21st birthday ideas
Here are a range of good ideas for your 21st birthday party.
What’s special about the 21st?
A person’s 21st birthday used to be one of the most important. It marked “coming of age” when it was possible to vote and to get married without parental consent. Symbolically, this was marked by presenting the “keys to the door” and some 21st birthday cards still use the key symbol.
21st birthday party themes
“Retro” themes are really popular. You could celebrate using a theme of the birth year. You could get ideas from a website which contains information about that year, such as the BBC. http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/ilove/years/1988/news.shtml
You could have a theme based on 21+21. 2010 will mark the 42nd anniversary of the running of the last mainline steam passenger service in Britain in 1968. If you live close enough to a railway preservation society, you could hire a steam train for a party.
You could even go back 100 years. That’s what Princess Beatrice of York did for her 18th birthday party in 2006. Her party, which reputedly cost £500,000 to stage, was based on the year 1888, a century before her own birthday. You could use a similar theme at much less cost.
The Number 21
For a fun theme, what about asking everyone attending your party to come dressed using the theme 21. They could wear a t-shirt with the number 21 on it; they could pin 21 brooches to their dress; they could use a “21″ transfer on their arm. Leave it to their imagination. One thing you probably won’t see is someone wearing 21 pairs of socks. Have you ever tried it?
How about playing the card game “vingt-et-un”? (that’s the French for 21). You could invite just 21 guests, although that might be difficult. How do you decide who to include and who to leave out?
Chinese Banquet – a meal with 21 courses
Another idea would be to have a meal with 21 courses. This need not be as intimidating as it seems. When the Chinese provide a 100 course banquet, this does not mean that everyone is given 100 full plates of food. Chinese food is served on the basis of a buffet and there are merely 100 different dishes from which to choose. Finding 21 different dishes should not be too much of a challenge. You could include some small light things such as a bowl of peanuts or crisps as part of your buffet.
If you want to give favours to people leaving your party, you could use the 21 theme. It need not cost a fortune. You might give them a bag containing 21 sweets.
Other themes could include basing the party around a film such as Grease or Mamma Mia, or if you are looking for a film from 21 years or so ago, Crocodile Dundee. You will find other ideas elsewhere on this website.
A small party could be held at home. In the summer putting up a marquee or gazebo in the garden can provide extra space, but you need to think about access to toilets, and (given the unreliability of the weather) what you will do it is wet or cold. To avoid complaints from the neighbours if the party will be going on into the night, it is sensible to check with them first. What about inviting them?
For a larger party you could use a hotel, sports clubhouse, or village hall. If the birthday boy or girl is a football fan, most football clubs can provide hospitality suites or party venues. Some venues will be able to provide catering as well.
Why party at night?
Instead of having an evening party, you could organise an afternoon or all day outing. This could include:
- a day at the races – organise transport to a racetrack and arrange refreshments either at the venue, or on the way back
- a trip to the cinema for a good film, adjourning afterwards to a nearby pub or restaurant for a meal
- an activity event such as paintballing
- a day sea fishing – the boat operator may be able to provide catering, and if not, will generally allow you to bring your own picnic.
This is probably the last birthday that you can put one candle for each year of age on the cake without hiding the cake completely. Go for it! Don’t forget, as well, the tradition of the “key to the door”. You could use this as a decoration, or even bake a cake the shape of a key.
10 August 2009
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