21st Birthday Party Ideas

21st Birthday Cake
A 21st birthday is an exceedingly fun one; but coming up with 21st birthday party ideas may leave you feeling less than festive. Use these helpful 21st birthday party ideas and create the ultimate 21st birthday party in a flash. Birthday Party Ideas arrow 21st Birthday Party Supplies

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21st Birthday Party Plan


21st Birthday Party Themes

Selecting a venue that’s fun and encourages guests to mix-n-mingle is fundamental to the success of the milestone 21st birthday where party goers are young, active and social. When choosing a venue, consider the likes and dislikes of the 21st birthday guy or gal. The ideal 21st birthday party venue is one that will have your 21st birthday guest of honor feeling relaxed and happy while party goers are blown away.

21st Birthday Party Themes - Circus Acrobat Theme, Beer Theme, Black Tie Party, Mexican Theme Party

Party Themes: 1. Acrobats and Dancers via White Gold Images / 2. Beer Theme Party via Zesty Events / 3. Elegant Black and White 21st Birthday via Party Wagon by Mon Tresor / 4. Mexican Theme Party by Bytes Infinitum.

  • Professional Entertainment.  (1) Need to find something unique for your birthday? Consider hiring professionals as part of your entertainment for your birthday.  Its a way to provide guests some form of entertainment and something to talk about.  Some have hired professionals like emcees, comedians, acrobats, dancers, actors, singers for this purpose while others opted for more unique ones like fire throwers, fire eaters, and knife throwers.
  • Beer Theme Party.  (2) This one is a popular one, for those who love beer and who just turned the legal age!  Make it a fun party by turning it into a beer tasting party! For a full party plan, go to our Beer Tasting Party page.
  • Black and White Elegant Party.  (3) Get out the bling and celebrate this important milestone!  Dress in your finest for your 21st Birthday and make this a formal event!  The black and white theme is perfect for a black tie party, a Hollywood theme party, a damask theme party or a night out at an upscale venue.
  • Mexican Theme Party. (4) Who doesn’t love Mexican food?  A Mexican Theme Party is a great theme to have for a 21st birthday and one you can easily have at home or in a restaurant.  For more party ideas, go here.
  • Perfect Pool Party or Backyard Blast. Expecting a few dozen guests or more? These are outstanding 21st birthday party ideas. Young party goers will take to the pool for chicken fights, water polo, and the like while backyards kick up the competition with horseshoes, badminton, and even beer pong for those 21 years and older. Hint: Have back-up plan in case of foul weather! Take a look at this fun 21st Birthday pool party.
  • Themed at home. Keep the party at home, but avoid boredom by infusing your 21st birthday party with a theme. Think Casino Night, “90’s” Night, or Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt. Hire a magician or fortune teller or simply rent a classic arcade game, photo booth, air-hockey table or jukebox to add an unexpected element.  Order your favorite finger foods — pizza, chicken wings, nachos, mozzarella sticks, etc. and enjoy the evening with family and friends in the comfort of your home!
  • Sensational Spa. This 21st birthday party idea is ideal for a 21st birthday lady who wants an intimate but ultimate girls’ night out! Rent out a spa or nail salon after hours (or have nail technicians come to your home) to pamper participants with a mini manicure. Arrange for a party van to take your 21st birthday lady and friends out on the town. For a “guys only” option, consider an afternoon of laser tag.

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21st Birthday Party Invitations

Your 21st birthday party invitation truly sets the mood for your party, so don’t select your invite in haste. Remember that for the biggest impact, you should choose a 21st birthday party invitation that intrigues guests, wanting them to RSVP “yes” ASAP! When buying your invitations, go ahead and buy coordinating address labels and thank you notes to show your guests you really appreciate their attendance. Peruse these invites that are sure to please.

21st Birthday Invitations - Mexican theme, lanyard private invitation, festive lantern invitation, martini and drinks invitation, bottle imprint invitation

Invitations: 1. Raise A Glass by Tiny Prints / 2. Lovely Table by Tiny Prints / 3. Confetti Shimmer by Tiny Prints / 4. V.I.P. Pass by Invitation Consultants / 5. Perfectly Aged by Personalization Mall / 6. Vibrant Fiesta by Tiny Prints.

  • Raise A Glass. This lighthearted, shimmering 21st birthday party invitation (1) is appropriate for either sex, and generic enough to be used for a number of 21st birthday party ideas and themes. It’s playful, colorful, casual and clean.
  • Lovely Table. This colorful 21st birthday (2) invite is classy and sassy! Ideal for a girl’s only 21st birthday party. Heading to the country club, a night on the town, or the ultimate spa retreat? Send out this invitation with cheerful colorful lanterns and expect an overwhelming response!
  • VIP Pass. Your guests will feel as important as your VIP 21st birthday guy or gal when they open this knock out VIP invitation pass (4). A 21st birthday party idea that revolves around a movie or awards night theme would benefit from this invite, as would a 21st birthday celebrated at a theme park or trip to a concert. Copper or gold ink makes this invite totally chic!
  • Perfectly Aged. This rockin’ invitation (5) lets guests know that you’re throwing a seriously rave 21st birthday party. A black background, highlighted with funky neon colors is the perfect choice for a bar-hopping 21st birthday, a nightclub scene, or an 80’s themed event.

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Guest Arrival and Introduction

First impressions are lasting impressions; plan a grand greeting with one of these 21st birthday party ideas!

  • Who’s that baby? On your 21st birthday party invitation, encourage guests to bring their baby picture to the party. As guests arrive, number their pictures and post them on a large piece of decorated foam board. Then hand each arrival a guest list and a pencil and challenge them to guess “who’s that baby”- award the winner a 21st birthday themed prize.
  • Birthday sentence starter. Decorate a large piece of foam board with hilarious sentence starters about the birthday guest of honor. As guests arrive, ask them to complete one or two sentences. Later, have the 21st birthday guy or gal read the witty remarks to the group. Consider sentence starter such as: I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw (name)______; I promised to never reveal this secret, but one time (name) told me he/she _______; (Name) has the biggest ____ and the smallest _____; It was the morning after a rockin’ party, and I heard (name) say_____.
  • Say cheese! Head to your local craft store and buy a “write-on picture frame.” Guests embellish the frame with a 21st birthday wish or sentiment. Then capture a great group shot with the 21st birthday guy or gal front and center. Insert the group shot in the frame and in no time at all you’ve made an entertaining 21st birthday party keepsake!

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21st Birthday Party Decorations

Party decorations make a huge contribution to your 21st birthday party success. Consider these novel 21st birthday party decorations that promise to impress!

21st Birthday Party Decorations and Centerpieces

Decorations: 1. Tiered Beer Centerpiece by Sweet n Treats / 2. Favorite Drinks Centerpiece by Girls Gone Food / 3. Flower Vase by Girls Gone Food / 4. 21 st Birthday Card or Decoration.

  • Momentous memories. Go on-line and create a video packed full of memories. Use images from birth on-ward that reflect especially meaningful moments in your 21st birthday guest of honor’s life (think 1st birthday, that big football win, graduation.) Show on a TV or screen and play throughout the party.
  • Balloons, streamers and confetti; oh my! Decorating with this trio screams festivity, but only when color coordinated, and grouped appropriately (groups of 5 or 7 balloons make a nice impact.) And don’t neglect decorating outside! Guests will be charmed by a walkway dressed with biodegradable confetti (just hose it off post-party) overflowing with bubbles provided by an inexpensive bubble machine and lined with groups of balloons, or even a snazzy balloon archway.
  • Creative Centerpiece. Create a fun and flavorful centerpiece by packing a container with the 21st birthday guy or gal’s favorite snack items or drinks! For casual appeal, try galvanized buckets, terra cotta pots or giant plastic martini glasses. If you’re looking for class, use cylindrical glass. Place a sticker under one chair per table, and that lucky guest wins the delectable centerpiece.

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21st Birthday Party Recipes

Minimize food table congestion and maximize mingling by setting up a central beverage station, and three food stations, with each station having its own food theme. Then wow your guests with an over-the-top dessert bar that will have them salivating for weeks! 21st birthday parties are known to be heavy on the alcohol, so offer food throughout the party. Ponder these food station options.

  • Mexican Station. Salsa and chips, guacamole, and taco cups make for a dynamite south of the boarder trio.
  • American Station. A gigantic sub sandwich makes for a real crowd pleaser! Head to your local sub shop and order a party sub, then set out all American snacks to compliment the feast. Try small cups full of delicious loaded baked potato salad and a massive bowl of chips.
  • Italian Station. Who can turn down classic mini meatballs? Add some fresh Italian rolls, and a cheese tray and you’ve created a scrumptious Italian medley that any 21st birthday partygoer will enjoy.
  • Beverage Station. Be sure your beverage station includes plenty of water and soda and offers a few festive non-alcoholic drinks punch. Consider renting an inexpensive daiquiri machine, or even hiring a bartender for an impressive twist.
  • Dessert Station. Since most of your 21st birthday partygoers will be young, and dessert bar will wow them! Go all out; donuts, skewers of mini candy bars, ricekrispie treats, moonpies, and a make your own ice-cream sunday bar with all the toppings.

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21st Birthday Party Cakes


21st Birthday Party Cakes - Angry Birds Cake, Various drink Cake, Metallic Geometric Silver Black Blue Cake, Lady in Martini Glass Cake

Birthday Cake: 1. Angry Bird Cake by Bella Cupcakes / 2. 21st Birthday Booze and Drink Cake by Caryn’s Cakes / 3. Cocktail Party Cake by Bee’s Cake Design / 4. Silver, Blue, and Black Geometric Cake by Gimme Some Sugar.

When it comes to sweets, 21st birthday party ideas abound, and a 21st birthday party is perfect opportunity to present the ultimate dessert selection. Take nearly any basic dessert and snazzy it up with 21st birthday decorations and you can’t miss. Consider 21st birthday party finger-food type desserts that allow guests to enjoy their dessert on the move, ensuring the party doesn’t get static. Hint: rent, buy or borrow a few budget friendly cake stands or cupcake towers to make the ultimate presentation and be sure to incorporate your color scheme in your 21st birthday dessert. Go ahead and grab your mixing bowl; you’ll be inspired to make these dynamic 21st birthday party desserts right this moment!

  • Cupcakes are as fun to eat as they are to look at! Try a tropical drink themed 21st birthday cupcake or bring back childhood memories with a cool ice-cream cone cupcake.
  • Cookies are another easy, yet impressive dessert when done right. Try this fun feminine 21st birthday cookie, or this mouthwatering beer cookie.
  • Cakes come in a major assortment of shapes and sizes and vary from simple to over-the-top sophisticated. This 21st birthday party cake collection offers a supply of innovative ideas.
  • Shot glass desserts are the perfect 21st birthday party idea. Shot glass desserts are ultra versatile, allowing you to keep dessert casual or completely classy! To enhance your big birthday theme, buy or make stickers with the number “21” on them and fix to the outside of the shot glass.

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21st Birthday Party Games

21st birthday games and activities often revolve around alcohol, but consider selecting group activities that are equally as fun for those who don’t drink or aren’t of age. Here are a few unique 21st birthday party ideas for games that will get your wheels turning.

  • Blackjack, 21. Hand out a playing card to each guest. Give guests just 3 minutes to pair up with one other person to create a “hand” that is as close to 21 as possible. Kick the game up a notch and encourage conversation by taping cards on guests’ backs instead of handing it to them. Give away a 21st birthday themed prize for the best hand.
  • Don’t say that name game! As guests arrive, tell them that throughout the party, they’re forbidden to say a certain carefully selected word. If they’re caught saying the chosen word, they have to drink, or for those who don’t drink alcohol, they have do something funny like impersonate a chicken. Using the 21st birthday guy or gal’s name as the chosen word is sure to trip up lots of guests!
  • Cup tower. One by one have guests stack Styrofoam cups- the person who knocks the cup tower over has to drink or perform a funny impersonation. Stack the first cup rim down, the next rim up, the next rim down, etc. Anticipation builds until one unlucky guest rocks the tower down.

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21st Birthday Party Favors


21st Birthday Party Favors - custom M&M candy, custom mints, key chain, custom gum, custom tic tac candy

Favors: 1. Custom Personalized M & M Candy / 2. Custom Imprinted Mints / 3. 21st Birthday Key Chain / 4. Personalized Gum / 5. Personalized Tic Tac Mint Candy.

Everyone enjoys a thoughtful party favor. Tuck your 21st birthday party favor in a color coordinated craft bag with tissue paper, or simply place them in an appropriate container by the door with a sign that thanks your guests for celebrating the big day with you. Here are a few 21st birthday party ideas for favors that will inspire you.

  • “21” Keychain. This “21” keychain favor is practical, fun and equally appropriate for guys or girls. Best yet, it can be personalized with text and an image and it’s discounted when bought in bulk. How about “I was there! Chad’s 21st bday!”
  • Refreshing Mint-mento. Inexpensive, refreshing and colorful; these are just a few reasons why an assortment of individually wrapped happy birthday buttermints are a good choice for a festive 21st birthday party favor.
  • Personalized Gum Favor. After a day or night of partying, who could turn down a stick of gum- especially if it comes in a cool personalized gum package! Options are nearly endless; there are 28 birthday-themed images to select from, and you can add up to two lines of text. Color coordinate the package to your party, and you’ve created a one of a kind 21st birthday party favor everyone will appreciate.
  • Take a Tic-Tac. Shake it and take it. Tic-Tacs are refreshing and festive; and when they are personalized like these tic-tac party favors they are even sweeter. You’ll have a huge assortment of labels to select from, from casual to downright sophisticated. Add a bit of creative text to further personalize.

Link Credits and Other 21st Birthday Party Links

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