Planning a party can be stressful, let alone planning a milestone birthday party for a special family member or friend. For the ultimate celebration, you need to know how to plan an adult birthday party; from the themes to food, venues to entertainment. Birthday parties aren’t just for kids, after all!

You should be doing something fun for every milestone you hit, because what better excuse is there to get all of your favourite people in one room and reminisce about the amazing memories you have together? Although, it can be hard to think of where to start or what you even need to include to throw a great birthday party. To make the daunting thought of planning a birthday less overwhelming, here is our ultimate guide to birthday party planning. Let’s make this one EXTRA SPECIAL!

Birthday Planning Timeline

  • 3+ Months |Guestlist| Venue| Service Providers & More
  • 1+ Month | Finalising The Details & Getting the Cake
  • 1+ Week | Last Minute Touches

3+ Months


The first thing you need to do when starting your birthday party planning is to decide on the size of your party that works with your budget. Do you want to throw something intimate with close ones? Or throw a party extravaganza?! One way of deciding on who you will invite to your birthday party is to consider which groups of people already know each other – this will ensure your event has a great atmosphere and in turn a great party! 

Top Tip: Make sure you are strict with your numbers and don’t let it get out of hand. After all, it’s your party!


Your choice of venue will need to work with your budget and guestlist. There is nothing worse than having a lot of space with not enough people to fill it! You also don’t want to splash all your cash on your venue without leaving enough money for the rest of the party. So remember to be sensible when it comes to choosing your venue, as this could be the make or break of your party. There are a huge range of options from sticking to your own garden or picking out a grand hall.

Top Tip! There’s nothing wrong with a house party – why not keep it simple by hosting the party yourself!

Date & Time

Thinking about the date of the party isn’t just about when is best for you, or for the venue. You also need to think about whether people are likely to be away during your big event. Consider bank holidays, school holidays and weekends, try and ensure you will have as many people able to come.

Timing is also crucial for a party. Deciding what the party will be and who will be coming will help you to determine the right time for the party. It is always best to have a start and finish time in mind so guests will be aware of what’s expected and they can organise transport or babysitters accordingly. 

Top Tip – Planning a party can be pretty stressful, think about who you can help to plan the party with you 


Deciding on your theme for your birthday party should be done early on in party planning. Great themes are based on film, decades, animals or anything that best reflects the birthday person. Want to keep it simple? One of the best ways to choose a theme for your party is to stick to a simple colour scheme, which can also be linked to a broader theme if you wish! 

The best way of deciding the perfect theme is to make it super personal for the birthday person.

Top Tip – If you’re keeping the party a secret, then make sure you run your theme ideas through with your friends to make sure it’s the perfect choice. 


These can be physical or virtual! If you’re feeling creative why not make your own invitations and send them to your guests. If not, you can send your guests invitations virtually by email or social media – but most importantly don’t forget to give your guests plenty of time in advance! There’s nothing worse than a last minute invitation hand out with all your guests being booked up for your special date. 

Top Tip – Make sure to start getting your RSVPs early on so you can always follow up with people who haven’t back to you!


Choose your food options based on the time of your party. If it’s during the day, put on a large spread if your guests are going to be at the party for quite a while. If it’s a late evening affair, consider lighter picky foods since your guests might have eaten beforehand. 

The drinks are completely down to the party you are throwing and can link to your theme. If you fancy a Great Gatsby theme, then why not have a cocktail bar! Or if you fancy a personalised drinks menu, you can book a dry hire bar and bring your own booze. Whatever you decide to do, keep your budget and number of guests in mind.

Top Tip! Want your event to be a more casual affair? Street food catering is a perfect option for delicious food with less formality.


The decorations and the theme of your party go hand in hand, you could say that the decorations create the theme for your party. It’s important to decide if you would want to make your decorations (if so, do you have time for this) or if you have the budget to buy your own decorations. This doesn’t even have to be anything complicated – never underestimate the power of tissue paper and balloons! 

Top Tip – Struggling for inspiration? Pinterest is a great starting point for coming up with party decorations for your event. 

Music & Entertainment

Picking the music and entertainment for your event is one of the most important elements to any good party. You don’t want your guests to be awkwardly mingling or hovering around the exit! Think about the vibe you want at the venue and then look at the entertainment that will create that feel. If you’ve decided on a theme for your party, then make sure that the music and entertainment reflect this, as it will really tie everything together. From live bands to DJs there are so many musical options to really get the party started!

Top Tip – The bands only need to stay for one set if you want to stick to the Spotify playlist the rest of the time!

1+ Month

Finalise Playlists

Whether you’ve booked a band or going with a DJ, at this stage you should finalised your song list with the supplier. You should also make sure that you have  the direct contact details for your musician to confirm any final touches that you need for your birthday party. This might include, starting time, ending time, set up, if they need a place to change and where they are travelling from. 

If you are making your own playlist, make sure you start collecting songs. It is always underestimated how long it takes to make a 4 hour playlist of great birthday hits!

Top Tip – Make sure you get the special birthday superstar’s favourite tunes into the mix.

Menu Choices

It’s time to finalise those menu options, especially if you are hiring a caterer. Ask your guests if they have any dietary requirements so there are food options available for everyone. It’s also important to keep in mind if you are having any children at the party, as you may want to have a different food option for them.

Make sure to ask all those key last minute questions too. E.g. are they providing the crockery and cutlery or are you?

Top Tip – Another way to show off your theme is reflecting it in your food options! 

Birthday Cake

It isn’t a birthday without a bit of birthday cake!? If you’re ordering a birthday cake for the party, you need to ensure plenty of time beforehand to get your order in, especially if it is a personalised or a big cake!

If you’ve decided that you’re making a cake yourself or buying a cake from a supermarket, you still need to consider what kind of cake will be most favoured by the birthday person and will work with the amount of guests present. 

Top Tip – An alternative to cakes is also a possibility, why not try doughnuts or pancakes! 


Check who hasn’t yet responded to your invite and give them a call – you need to make sure all your numbers are correct. Some of your guests might need a little nudge to get back to you, but don’t worry, we can all forget to respond to messages sometimes!

Make sure that you have kept a list of all of your guests who have confirmed, so you know exactly how many people will be coming to the party.

Top Tip – Consider making an online event to keep track of everything, Facebook has a great feature.

1+ Week


Make sure you’ve got your travel sorted for going to and from the venue – especially if drinks are involved! It’s also a good idea to check in with your guests and make sure that they know how to get to your venue and that there are plenty of transport options available for your guests to choose from. 

Does your venue have parking? Let your guests know so that they can figure whether they can drive.

Top Tip – If you really want to travel in style, why not hire transport to your event – although this should be booked a month or two prior to your event. 

Contact Details

Double check that you have all of the contact details of the suppliers that you have hired for your event, whether it be catering or music. It’s also good just to check in with the supplier, to make sure everything is in place. 

If you have a contact at the venue, make sure they are aware of the musicians, entertainers or caterers coming in so that they know when and where they can set up!

Top Tip – Save the contacts to your phone for easy access!


Now that the big party is almost here and birthday party planning is nearly done, decide what you are going to wear for the special event. If you’ve decided on a theme for the party, choose a fun outfit that works with this – you don’t want to be a party pooper!

If it’s more of a fancy affair, think about if you want to go somewhere to get your hair and makeup done beforehand. These events don’t happen every day, so why not treat yourself, eh? 

Top Tip – If you are having a costume party, it is always a good idea to have some spare accessories in case somebody forgets!

Final Thoughts

Although the specific details of every party are different, this comprehensive guide can set you on the path to getting your party done as efficiently as possible and will help you become a birthday party planning superstar. Don’t forget that you’re planning something super fun and exciting, remember to have fun while celebrating the special guest of honour!

Also need a hand with planning a wedding? Why not check out our Wedding Planning: A Step by Step Guide blog post. Or maybe you have a question about your event planning, not to worry, we’ll be more than happy to help. Just drop one of our client support heroes an email at  

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