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Birthday Party Ideas

8 Great Steps for Planning a Birthday Party

Kids aren’t the only ones who love birthday parties – adults love them, too! But maybe you’ve never planned a party. Where do you start? Is it ok to just blow up some balloons and hand out noisemakers? Do you need to provide entertainment? Below you’ll find 8 simple steps that will get you on your way to planning a fabulous birthday bash.


Into every party plan, a little budgeting must fall. Be realistic about what you can spend and then stick to it. It's also helpful to decide what the most important factors are. Are you set on a big, extravagant cake? Will you be hiring entertainment? Will you need lots of decorations? Budget the largest chunk of change to whatever you feel are the "must-haves" and then adjust the remainder of your budget accordingly. Don't forget to budget for your gift, as well.

Pick a Theme, Any Theme

When it comes to choosing a theme for an adult's birthday party, pretty much anything goes! From surprise parties or casino nights to Hollywood glamour or "over the hill", there are lots of themes you can make uniquely your own. But remember - the party is in honor of someone special, so stay away from anything that would be embarrassing or in bad taste.

Who's Who

Who will you invite to the birthday party? Just a few close friends? Friends and co-workers? Family? Everyone the guest of honor has ever known? Will it be "girls only" or "boys only"? Unless it's a surprise party, work with the guest of honor (and your budget) to try to determine how many guests will be invited to the shindig.

The When & Where

Once you have a rough idea of how many people may be attending, you'll need to decide where to have the birthday party. Will your home be large enough? Will you need to rent tables and chairs to accommodate everyone? Or will you need to have the party at a restaurant or hall? Decide what location will suit your needs, then set a date and time.

Send Invitation

Once you've determined a location, date and time, it's time to send the invitations. Try to send them 4-6 weeks ahead of time so that the guests have plenty of time to purchase a gift and make travel and/or childcare arrangements. The invitations can range from formal and traditional to casual and fun. Many people even choose to simply print their own - especially if they're on a budget.

On the Menu

What kind of food will you serve? Whether you're serving finger-type foods or having the event catered, now is the time to plan what will be served to eat. When planning drinks, be sure to have caffeine and alcohol-free options available, too. This is also the time to select what type of cake you'll serve.

Fun, Fun, Fun

While some themes (like a casino night) will require you to have games planned out, other themes may offer more flexibility. Many parties are fine with just music and mingling, but it's a good idea to have some fun activities planned in case your guests need help getting in the party mood. Activities such as charades and karaoke will usually liven things up and get your guests loosened up.

Decor & More

No matter what theme you choose for the birthday party, you'll need decorations...a banner and streamers at the very least. Party supply stores offer inexpensive decorations for a variety of party themes, so it shouldn't be difficult to find what you need. And besides the decorations, you'll want to make sure you have enough cups, plates, napkins, eating utensils, etc. Stock up now so you're not caught short during the party! With a little planning, even the most inexperienced host can pull off a fun and fabulous birthday party that grownups will adore.