Whether you are planning a birthday party for yourself or a loved one, figuring out all of the details can be stressful. Not only do you have to draw up a guest list and send out the invitations, but you also have to pick a venue, decorate it and make sure that there are adequate refreshments (and sometimes food) for your guests. However, if you start planning and preparing an adequate amount of time beforehand, you can minimize your stress and enjoy the festivities just as much as your guests.

What you need to prepare depends on the theme of your party (if any), as well as the type and number of guests you are expecting. For example, if you are planning a princess-themed party for your five year old daughter and expect about 10 guests, your planning is going to be significantly less complicated than if you are planning a Halloween birthday party for 100 adult guests.

As you start to plan the birthday party, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I want to choose a theme for my party?
  • Do I want to elaborately decorate?
  • How many people am I expecting?
  • What is my budget?
  • What is the age range of my guests?
  • What type of refreshments do I want to provide?
  • Where do I want to hold the birthday party?

Answering these questions will give you an idea of the size, scope and type of party you want to throw.

If you are thinking about choosing a theme for your party, be sure that you select a theme that is appropriate for the age of your guests. Some suggestions include:

  • Decade parties (i.e. 20s, 70s, 80s, etc.)
  • Dress as your favorite celebrity, song or superhero
  • Fairytale character dress-up
  • Formal wear (i.e. gowns for ladies and tuxedos for men)
  • Mardi Gras or masquerade party
  • White elephant gift party (i.e. Each guest brings a gift, and all gifts are randomly exchanged).

In this section, we will give you tips and suggestions for how to plan a birthday party for a variety of milestones in life.

First Birthday

While your babys first birthday is a notable achievement in his or her life, these birthday parties are more geared towards adults than the baby. As you are planning this type of birthday party, invite friends who have babies or small children.

Because half your guests will like be children, consider hosting the party in a park or playground during the afternoon.

Similarly, plan a few activities and games that are entertaining and appropriate for both children and adults. Keep reading for more tips on planning your babys first birthday party.

Sweet Sixteen

A sweet sixteen birthday party is a time to celebrate indeed! Not only has your child reached high school, but she is now starting to feel independent, flirting with adulthood. When planning a sweet sixteen birthday party, consider choosing a location where teen guests can mingle independently, while still being adequately supervised.

Some possible venues include large arcades, family fun parks, dance halls or small amusement parks. Read on to learn more about how to plan a sweet sixteen party.

40th Birthday

Planning a 40th birthday party can be extremely fun because your plans can be as elaborate as you like! One fun theme for these milestone birthdays is to throw a party based on the year in which the person was born. For example, if someone turns 40 in 2007, then the theme of the party will be 1967. At this party, all clothing, decorations, food and refreshments should coincide with this year as much as possible. Keep reading to learn more about party ideas for a 40th birthday.