Some families choose to celebrate an 18th or 21st with a more formal celebration, such as a marquee party or an event in a hired venue. Parents should always check with their son or daughter that this is what they genuinely want, rather than using it as an excuse to indulge in celebrations they would like. For some 18- or 21-year-olds the idea of such lavish attention may only cause embarrassment, worry or possibly resentment.
If, however, a large formal party is the order of the day, then careful planning, organisation and involvement of all family members is important. Parents should listen to the wishes of their son or daughter to ensure the party is a success for everyone.
Themed or fancy-dress parties are a popular alternative to formal dress codes. A theme may be loosely and often wittily interpreted, while fancy-dress is a little more prescriptive and may even involve the hiring of a costume. Hosts should ensure guests are not too inconvenienced by the theme, and should always make an effort to dress up themselves.
There are some key decisions to be made before planning begins:
- Is the party to be mixed-generation or just for the son's or daughter's friends?
- Will it be held in a marquee/at home, or in a hired venue?
- How many people will be invited?
- What will the dress code be?
- What style of food and entertainment suits everyone?
- How will the alcohol be organised/monitored?
- What facilities are required (parking, loos etc)?
- What sleeping arrangements will be arranged (camping etc)?
- How will guests be invited (formal invitation, email, handwritten cards etc)?