To many, their 21st birthday represents a significant milestone of their lives and the first step into adulthood. Thus, it is quite normal to hold a celebration with family and friends to commemorate this joyous occasion.
Here’s a guide to help you plan the perfect 21st birthday celebration – without becoming broke the next first day as an adult.
What Kind Of Celebration Do You Envision?
Before hosting a party, understanding the reason as to why you want a birthday celebration is crucial in helping you with your decision-making process. You can think in terms of:
Scale: How many people are you planning to host? Depending on the number, this will affect your food and venue choices.
Level of Interaction: If you would like to have a more intimate interaction with your guests, you can consider booking a hotel or chalet where you are able to interact with them without the constraint of time.
Purpose of the Celebration: You have to also understand what is the motivation behind hosting a party – whether you want a party that is pure fun or if you want to have elements of honouring your parents or friends who are dear to you.
What Do You Plan To Spend On?
Many people envision blowing out the candle on their birthday cake. From old school birthday cakes to customised celebratory cakes, you have a wide array of options to choose from at different price tag.
In addition, take note of the dietary requirements of your guests. There are eggless, gluten-free or even dairy-free cakes available in the market.
|Types of Cake||Where To Find It||Cost Range||Pros||Cons|
|Old school birthday cakes||Neighbourhood bakeries/confectioneries||$20 – $35||Most affordable option||May not be as aesthetically pleasing as a customised cake|
|Standard Cakes||Mid-tier bakeries such as Cat and the Fiddle, Cedele or Emicakes||$30 – $55||Affordable and easily available||Non-customisable|
|Customised Cakes||Many bakeries, home-based bakeries and freelance bakers||$90 – $180 for single-tier cakes; from $200 for two-tier cakes||Able to customise (the looks, the taste) to your liking/party theme.||Steep prices|
A dessert table is no longer just a table displaying your various dessert items. Instead, it now serves as the backdrop for your Instagram photos. The classic dessert table comprises of a large photobooth backdrop with fairy lights across the booth, as well as a table full of colourful cupcakes and macarons.
|Types of Dessert Table||Cost Range||Pros||Cons|
|Dessert Table Packages (by event planners)||$250 (15 pax) – $920 (50 pax)||– Packages include styling consultation and decorations specific to your theme
– Includes a range of dessert items: choux, cupcakes, macarons, tarts etc
|Convenience comes at a monetary cost|
|Do-It-Yourself||$15 – $200||– Flexibility in choosing your dessert items
– You can choose lower-cost options
|– Have to do the entire set up by yourself/with your friends
– Need to source for items such as on dessert tiers, cake stand and table decoration
Sourcing for the perfect venue can range from $0 to $500 onwards, hence rendering it as one of the most expensive considerations you may have for your birthday.
|Types of Venues||Cost Range||Pros||Cons|
|Your Own House/ Function Room||$0 – $20 (depending on condominium’s policy)||– Convenient – does not have to bring items over to another venue
– Cost is almost zero
|– Cut-off timing at 2200 (for most function rooms)|
|Chalets||(2D1N): $120 – $496||– Large and nice private space to host all your family and friends
– Have facilities such as a BBQ pit or swimming pool
– No cut-off time for the night
|– Avoid booking during peak periods as it can cost almost 90% more for the same room
– Inaccessible location (such as Changi)
|Hotels||Cost (of a junior suite and above): from $500||– Usually at an accessible and centralised location
– Themed suites to fit your birthday party
|– Have to abide by hotel rules such as having only a maximum of 8 people staying overnight
– Most hotels only allow in-house catering for food (which will further increase your cost)
Food (And Snacks)
Buffet catering is popular among party planners as it is hassle-free with many food options to choose from. Notably, catering services usually impose a minimum pax of 30. The cost of buffet cateringranges from $12 – $35 per pax, and the more guests you are ordering for, the cheaper the price per guest. In addition, snacks and drinks options are aplenty, and the cost depends on your preferences.
Decorations are essential in setting the right ambience and atmosphere for your birthday. No birthday seems complete without the huge foiled “21” balloons. While a pack of 10 balloons costs roughly $1.80, one single helium balloon can easily set you back by $3. Hence, it is important to determine if you really need 30 helium balloons since they are only for one-time use.
Cost Range : $10 – $150
Tips To Bring Down The Cost Without Compromising On Your Party
Tip 1: Do-It-Yourself
By doing it yourself, you are able to cut down on unnecessary costs and able to customise to your own preferences and needs. For example, instead of buying a cake board to display your dessert items, you can simply use a simple wooden chopping board to serve the same purpose.
Tip 2: Make trade-offs
Planning a perfect party will end up being extremely costly if one micromanages down to the smallest aspect and details. Making trade-offs can help you save costs and make up for your other shortfalls. For example, if your venue isn’t fancy, you can make up for it through decorations that will make it look extravagant.
Tip 3: Rent instead of buy
Some event providers, or even renters on Carousell, allow you to rent items such as a cake stand or dessert tier. This way, you are able to save on making a one-off purchase that you may never use ever again.
Tip 4: Discounts
You can get affordable decorations, snacks or drinks from discount stores such as Daiso, Value Dollar Shop or ABC Bargain Centre. Buying snacks and drinks from these discount stores help you to save around $0.80 on a can of Pringles to $1 on a bottle of soft drinks. Although these individual cost savings may look minimal, they do add up to a hefty sum.
In addition, for standard cakes, you can check out Qoo10, Fave or even Eatigo to see if there is any discount available for your preferred bakeries.
Tip 5: Compare prices and do your research
Unfortunately, to get the best deals and to be the most cost efficient, sometimes we have to bring out the “auntie” in us. Start your planning and research early, source for prices and compare in order to get the most cost-efficient option.
Don’t be afraid to ask around for contacts and recommendations as well. You never know when you may get a good deal just by the virtue of referrals. Doing up an inflated budget is also wise – so you will at least have additional budget to work around.
True Cost Of A 21st Birthday Party
The cost of a birthday party is heavily dependent on your choices. If you are looking for a no-frills party at the comfort of your home, your total cost can easily be below $300. On the other hand, if you want to host a glamourous party at a hotel to impress your friends, be prepared to pay up to $3000 for a night. Alternatively, you can also choose to host your birthday at a café or a karaoke studio as well.
Additionally, the pressure and desire to hold the best birthday party may cause you to pay more than you should. No matter how much you are going to spend on your birthday party, always remember to have a great time before entering adulthood.
Optimise Your Dollars When You Send Money Overseas
When we send money overseas to our loved ones, we often face high fees and unfavourable foreign currency spreads. Time is also an issue when it takes a few days for the money to be transferred.
Companies like InstaRem offer a convenient and faster way for you to transfer money overseas. With zero exchange rate margins and no hidden charges, you can make the most of the money you send overseas. For those that send money frequently, you can earn bonus InstaPoints for each transfer you make - this can be redeemed for future transactions.
DollarsAndSense Exclusive Promotion: Use the promo code DNS20 to receive an additional SGD $20 when you make an initial transfer of at least SGD $1,000.