Turning 18 is the beginning of someone’s adulthood with so many new opportunities and adventures just around the corner! But before adult life kicks in, it’s time to start planning an awesome 18th birthday party! We’ve teamed up with Bernadette from Sparklebox to give us the best tips on what you really need to consider when throwing an 18th birthday party and how to make it a special event for everyone. Sparklebox have a hand picked team that are experienced in creating events that inspire and excite, leaving a lasting impression on your guests, so you know that they have all the right advice for you!
Planning and Safety
Bernadette have given us the perfect advice on how to ensure the safety of your guests and making sure the party runs smoothly. As most of your guests will most likely be young adults, it is a good idea to have at least 5 responsible adults present for every 50 guests. These adults may also be responsible for dealing with any uninvited guests. They should have a guest list and a plan for what to do when crashers come in and ruin your party.
She also states that having some house rules for your party is a good idea. This would include whether alcohol will be served or allowed at the party, how long the party will go for and if some areas are to be off limits. She also points out that you should have a safe, lockable place for all your gifts and valuables.
Some other things to consider is to let your neighbours and your local police know that you are having a party, this way the police will know if they need to monitor your area. Make sure to check your local council limits on noise to avoid any complaints or tension with your neighbours.
Bernadette adds to “make sure party guests get home safely or have them sleep over. It may be a good idea to let people know about public transport options on the party invitation, encourage them to be picked up or have a designated driver, or else call a taxi for them.”
Theme and Styling
The most exciting part about party planning is deciding what type of party you want to throw. Bernadette says that having a theme gives a party instant energy. Maybe you already have a few ideas in mind such as costume themed, day-BBQ, formal, or even keep it casual with no theme at all. We love talking about trends and styling here at the Party Affairs office, so we have narrowed down a few of our favourites here.
Try asking guests to stick to one colour, or two such as black and white. A summer trend is having an all white party. This would be perfect for an outdoor party.
You could pick a specific decade such as a 1950’s cocktail party, or you could leave it up to your guests to choose a decade and dress in the popular fashion of that time. A perfect accessory for a 50’s cocktail party would be these Jewel Trim Eyelashes for $15.95 from Fancy That Costumes. And while you are there, you can check out all the other costumes and accessories on offer.
Bohemian Backyard party
Boho parties are perfect for those more low-key events. An intimate setting of low tables with pillows and rugs, and simple flower arrangements. Guests could style themselves in boho-chic fashion, perfect for the theme.
Here are some photos from one of Sparklebox’s styling for a Tiffany & Co themed 18th birthday party, another great idea!
Today it is pretty easy to manage your guest list through social media, so it’s perfectly acceptable to create an event on Facebook and keep your friends in the loop with the party. Just remember to set the event to private to avoid unwanted guests joining.
If you would like to send printed invitations to your guest list you could consider using these cute invitations listed on Ruby Rabbit. A 10 pack is $15, and they stock so many more options to check out.
Bernadette reminded us to list the special dress code on your invitation, or better yet have the invites designed to matched the theme to ensure everyone gets involved!
Bernadette’s advice on picking a venue is asking yourself a few initial questions. Will everyone fit? Can you afford it? And when possible, consider hiring a venue like a hall, that way your home will not be subject to damage.
If you are lucky enough, your parents might offer the house up for the night, meaning you can save money and have some adults around to look out for all your guests. This way you can also have full control over the decorations, food and entertainment, which we will give you tips on throughout this post.
If your parents aren’t open to the idea of a home party, it might be worth looking into booking a restaurant and bar with a private function room for the night. Places such as Melbas On The Park have great packages for parties, not to mention the famous Melbas nightclub if all your guests are 18+.
We have also been crushing hard on Austream Affairs and their sleek and shiny vintage 1972 model Austream. If your party is going to be quite intimate, imagine having this set up and sitting back with some casual drinks and nibblies. Contact them for more information or for a quote.
Depending on where you are hosting the party you may or may not have a lot of options for what type and how many decorations you have. Balloons are a must though, and they have definitely become cooler since we were kids, some with confetti and different shapes and sizes.
Balloon Saloon stock these trendy Megaloons to spell out your name or your age. Get in contact with them for pricing and availabilities.
Aside from balloons there are also garlands, paper plates and cups to consider.
We are loving Favor Lane’s range! Here are some of our favourite products at the moment.
An important tip – think about the food! Ask yourself what are you going to eat, and who will provide it? Bernadette’s helpful pointer is to ask everyone to bring a plate. This is an easy way to cut down costs and preparation time!
Lolly buffets and snacks
Guests usually get peckish throughout the night, so stocking up on snacks is essential. You could even try making your own lolly buffet if you are on budget by selecting a few different types and displaying them in different shaped bowls. Guests like to take a goodie bag home so providing them with small bags is something to consider. How about these Stand Up Paper Bags from Small Favours setting you back only $5 for a 12 pack.
By lunch or dinner time everyone will be hungry, so don’t forget to plan your menu once you know how many guests are coming. Make sure you ask them on the invitation if they have any dietary requirements too. If you are having a large-scale event you might want to hire catering to take care of the food. Consider Flavours Catering for a beautiful selection of fresh food!
Or Roaming Gourmet for their delicious salad bar.
Get those candles ready, the cake is about to come out! But what type of cake?! Cake businesses have lifted their game in recent years, just check out our cake directory online to see for yourself. Feast your eyes on this cake by A Little Bit Fancee, specialising in bespoke, couture designs for delicious cakes.
Or what about this beauty from Nancy’s Groovy Cakes! Perfect for an 18th birthday party. Located in Georges Hall NSW, they are happy to cater your cake to your needs! Just call or email them to discuss cake flavours and pricing.
Depending on what time of the year your birthday is your friends may or not be able to have a few drinks with you. It is important to take responsibility for those who can and can’t drink at the party, but either way, everyone is going to have fun. Bernadette says “If you decided to serve alcohol at your party, it is a good idea to have someone over 18 serve it. That way they can keep an eye on how much alcohol is consumed and who should or shouldn’t be drinking (under 18’s)!” And make sure you have a plan for what to do when someone gets sick or drunk to avoid a ruined party.
It may be safer to have your 18th as a BYO for those who can drink but provide some delicious mocktails to make all your guests feel included.
We found this super easy Moscow Mule Mocktail, with only three ingredients it would be perfect in a big pitcher or dispenser.
1/2 cup Ginger Beer
3 tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
3 tbsp Club Soda
Mix ingredients and pour into your dispenser with 3/4 full of crushed ice. Stir together. Garnish with lime wedge.
Recipe adapted from The Merry Thought.
Bernadette’s plan for bringing the party to a close is genius! She says it’s a good idea to stop serving alcohol around an hour before the end of the party. Turning down the music a bit can also help wind down the night, also serving some sweet snacks and hot drinks.
There are lots of ways to keep your guests entertained throughout your party. Bernadette even says having some organised games can be fun. She reminds us not to be afraid to make people participate.
Photo booths are such a fun addition to any party. Check out our listings online to see who your local suppliers are and how much it is to rent one for your event. We love Hollywood Photo Booths because they have awesome package deals and their booths come with a live view screen, allowing you to choose from either colour, black & white, sepia or even a video option. Their mission is to leave an ever lasting memory for every occasion big or small, so be sure that they would make your party awesome!
If you are feeling creative, you could set up your own DIY photo booth or backdrop. Check out this tutorial for a spring foliage backdrop.
Once you have set up your backdrop, just set up a camera on a tripod with the self-timer on and some user instructions, and snap away with your friends and family.
Music and Karaoke
Bring out the speakers and get some sweet tunes ready for your party. Bernadette knows that music is essential, but there’s no need to spend a fortune on DJ’s. Just download some tunes and hook up a playlist to some sound equipment! If you are up to date with what’s hot for parties then you probably already know what you are adding to your playlist. Make sure to have it all ready before the party so you aren’t fussing over the music on the night.
If you do have the budget and are thinking about getting a DJ or karaoke machine at your party have a look at Alan Casey Entertainment. They have a huge range of party entertainment packs on offer.
Whether you’re having a small or large 18th birthday party, it’s the finer details that make it count. The main purpose is to celebrate you, so you don’t have to go over the top with trying to impress everyone. If you are organised and put some thought into your planning, you know your guests will call it the best 18th ever! And just as Bernadette states, have a budget. And whatever happens, don’t break it!