Adults Birthday Party Guide

Good planning will ensure success so use the checklist below to plan your adult party.

Also see Party Planner & Checklist | Party Plan | Coordinators

Some say your first decision is... Do you plan the party yourself OR hire a Coordinator | Party Planner to organise the party for you?

Party Planning Checklist - PRINT

1. Pick a Date and Time
2. Make a Guest List
3. Decide on a Party Theme (if any)
4. Buy, Address and Send Invitations
5. Plan the Food
6. Plan for Drinks
7. Plan the Music
8. Plan and Buy Decorations
9. Organise games and fun!
10. Cleaning Up

Full Party Checklist - PRINT

3 to 4 weeks ahead of your party

Pick a theme and decide if you want a formal or casual party.
Pick a date and time
Make your guest list.
Purchase your supplies
Paper Goods Plates
Serving Platters or Trays
Table covers
Prizes for Games

2 to 3 weeks ahead of your party

Plan and prepare your menu Parties planned around meal time should include food and not just cake and ice cream.
Parties that are not planned during meal time can be cake, ice cream and beverages only.
Decide if you want finger foods, buffet or sit down type meal.
Do you want to prepare the food or have it catered?
If it is sit down, do you want to hire servers?
Party rental companies have many different items to choose from to help with your party. Like... tables, chairs, food warming units, etc.
Remember that many foods can be made ahead of time and heated the day of the party.

Send your invitations and be sure to put RSVP information and a date they should reply by. Not all invitations weigh the same so you should be sure you have enough postage on them.

1 week ahead of your party

Get a final count on the guests.
Prepare a final list of the menu items, games, prizes and paper goods and ensure that you have enough for each guest plus extra.
Purchase food items that don't need to be prepared or can be prepared and frozen until the party.
Check with and confirm all orders for food items ordered for the party.
Find the camera or video camera and be sure to have enough film, extra batteries or charge your camera batteries.
Some foods can be prepared now and will hold nicely until the party - be sure to consult your recipe or someone who knows food.

The day before your party

Decorate... it will make the day of the party less stressful. If your party is outdoors then you should wait for the day of the party to decorate.
Some foods can be prepared now and will hold nicely until the party - be sure to consult your recipe or someone who knows food.
If your party is early in the day than you can probably pick up the filled balloons - check with the people doing them and they will let you know. Ask for high float in your balloons - it helps them last and fly higher.
Be sure to defrost items made ahead and frozen.
Purchase ice if you have the room for it in your freezer.
Use an ice chest or big tub to fill with ice and canned or bottled beverages.
RELAX... your almost there!

Party Day...

Have a cup of coffee or tea then go over your lists one final time.
Prepare the rest of the food and beverages.
Prepare the activities and the prizes.
Decide what to wear and lay it out.
10-15 min. before guests arrive - set all food and beverages out.
Be sure to take time out for yourself to rest and relax before the party.
Turn on some music softly.
Don't forget the camera...

It is time... ENJOY your party!

Milestone Birthday Party

Milestone Birthdays are cause for special "create memories" parties -- they only happen once in each person's life, whether it is their 30th or 90th birthday. A few easy ideas can turn this special birthday party into a memorable celebration for both the honouree and the guests!

30, 40, 50, and beyond... A birthday celebration at any of these milestone ages is essential. The celebrant may not feel as young as he/she used to and will welcome a celebration. A great theme for any adult birthday party is "Good Old Days" celebration, where memorabilia from childhood through adulthood is incorporated throughout the entire party. Surprise parties are always an option, as they may not be expected at this age and bring the most fun to everyone. Whatever you decide upon, it's bound to turn an age-old event into a celebration of a lifetime.

Quick Party Tips

Party Time

The time set for the party tells the guests what to expect, for example: 5:00pm - indicates food will be served, it's dinner time and 2:00pm - is in between lunch and dinner, so food is not expected.


State clearly what guests should expect, for example:
Open House - "Please drop by between the hours of 2:00pm to 4:00pm"
Cocktail Party - "Join us for drinks and snacks from 5:00pm to 7:00pm"
Potluck - "Please bring your favourite dish for dinner at 6:00pm"
Surprise Party - "Park your car a block away and help surprise Marty with a buffet celebration"

Make your own or purchase ready-made invitations that match your theme - add a photo of the birthday person when they were a baby. Your guests will enjoy the personal touch!

Use old childhood pictures or newspaper headlines, photocopied in colour, saying "Look who's turning...". For example, "Nifty, Nifty, Look whose Fifty".

Inform guests of the attire, special dress or costumes needed (if applicable) and what kind of gifts, if any, would be welcome.

Gifts - To Bring or Not To Bring, that is the question to be decided and added to the invitations.

More Party Ideas

Ask everyone bring at least one small gag gift - will create enjoyment/entertainment for the guests and even some embarrassment to the guest of honour. (Keep this in mind when deciding on whether or not to invite children.)

Ask guests to bring gifts in quantities such as thirty coins, fifty pens, etc.

Ask everyone to chip in a certain amount for one big present

Donate money to the celebrant's favourite charity.

Wrap gifts for the celebrant more than once - they'll think they're losing their mind.

Decorations - General decorating ideas -- 30 balloons, 40 streamers, 50 candles, etc.


A party with a theme is a party with a good head start. It gives people an excuse to dress up and get into the swing of the party.

View Party Theme Ideas | View Adult Party Ideas | View Childrens Party Ideas

Food & Drinks

Again the first consideration is whether you want to prepare and serve food and drinks yourself, or hire a caterer or barman?

DIY Food and Drinks

If you're having the party in your home or at a restaurant, buffet style is the easiest way to serve food. If you are catering the meal, buffets are often less expensive than a formal sit-down affair. Serve large trays of food that can be prepared ahead of time for at home parties (Italian dishes, prepared meats, salads, etc). If a very informal party, have pizza delivered!

Snacks are important to provide for guests to munch on until dinner is served. Suggestions are Chips and Dips/Salsa, cheese and fruit platters, cold cut platters, buffalo wings, vegetables and dip. Even if you've never thrown a surprise or adult birthday party for someone before, ask around for suggestions and ideas.

Think back to parties you enjoyed and remember what foods were served.

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