Emcee / Host for Birthday Parties: Grand 75th Birthday Bash
How to Host a Birthday Party
Hosting a birthday party, whether for a child, teen or adult, requires more than just showing up and smiling, though both are certainly required. It involves laying the foundation for a successful party by determining the type of party you’re going to throw and planning the details, such as the food, drinks, entertainment and decorations. It also involves knowing proper party-hosting etiquette, which starts with the invitations and ends with the "thank you" cards, so your guests leave happy and excited to attend your next party.
Deciding Party Type and Style
Create a budget and stick to it.Knowing how much money you have to work with will help determine the location of the party and how much you can afford to spend on entertainment, food, drinks, decorations, party favors and supplies. Without a budget, you run the risk of overspending and not enjoying the party, both of which you certainly want to avoid.
- To help create your budget, use free spending tools that can be found at Manilla.com, apps such as Party Budget Tracker, or go to evite.com/app/party/calculator for help.
- With teen parties, be prepared and budget for friends of friends to attend.
Decide upon a location, date and time.Choose a location that the guest of honor would most enjoy or feel most comfortable being at. This might be at your home, another’s home or a place in the community, such as a restaurant, country club, bar, park, gymnasium, etc. If you’re thinking about hosting it at your home, ask yourself if you’re prepared for the responsibility that entails, particularly if it’s a children’s birthday party. An entire first-grade class running around your two-bedroom bungalow is a lot to handle!
- After you’ve chosen the location, decide on a date and time after confirming that it will work with (a) the location, if it’s not at your home; and (b) any special invitees.
- If it’s a children’s party, keep it short. Two or three hours is plenty of time, especially for younger children, and plan toddler parties in the morning when they’ll be in better spirits.
Pick a theme for the party.Children’s parties typically have themes, and the invitations you send will relate to this theme. You’ll need to decide on the theme first, and involve your child in picking a theme for his or her birthday party.
- If it’s an adult birthday party, a theme is also appropriate and even desirable. Attending a party as an adult often requires getting a babysitter, buying a new outfit, booking a car and so forth. Incorporating a fun theme is a great way to entice people to come to the party, and it's a conversation starter once people arrive.
Create the guest list and sent out invitations.The guest list will be determined in large part by how many people your location and budget can accommodate. Make sure to determine these things before writing down names. After you’ve written the guest list, check with the guest of honor to make sure you haven’t left off anyone he or she particularly wants there. The next step is to send out the invitations, whether paper or digital, at least three to four weeks in advance.Here are a few more tips on both guest lists and invitations.
- If it’s a children’s party, don’t exclude just one person from a whole group (boy scout troop, class, soccer team, etc.) just because he or she isn’t your child’s friend. If you’re inviting just part of his or her class, don’t hand out invitations at school.
- If it's a teen's party, specify an ending time an hour earlier than you actually expect everyone to leave to account for dawdling, and ensure you get parents' contact information with the RSVP.
- Include all necessary information in the invitation, including things such as style of dress and the level of formality. Include a GPS-friendly address as well.
- Use websites such as Evite.com or Punchbowl.com to send customized electronic invitations. Add photos and be creative with your wording to build excitement for the party.
- Follow up with phone calls to those who haven’t RSVP’d a few days before the party.
Preparing for the Party
Enlist help if needed.Ask friends, your spouse, relatives, other parents, older children and so forth for help with such things as supervision, photography and games. If you don’t feel comfortable with this, and it’s within your budget, hire a professional, a high-school student or your babysitter to help with the pre- or post-party cleaning, or to help during the party by serving food, supervising children and teens, or whatever you might need to assist you.
Make a master list of supplies.Your list of supplies will depend largely on the location and type of party, but one is necessary all the same. Outside of food and drinks, possible supplies include things such as balloons, party hats, signs, games, crafts, music, coolers, serving dishes, tablecloths, plates, cups, ice, extra toilet paper and utensils.
Decide on entertainment.The entertainment will depend largely on the type of party, its theme and the location, but it's very important to keep those at the party engaged so put extra thought and effort into planning it.
- With children’s parties, it’s best to create a schedule of activities and intersperse higher- and lower-energy activities.
- If you’re hiring entertainment for any type of party, make sure you book early and ask about set-up requirements.
- If you plan to have the party at your home and to play music, create your mood-appropriate playlists in advance. Make sure you include the guest of honor’s favorites, too.
Plan the food or menu.Depending on where you’re hosting the party, you may or may not make the food yourself. In fact, if your budget allows it, you could have the food catered at any location. What’s most important is that the food is appropriate for the people who are in attendance, while also keeping the theme in mind. Even if it’s a children’s party, don’t forget the parents who may stay and make sure you have something for them to snack on and drink, too.Here are a few more tips.
- For children’s parties, finger foods, pizza and things most children actually like to eat are best. Keep it simple.
- For teen parties, keep it simple as well, but make sure you have a lot. Pizza, chips, pretzels and soda are all good and don't require utensils (more trash).
- Always have a few extra goody bags in case an unexpected guest attends or one is lost.
- If you’re having it at your home and cooking yourself, pre-cook and pre-assemble the day before, if possible, so you don’t feel so rushed the day of and have more time with guests.
- Assign seats at large dinner parties, splitting up couples and seating more quiet people by more lively people to generate a more festive party.
- Don’t forget the birthday cake, even if it’s a party for an adult, and make sure you order it in plenty of time!
- If you arrange for the food to be catered, you’ll also want to ensure that it's ordered about three weeks in advance.
Decide on drinks.With children’s and teens' parties, make sure you have more than you think you may need because they'll likely go through a lot. Avoid pumping younger children full of caffeinated beverages, which their parents will thank you for later. For adult parties, make sure you include non-alcoholic beverages, and label big-batch cocktails or punches to indicate that they contain alcohol.
- Always have more cups than you think you will need. You don't want to run to the store in the middle of the party.
Get your supplies.A week or two before the party, go shopping and get everything you’ll need for the party. Some things, like fresh foods, will need to wait. But it’s best to have everything else well in advance so if you need to have something ordered, you’ll have time to make the order. Balloons, streamers, and party activities can wait as well.
Clean and decorate.If you’re having the party at your house, you’ll want to clean thoroughly inside and do any major yard work or planting if the party is outside. Removing knickknacks and clutter and rearranging furniture will help free up space for guests to move about more easily. It also creates a more welcoming environment.
- After the cleaning or if you’re having the party at another location, you’ll want to decorate based on the party’s theme. Don’t spend a lot of money, time or energy on decorations that most won’t even notice, though.
Do the final prepping.Get the cameras ready. Stash extra toilet paper in the bathrooms. Light candles. Turn on the music. Set up the food. Strategically place trash cans.
Hosting the Big Day
Dress for the occasion.The last thing you want is to be in a chic outfit that’s completely unsuited to chasing after children for two or three hours. Nor do you want to wear stilettos that may make your legs look fabulous but your feet ache an hour into your hosting duties. Choose your attire wisely so that you look nice and well put together, but also with a mind to being comfortable so that you’re not a cranky host or hostess.
Give yourself time to settle before the party.Try to have everything in place at least 30 minutes before the party starts. That includes yourself. This will allow you to catch a breath and be more relaxed when you welcome guests and be more prepared in case guests arrive early. Doing this will set the tone for the rest of the party, and it will be a good tone.
- If you’re running behind and a guest arrives early, greet the person nicely and explain you’re behind schedule. Asking the guest to help with something can help alleviate the awkwardness.
- If it’s a dinner party at your home, have appetizers and drinks out and ready for guests when they arrive.
Greet guests warmly.You should greet each guest as he or she arrives, hopefully by name. As the host or hostess of the party, it’s your responsibility to make them feel welcome, to make them feel you’re happy they are there.Offer to take their coats; show them around if you’re able to; either receive the gift or explain where to put it; say thank you for the gift; and explain the plans for the party, if applicable.
- Have a craft or non-competitive game or activity at children’s parties for newcomers until everyone arrives.
Mingle with guests.As the host or hostess of the party, it’s your job to make everyone feel comfortable during the party. Talk with your guests; genuinely listen to what they’re saying; respond authentically; ask them questions; introduce guests to those they don’t know; and so forth.
- Don’t wait for others to generate the party’s energy. You get it going, help it sustain itself from that point forward, and enjoy yourself while doing so!
- The more you put others at ease, the better the party will be.
Stay calm when things go wrong.Drinks will be spilled. Plates will start to pile up. The music might suddenly stop. Focus on guests, not cleanup or problems. Problems can be resolved, often much more easily than we may initially think. When accidents happen, as they will, accept apologies with a smile and take care of them.
- Have stain remover on hand and create discreet places to put garbage and dirty dishes. You can deal with those things after the party, or hire help to assist during it.
- At children’s parties, have plenty of paper towels on hand and keep your sense of humor about you!
Attend to guests throughout the party.Always offer guests refreshments throughout the party. If you see someone with an empty cup, offer to refill it. If you see someone standing alone, go speak with that person or introduce him/her to someone you think they might enjoy getting to know.At children’s parties, don’t rush activities that are going well to stay on schedule. Just go with the flow for a little while until it’s really time to move on.
- Monitor teens as best you can throughout the party. If you see suspicious activity, talk with the teen in private and, if necessary, call the teen's parent.
Avoid drinking too much alcohol.If it’s an adult party, you shouldn’t drink too much as the host or hostess of the party. Getting drunk or even a bit too tipsy can make your guests feel uncomfortable and doesn’t lend itself well to fulfilling your hosting duties.
Don’t use your phone unless absolutely necessary.Although it’s a seemingly regular occurrence for people to be glued to their phones, even at parties, it’s best to keep your phone put away while hosting a party. If a situation exists in which you need to keep your phone on vibrate and then must take a call, excuse yourself politely to take the call, keep it brief and return to your guests promptly to explain why you had to answer the call.
- Being upfront and only using the phone when absolutely necessary is reasonable, and your guests will be understanding.
Open gifts at children’s parties.Typically, gifts are opened at children’s birthday parties because most children love to see what the guest of honor received. The child who gave the gift also likes to see the guest of honor open that gift. This is usually one of the last things done at the party, and the host will want to write down what present each child gave so that information can be noted in the thank you card.
- Gifts can be opened at adult and teen birthday parties as well, though this is not generally the standard.
Thank guests for coming to the party.At the end of the party, the host or hostess should personally thank each guest for attending and tell the guests goodbye. The host or hostess should also thank the guests again for bringing a gift, if they did. If it’s a child’s birthday party, use this as a time to teach good manners and encourage your child to personally thank friends for attending and for their gifts.
- At teen parties, call the parent if someone isn't picked up on time or says he or she is taking an alternate means home.
- Goody bags are typically given at this time. Although these are generally reserved for children’s and teens' parties, they can also be given at adult parties. Here are some ideas for adult party favors:
- Make a small potted plant with moss, cacti or a houseplant and wrap a ribbon around it.
- Create your own wine labels and adhere them to wine bottles using double-sided tape.
- Mix up your own BBQ herb rub, put it in a glass jar and attach the recipe to it.
- Buy small notebooks from a dollar store, write down the recipes from the foods you served and tie a ribbon around each.
- Have photos printed during the party and insert them in frames to give before guests leave.
Send thank you cards.About a week after the party, send a thank you card to each guest who attended, expressing your appreciation.
- Personalizing each note is a nice touch and goes a long way. Make sure to mention the particular gift that was given.
- If you have a photo from the party that includes the person and guest of honor or one of the whole group, include that photo as well.
QuestionHow do I host a birthday party just for family members living in the house?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAll the steps in the article will still apply. Depending on how many people there are in your family, you may have to adjust some things.Thanks!
QuestionHow to talk on the platform?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt's all about confidence. My father says that before speaking in front of others, take a deep breath and remember that even if you screw up, you will make others smile.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I invite people if I don't have friends?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFamily is fine, too. Try opening up to more people a few months in advance so you do have friends to invite.Thanks!
QuestionAre goody bags necessary at a teen's birthday party?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThanks!
QuestionShould presents be opened on a child's first birthday?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt is common to open gifts during the party, but it's not necessary. If you do decide to open presents, there are a few things to consider. If there are a lot of little kids attending the party, opening presents could cause a bit of chaos, because the kids will inevitably want to play with all the new toys. On the other hand, guests might enjoy watching the presents being opened. You could also see what the mood feels like during the party and decide in the moment if you want to open presents.Thanks!
QuestionCan you help with which theme I choose?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on the interest of the birthday person. If they like to play baseball, you could do a ballpark theme. If they like glamorous events, you could throw a Hollywood red-carpet themed party.Thanks!
QuestionWhat are some good themes for tweens' parties?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerJust a few would be a Nerf war, sleepover party, pool party, dance, any sport the kid likes as a theme.Thanks!
To host a birthday party, decide on a fun theme with your child and send out invites to the guests. On the day, choose an outfit that's comfortable so you have no difficulty looking after children. Then, try to set out the food, drinks, and games 30 minutes before the party starts so you can take a moment to settle. As the guests arrive, greet each of them, take their coat, and offer them a refreshment. During the party, make sure your child gets a chance to open their gifts so everyone can see what they got.
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