Think it was hard organising your son or daughter’s first birthday? What about when they were a toddler?
Planning an 18th can just as hard, if not harder, as your children all of a sudden become fully formed young adults with a very particular idea of what makes a good party.
Just like with any other birthday party, you’ll need to bear in mind all the usual stuff like the food, the drink, the entertainment and the guest list.
Of course, your son or daughter isn’t the little kid they used to be, so make sure that they’re heavily involved in the planning process so that they don’t get a nasty surprise when the event rolls around.
Here are ten of our top tips to throwing the ultimate 18th birthday party.
While it might seem a good idea to throw a surprise party and catch the birthday boy or girl off guard, in this situation we’re not sure it’s the best idea.
The reasoning is that we think its best to keep them involved heavily in the planning process, especially when it’s such an important birthday.
Ultimately the day or night is all about them, so it stands to reason that they should have the most input in the event.
For example, you don’t want to invite all of their friends they were friends with at primary school with only to find out they fell out years ago!
If you do want to give them a special surprise, do so in the form of a special gift or entertainer that they aren’t expecting.
House parties are great, but there’s plenty of time for that. An 18th should be something special, and as such, you should try and book out a different venue for the party.
If your teenager is inviting the whole of their year, or even worse, all of their Facebook friends, the last thing you want is all of them ruining your house, so why not dump the mess on someone else, and give your teenager a special venue for their big day?
Just because your son or daughter can now legally drink, doesn’t necessarily mean that all of their friends can do.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to take on the role of bouncer and insist on ID checks at the door, but you do have a responsibility to keep an eye on everyone.
As is always the case at teenage parties, there’s likely to be one or two who overdo it, and it’s important that there’s a responsible adult present to make sure everybody’s ok.
Try to be present but not to cramp your birthday boy or girl’s style! Ultimately the party policy on alcohol is down to you, but do try to let everybody have fun or run the risk of being that killjoy parent!
While some 18 year olds might think they’re too old for a theme, it can still be a great excuse to get dressed up and have some fun.
Everybody loves a fancy dress party, and there are more than enough grown up themes to choose from.
How about a James Bond style casino night? Or an alphabet theme (everyone has to wear a costume beginning with the same letter as their first name).
If the birthday boy or girl has a particular interest, try and pin the theme around that. After all, it’s all about them!
While some might be happy to just stick an iPod into some speakers, some top class entertainment really elevates a party.
If you can, try and work it in with the theme (for example get in some roulette and poker tables for the James Bond night).
If your guests are just going to want to dance the night away, you can still hire a professional DJ or band to elevate things to the next level.
You could also try and find some laser or smoke machines to really add some atmosphere.
Entertainment largely depends on the what the guests are into, so be careful, but in certain cases the likes of magicians and games could go down a treat.
Again, goody bags might seem a bit out of place at an 18th, but with the right contents they can work really well.
Mix it up with some funny gifts like masks or glasses for everyone to wear at the party, glow sticks are always a winner too.
Depending on your alcohol policy you could also include some small alcoholic treats such as jelly shots.
This is another aspect you can try and work into your theme, with related gifts. And as a thank you for coming why not throw in some iTunes vouchers or maybe a Euromillions lucky dip?
Your guests will be sure to never forget your party if they walk away with a couple of million pounds!
Food is one of the most important aspects of your party, so it’s important to get right. This could come down to your venue, as they may supply food and drink as part of the deal.
It’s probably not going to be the kind of party where everyone sits down for a big meal (although this could be a good idea to do before the main party kicks off), so you’re probably going to be better getting a load of snacky party food which people can just nibble on.
Things such as pizza slices, crisps and the like are always a good shout, or you could be a little more adventurous and get some oriental or Indian snacks, it all depends on the guests and their tastes.
Once everything else is in place, it’s time to undertake the delicate task of putting together the guest list.
Its definitely best to consult with your son or daughter on this one so that there are no unwanted guests.
Having said this, you do need to keep an eye on numbers and make sure there aren’t too many people coming, depending on the venue.
This is especially important if the party is being held at home.
When it comes to actually sending out invites, you can do so over social media if you wish, or go with physical invitations for a more personal touch.
If you are worried about too many people turning up, it might be an idea to only allow people in if they bring their invite with them.
An 18th birthday is a big milestone in anyone’s life and it’s important to take some photos to remember the occasion by.
Try to take some pictures while everyone is having fun, although in the social media age it’s likely that your guests will all be taking selfies themselves anyway.
If you don’t want to be having to bother with a camera yourself, why not hire in a professional photographer?
You could also install your own photo booth for guests to take their own photos in.
Or you can take all of the stress out of the equation and leave it to the professionals! Here at Twizzle, the leading party planners in London, we’ve been creating unforgettable parties for all ages for over 20 years.
While we can cook up a great traditional party and take all the stress off your hands, or how about exploring something a little bit different?
In the past we’ve organised 18th birthdays that have involved everything, from paint balling to tank driving, and fashion shows to pamper days.
If you can dream it, we can do it, so get in touch today for an 18th birthday that they’ll never forget.
You might even be considered a cool parent for a while!