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Adult Birthday Party

Planning a birthday party is like going on camping trip: half the fun is getting there and setting up. To reduce the stress and bother of organising a party, having a simple plan and structure goes a long way. There may be a lot of things to take into consideration: whether you are going to have a theme, are you going to have entertainment, is there going to be a disco, the catering options, how many guests are coming and what’s the best way to decorate your hall or venue to make the right birthday celebration atmosphere.

If you are having a kids birthday party, you may need to structure your party to time slots so things won’t get out of control and the kids are kept preoccupied in activities. If you’re having an adult birthday party, you may be looking towards hiring a bar and staff and having professional mobile DJ for the dance floor.

The sooner you begin organising, the less worry you will have. Try thinking about 6 – 4 weeks in advance, and take a step-by-step process to getting things organised. Below is basic plan for an adult’s birthday party: for age marks such as sweet 16, 18th, 21st, 30th, 40th, 50th for example. For a kid’s party (ages 3 – 10), click here for our children’s birthday party guide.


1) Decide on your venue

2Through doing some research of halls for hire around the Essex & London areas, we got an idea of different costs of hiring out a basic hall for the night. There are halls / venues which include services such as a staff operated bar for extra costs, or there are mobile bars for venues which do not already have bars in. Just check with the hall in question what they allow and whether there are any restrictions (such as bar closure at 11:30pm).

Get a quote on the costs and allocate a time slot. Some halls allow rental of the hall for the entire day, some you can hire out just for an evening. Depending on whether you are having your party at a weekend or weekday, there are also different costs (please note that it’s more likely to get a hall for a weekend, as for weekdays there would be functions already scheduled during this time such as clubs & societies).

The cost is extremely variable depending on size, location, extras and sometimes the amount of guests. Some hall hires start as low as £50, some go as far as £375. But generally, we found a lot of basic hall hires are around the £70 – £80 mark for an evening. Search your local area for community centres, community halls and function rooms. There will be a good deal somewhere in your area, it just takes a little research.

If you are celebrating a summer birthday, you may consider a garden marquee or gazebo hire.

2) Decide whether you want a mobile DJ

For an additional cost, you can hire a mobile DJ for your disco. Most DJs cover kids parties, wedding receptions, birthday parties and other celebrations. All you have to make sure is that the DJ has good referrals, reviews and will take a schedule of song requests or playlists prior to your party so you can be even more organised.

Hire for parties has a range of mobile DJ hire packages available, visit the Mobile DJ Hire section of our website for more details. Prices start from just £249.

3) Decide on your theme, decorations & lighting

MASKED-BALLIf you’re going to have a theme, you will need to consider additional decorations for your venue. Seeing as it is a birthday party, it would be best to go with the theme that the birthday boy or girl wants; or something that defines them as a character if its a surprise birthday party. With a theme you can have a lot of fun with the buffet design; coloured cupcakes, plate colours and the overall colour of your venue or themed decorations and effects.

If you decide on film, hollywood or tux & cocktail dress birthday themes; hiring a red carpet will be a great option for making your guests feel special. Or if you’re going for a simple colour theme such as pink & white, then hiring LED uplighters to change the colour of your venue will work wonders.

Some great theme ideas… Fancy dress, tux & cocktail dresses, film or comic themed, decades, james bond, blank vs blank (emo vs chav, hippies vs hipsters, mods vs rockers, marvel vs DC), seven deadly sins,


1) Draw up your guest list and send out invitations

Your potential guests will appreciate knowing well in advance about your party. Include directions to the venue with a map, inform them of parking arrangements and local taxi services. Supply them with details of the theme so they have time to buy costumes.

The best way of doing this is via social networking nowadays, but if you prefer paper-based invitations you may need to take a little more time to design a template (on Microsoft Publisher for example), or consider a printing company to design & print them for you.

2) Decide on what catering you need

Will you need any additional tools for catering? Such as hot plates, catering urns or will you want to hire a caterer which will make everything for you? A lot of halls provide access to the kitchen facilities, so you may find that you can prepare and store food at your venue instead of making it at home.

cateringA popular catering option for birthday parties is having a buffet or snack food, and most supermarkets offer party platters both frozen & fresh. Think of snacks that are filling and fun: such as decorated cupcakes, chocolate fountains, crudites and dip, blinis with smoked salmon, mini pasties or oriental cuisine favourites such as gyoza, prawn toast and wontons.

Make sure your quantities match a good amount per head. Aim to provide a large plateful of savory and a small plateful of sweet options per guest, excluding the birthday cake.

3) Decide whether you need to provide seating or dining tables

Most halls include full use of their tables and furniture, and if they do not you may need to consider hiring dining tables and chairs. Think of how many you need for your guests: providing a few chairs that get coats slung over them will not be enough. Make sure there is at least one chair for almost everyone: as many people will prefer standing anyway.

4) Decide whether you are making the cake yourself, or placing an order with a bakery

The central piece of every birthday party: the cake! Making your own cake can be fun to get involved with, but unless you are equipped to make a large cake; this would only go around small parties. Consider contacting a cake makers or specialist bakery for your perfect birthday cake that will have guests buzzing days after the event.


1) Decide on any additional extras or pieces you may have missed

There’s still time to organise the things you need to hire & purchase. Will you need to clean up your venue at the end of the night? Will you need heating or air conditioning for your venue? Sometimes we miss these little things that could have spared you a lot of fuss and difficulty during & after the party. Take time to fill in the gaps and decide if there are any extras you need to provide.


1) Check the RSVP list

Has everyone confirmed their answers? The one week before mark is a time for prompting people who have yet to RSVP to your invitations. If you are expecting less people than initially anticipated, you may not have to buy as much food, etc.

2) Decide on schedule for any games or activities

If a birthday party isn’t just with adults, you may look at ways of entertaining children guests or getting both adults and children alike involved. Games can be simple with very few rules just to get people talking at the beginning of the night, or to break the ice amongst separate groups of people i.e. the person’s work friends and person’s family.


Maybe not all people will want to join in, but for those who are a little more up for some silly fun; it can get them feeling in the party mood.

Adult birthday party game:

Pass the balloon. Without using your hands.

Continuing story. A person starts a sentence e.g. “Pandas”, the second person then continues the sentence and adds one more word e.g. “Pandas were”, the third person does the same: “Pandas were dancing” and so on. The person who forgets or says the sentence incorrectly loses and has a forfeit e.g. Truth or Dare.

Cards against humanity. If you haven’t tried this already, you really should. 18+ only!

Hiring a magician. Card tricks can be a good crowd pleaser.

Hiring a kid’s entertainer. If there are going to be lots of kids at your party, hiring an entertainer is good to consider.


1) Buy food & birthday party essentials

Make sure with buying food to check the best before and use before dates that they cover the date of the party. Fresh bakery goods usually have a short shelf life, so you may need to get these the day before. Other than that everything can be bought approximately 4 – 2 days before the party!

Don’t forget essentials such as napkins, paper plates, straws & plastic cups, party hats & party poppers. You may also need things for cleaning such as bin bags & liners, all-purpose cleaner and mops & buckets.


1) Bake the cake

If you have decided to make your own birthday cake or birthday cupcakes, doing this a few days before or the day before your party will have it boxed up and ready to go. Most cakes are better the day after they have been made as well! A sponge cake keeps for up to 5 – 7 days if there are any leftovers, and a fruitcake keeps for ages before going stale.

2) Prepare catering platters and buffet table displays

3) Ensure everything else is set & ready to go

To ensure the set up goes smoothly, ensure you arrive to your venue to prepare in a good amount of time. If you have hired a mobile DJ for a disco, they are likely to need to set up their PA and equipment. Enjoy the ride: you may have spent a long time planning up to this point, and now it’s time to get on with the show!

If you have hired anything from us, please note that we offer a dry hire (collection) service, a full set up service or a delivery service straight to your venue. So a lot of this planning will already be taken care of.


Contact our friendly team about hiring your party equipment
c: 07999 488 334 / e: info@hireforparties.co.uk
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