So you're about to have a Big Birthday, turning a milestone new number. It may see you earn the keys to the door or reach a new decade, or even hit your year of retirement. You want a party to remember and you want your guests to remember it too. How do you make sure your guests enjoy your party as much as you will and talk about it for weeks, maybe even months, into the future? You need our secret tips to help you throw the best ‘coming of age' party ever!
1. Mix it up
When you're deciding who to invite to your party, don't fret about keeping to the usual friendships groups. When organising a big ‘coming of age' party, it's great to have people of all ages and from all parts of your life around you. In the right environment, you may be surprised how well your different groups mix.
2. Give people something to do
Your closest guests are likely to enjoy getting involved and taking a role in the party preparation. Plus, you get helpers at your party without having to feel guilty about roping them in! By pulling your guests into the preparations, they will feel more invested in the party and making it a success, so everyone will be looking forward to a good time.
3. Make your theme extravagant
You're only going to celebrate this milestone once! Make the theme seriously extravagant for a party to remember. There are no limits, so choose whatever you fancy; masquerade, black tie, Vegas, Moulin Rouge! You can incorporate décor, drinks, costumes and food into your theme, and it's a great way to get people talking at the party.
4. Focus on fun
Don't stress about every little detail at the party, but instead keep your focus on what's most important: having fun! Clearly, games are a great way to keep the fun going in your party, it will generally depend on your party audience but a fun quiz or even a silly balloon game can keep you and your guests giggling. For adult parties, think up some light drinking games to get the party started, but be careful never to get too competitive or let these games go on too long! If you're not so keen on arranged games, consider featuring a bowl of funny conversation starter questions to keep everyone entertained and chatty.
5. Keep the food and drinks flowing
Obviously, everyone has a budget, but if you have the resources then be prepared to stock up on more than you might need for your party. It's awful to run out of drinks or food, so make sure you over-supply your party. Have liquors on hand, get plenty of bottles in and have all the ingredients for any favourite signature cocktails. If you are serving food at your party, ensure there is enough for everyone and any surprise plus ones. Even if it's not the main part of your evening, make sure there are enough canapés and snacks for everyone to enjoy throughout the night.
6. Set your stage
It may sound strange, but the lighting in a party can really affect the mood. If the lighting is too bright with an overhead focus, people will often feel self-conscious and very aware of what's going on around them. Ambient lighting is a great way to set a mood. This can be achieved with soft side lamps or with candles, just be aware of fire hazards! Of course, a party would not be complete without some personalised décor. Whether you feature the face of the main star of the party on posters or use colours and patterns to compliment your theme, décor is always a great way to create an ambience.
7. Don't pressurise yourself.
Have various people to help out on the day or night, so that the pressure is off you. It's your day and you should be able to relax and enjoy it. If you rope some friends in to help you organise and run the party, you will have less to worry about. The worst mistake many people make is to expect everything to go smoothly and for every moment to be perfect; this is very rarely the case! Don't panic if a drink is spilled or the food runs a little late; most of the time, the guests will barely even notice!
8. Create a signature drink and a self-serve bar
Another fun twist and personal touch to add to your big party is to feature a signature drink. You can even dub the concoction a funny name or phrase personal to you or unique to your party, but look to use popular spirits and mixers to ensure it will be well received. If you have an established and tended bar in your venue, brief the bar workers in advance and leave them with simple instruction guides to ensure they are well prepared for the night. If you have a self-service facility, leave all the components in clear view complete with guides on the countertop for people to help themselves!
9. Organise the seating
Encouraging a bit of mingling once the guests have settled in can lead to a really fun, friendly and open atmosphere. Wait till the party has warmed up a little before playing games or switching up the seating plan. In case some people don't click so well, keep it to a short time e.g. switching seats for each course during a sit-down meal. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but try and get your guests to mingle as much as possible. A recipe for mixing success is to think about personalities and things people may have in common and position them accordingly.
10. Keep the music ambient
Finally, you need a good playlist to set the mood. Depending on what sort of party you're having for your big birthday, you'll know what sort of music you'll need. If it's a dinner party then go for gentle, ambient background music which will work well behind chatter. Save the sing-along numbers for parties where there will be dancing and even consider a bit of karaoke later in the evening. Another thing to consider when deciding on music is who is attending your party. Certainly please yourself, but maybe think twice before putting on that heavy metal playlist after your parents or grandparents have just shown up!
There we have it. Our top 10 secret tips for a great ‘coming of age' party. You'll have THE party to remember now!