From milestone birthdays to getting together with friends and family to celebrate, adult birthday parties can be so much more than a simple hangout. For the ultimate celebration, you need to know how to plan an adult birthday party, from the themes to food, venues and more. Birthday parties aren’t just for kids, after all.
We’ve got some adult birthday ideas that will make your get-together even more memorable, whether you’re celebrating your birthday or planning a surprise for someone else. Check out the adult birthday party guide below for some inspiration and the steps for planning an adult birthday party.
Themes for an Adult Birthday Party
Picking a theme will make planning an adult birthday party that much easier. Choose something the one who’s celebrating a birthday will love, or keep the guests in mind and pick what will be fun for everyone. Having a theme will help you choose:
- A venue
- Food and drinks
- Any costumes or suggested attire
- Activities, if you want to have any
While your options are virtually endless for a grownup birthday party theme, these are a few popular choices.
Celebrate your favorite team, watch a game from home or head to the stadium to see the action in-person. Even if your birthday falls out of the sport’s season, decorate with your team’s colors, logo and more. Encourage guests to wear jerseys or colors, and you can even play the sport yourselves if you’re celebrating your birthday at home.
2. Decade Theme
Vintage and throwback parties are always a hit. Guests can dress in fun outfits, and you can get creative with the decorations. Some popular decade themes for birthday party ideas include the following.
- 1920s: Art Deco and Great Gatsby themes make for a fun and vintage celebration. Encourage your guests to wear flapper outfits, formal suits and other decade-appropriate outfits. Decorate with black and gold for a theme that’s classy, yet exciting.
- 1970s: Throw on a disco record and tell everyone to wear their bellbottoms for a party that calls back to the ’70s. Decorate with psychedelic colors and tie-dye for a funky time.
- 1980s: Go with neon decorations and chart-topping pop songs from this decade for your birthday party. Everyone loves an ’80s theme, whether they come rocking big hair or bright colors.
- 1990s: Have fun with the music for a ’90s-themed party. Play grunge, hip hop, alternative, R&B and more for a rocking playlist. Decorate with graffiti-style banners, fun colors and patterns, and have your guests wear whatever style of the 1990s suits them.
Those decades are fun adult birthday party options that you can make anywhere from simple to extravagant. For a more opulent celebration, choose a decade from centuries ago for something like a Victorian ball or vintage garden party.
Movie-themed adult birthday parties are always a blast. Rent a popcorn machine and decorate with some movie posters to start your celebration. To narrow down your cinema theme, you can choose:
- A favorite director, so guests have more options when coming in costume
- A popular movie all your friends will know, so everyone gets the theme
- A film with iconic characters that guests can dress as
- A decade so everyone can pick their favorite movie character to dress as
Guests don’t have to come in costume, but it can make your theme more apparent if everyone looks like a character from a movie. You don’t even have to choose a particular film, genre or director, and instead create a Night at the Movies or Hollywood theme. Screen a couple of movies, roll out a red carpet and make you and your guests feel like Hollywood stars.
Food Ideas for a Birthday Party
Any get-together needs food to make a celebration complete. Plan your menu with your guests in mind, and don’t forget to get all the serving items you need when you plan an adult birthday party. If your party is at a bar, restaurant or another destination that has a menu, you won’t need to worry about food and drinks in your birthday party preparation. But if you need to bring food to a venue or if you’re celebrating at home, consider some of these birthday party menu ideas.
1. Appetizers and Snacks
Give guests something to nibble on before the main meal. Snacks and appetizers are also great to serve at parties that take place after mealtime or end before it. Whether you make these yourself or go store-bought to reduce the things to prepare for a birthday party, consider serving these snacks and appetizers:
- Mini meatballs
- Stuffed mushrooms
- Chips and dip
- Slider sandwiches
- Cheese plates or charcuterie boards
- Potato skins
- Fruit or vegetable trays
- Meat and vegetable skewers
- A popcorn bar
- A variety of salads
Make sure you have a mix of foods all your guests can eat. Consider guests with food allergies or those who are vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free. Have at least one thing that everyone will want to eat.
2. Main Meals
The entree or entrees you serve at a birthday party depend on what time your party is. Whether it’s an early afternoon get-together or an evening of events to celebrate, you may want to serve one of these meals at your birthday party.
- Brunch: This trendy meal makes for a celebration everyone will love. Serve a mix of breakfast favorites — like pancakes, waffles or French toast. Pair those with some savory options — like spinach, egg and ham cups, avocado toast, potato omelets and more.
- Lunch: For a simple midday meal, grill up some burgers and hot dogs. Offer a condiment bar, and don’t forget the buns and snacks to serve with this party classic. If you don’t want to make main dishes for a midday celebration, serve plenty of snacks and hearty appetizers instead.
- Dinner: The possibilities are varied when it comes to planning a dinner for an adult birthday party. Stick to one entree for easy preparation, and make the favorite meal of the person celebrating their birthday. Adapt the recipe for any allergy concerns or other dietary needs, or offer an alternative meal if many of your guests have different eating habits.
Do as much prep as you can before the birthday party, so you have time to spend with everyone. Focus on simple party meals you can cook in large batches, and have a headcount in mind for your guest list as you do your party food prep. That way, nobody will go hungry.
- Serve your favorite cocktail, beer or wine.
- Create a signature cocktail for the party.
- Pick some drinks that go with your theme.
- Serve classic brunch cocktails if you have an early celebration.
Let guests know if there will be drinks at your party, so they can plan to drink responsibly and get home safe at the end of the evening.
4. Cake and Desserts
Everyone expects a cake at a birthday party, even if it’s for adults, but not everyone likes cake. Satisfy every sweet tooth with a variety of desserts, like cookies, brownies or ice cream. Offer healthier alternatives with fruit or fruit-flavored desserts, as well. If you’re going to have other dessert options, you may consider having a smaller cake, since everyone can fill up on other sweets.
Where to Have a Birthday Party
Finding the right venue will help all your other birthday party planning ideas fall into place. When you pick a spot to hold the party, make sure you have a rough guest list count in mind, since some locations can only accommodate a specific number of visitors. Plan a celebration at an adult birthday party venue for a fun time that’s appropriate, yet exciting for older guests.
1. An Escape Room
If you and your friends are fans of puzzles and you have a smaller guest list for your birthday party, visit a local escape room. With a large group of guests, see if you can arrange to have separate teams compete against each other at the same time in different escape rooms.
Escape rooms are fun and challenging, perfect for anyone who loves a team-building exercise. Most escape rooms take an hour or less, so you’ll have time to celebrate after and get a meal.
2. A Spa
Wondering where to organize a birthday party for a low-key celebration and retreat? Treat yourself and your friends to a relaxing spa day. Shed away the stress of adult life and unwind with some time together. You can let your guests choose their favorite treatments or all enjoy something together, then go out for a delicious meal or head back to your house for a post-relaxation celebration.
3. A Winery or Brewery
Sample local wine or brews to celebrate a birthday. Many wineries and breweries offer party packages, or you can arrange a visit with a smaller group for a tasting. Make a stop at a winery or brewery part of your birthday party or the whole celebration. Be sure to organize transportation for everyone, or ensure all your guests at a larger party have a safe way to get home after your party.
4. A Bar or Restaurant
Cut down on many of the steps to planning a birthday party when you have it at a bar or restaurant. While you won’t need to serve food or drinks or get chairs and tables for guests, the price could be higher, especially if you have a large party.
5. Your House or a Friend’s House
If you or a friend have space for entertaining, why not stay comfortable and plan an adult birthday party without going out? Whether you have a large or small gathering, you may need some rental party equipment. Cross off some steps to planning a birthday party and get party items like:
Before you rent party equipment, make sure you have a rough idea of your guest list and how much space you have at your home or a friend’s home.
Things to Consider When Planning a Birthday Party
All the above tips will help you know how to plan a birthday party, but you have a few other steps for planning an adult birthday party. Among what to plan for a birthday party, these are some of the essentials.
- Budget: Your budget will help you consider a venue, decorations, food and drink menus and how long your guest list can be. If you have plenty of people coming to your birthday party, you can compromise your budget in other areas, like decorations, to invite more people. Plan your budget to see what you can bring to life from your birthday party planning ideas.
- Guest list: Now that you have a budget in mind, it’s time to decide who will come to the party. Create a guest list so you not only know who to send invites to, but so you also have a headcount when planning seating, tables, food and more.
- Date: Keep in mind that as an adult, your friends and family members now have work and family conflicts. Consider having your party on a weekend if most of your friends and family have traditional work schedules. If you’re having a smaller get-together, it’ll be easier to coordinate schedules so everyone can come.
- Time: The time you host your party will also depend on your guests. If everyone works traditional schedules, consider hosting it at night or during the evening, especially if the party is on a weekday or you want to serve alcoholic beverages. To reduce the impact on your budget, you can plan a party between major mealtimes and serve snacks instead of making entrees.
- Invitations: Use your theme to help you make physical invitations or create an event on social media for quick responses. Send out invites, whether physical or digital, about a month or so in advance, unless you have a lot of guests who need to travel from out of town. Give those traveling to your party a bit more notice so they can plan accordingly.
- Gifts: As you get older, the expectation for birthday gifts changes. If you don’t want gifts, make that clear in your invitations that the only thing you want from your guests is time together. If you’re the one going to an adult birthday party, consider giving a gift card instead of a large present, especially if the party is at a venue like a restaurant.
- Entertainment: No matter the ages of your party-goers, you should always have things to do for a birthday party. Music and dancing are classic ways to entertain during a party, but you may want to plan other fun things to do. Watch a movie or play some party games to keep everyone in the party mood. You can also have a photo booth with props or a karaoke setup for everyone to enjoy.
- Surprise: If you need to know how to plan a surprise birthday party, it’s crucial to let other guests know it’s a surprise, so no one spoils the secret. Tell the person whose birthday is the reason for the celebration that you’ll just be hanging out at your house, or whatever venue you reserved for the party. For the ultimate surprise, don’t plan the event on the exact day of your friend’s birthday.
With those birthday party planning tips, you’re ready to put together a fun, yet grownup, celebration.
Get Tent and Party Rentals With Peerless Events & Tents
Now that you know what to plan for a birthday party, get the supplies and equipment you need with Peerless Events & Tents. We’re proud to be the most trusted tent and event rental service in Texas, and we’re ready to provide what you need to make your birthday party or other events a success.
Contact our Austin, Dallas, Houston or San Antonio location today to get everything you need for your next party. Check out our catalog of party equipment and tent rentals to create your Wishlist and get a free quote!