you’ll have plenty of room for relay races, hide-and-seek, and a variety of other games and sports. Be sure to have a backup plan in the event of rain or bad weather.
Children love learning about animals. Zoos provide all the entertainment you’ll need to keep guests busy and happy. Call ahead for discounted group tickets or party packages. Speak to the zoo personnel to see if you’re allowed to bring outside food or drinks.
A makeup party could include lots of eyeshadow palettes, lip glosses, glitter, and applicator brushes so the children can put makeup on each other. Make it complete with dress-up elements like tiaras and feather boas for fun photos after everyone is made up.
Choose your child’s favorite sport and have your party in the park so the kids can play. Make sure someone is there as a referee; someone who understands the game and rules to keep things fair for both teams.
Have your guests dress up in costumes or dresses for an elegant tea party in your backyard. Make sure you have flowers and pretty elements like cloth napkins, real silverware, teacups, and saucers. For the menu, think of fancy finger foods like mini sandwiches and scones.
Arts and Crafts Party
Purchase arts and crafts supplies for making jewelry, painting, and more. Have a lot of supplies so the kids can personalize their work of art. It will provide hours of entertainment and guests will have something to take home.
Image from Flickr.com, via Loren Javier
Have a poolside party with leis for the guests and encourage them to wear a Hawaiian shirt. Serve up burgers and hot dogs, but make it fun with toppings and condiments like sweet-and-sour sauce and pineapple salsa. The pool can serve as entertainment.
Birthday Party Ideas for Adults
Some parties are just for food and good conversations, but why stop there? These birthday party ideas can liven up the event and make it fun.
Image from Flickr.com, via Presidio of Monterey
Ask guests to dress up in a costume of a specific decade, like the 20s, 60s, 80s or 90s. Play music from that decade and serve popular foods from that period to make it authentic.
Wine and Cheese Tasting Party
Get a variety of cheeses, including those that are not common, and several types of wine. Serve on large cheeseboards with markers to identify the different cheeses.
Tapas are all the rage. Serve a variety of appetizers and small bites. For a potluck-type event, ask guests to bring mini-bites that everyone can taste, and the recipe so it can be shared with guests. You can also have ballots for voting and prizes for the winning bite of the evening.
Image from Flickr.com, via Jared eberhardt
This can be loads of fun for the right group. You can purchase an inexpensive karaoke machine online and load it with your favorite songs. Take votes and have a prize ready for the best performance. Make sure you load it with duets!
Sporting Event Party
Image from Flickr.com, via Sports Traveler
Attending a sporting event, such as a football or baseball game, could be a party in itself. Make it fun by bringing Happy Birthday posters or dressing silly for the event.
Image from Flickr.com, via Sports Traveler
Wine and painting parties have become very popular. Find a local art studio that offers painting classes for groups. It’s a fun activity, and your guests will have a piece of art to take home.
These birthday party ideas are just a few out of hundreds. Be creative to find the right theme for your birthday party. Mash-up different birthday party ideas to come up with the perfect one. No matter what you choose, consider the person you’re celebrating and make sure it reflects who they are as a person so you can craft a memorable, fun-filled event.