Your ultimate 30th birthday party planning checklist

Why go into a new decade quietly? You’re a little wiser, and chances are you party WAY better than your 20-year-old self. Time to plan a celebration of all things you – here’s your ultimate 30th birthday party planning checklist.

Farewell 20s, and hello to a brand-spanking new decade! The big 3-0 is arguably more of a cause for celebration than 18 or 21. You’re a little – or a LOT – wiser, you’re better at holding your liquor than you were at 21, you have a stellar group of friends around you, and you know exactly what you want from a celebration.

So – let’s do it! Our ultimate 30th birthday party planning checklist awaits, to get you from ‘I guess I’ll do something’ all the way to an incredible night of all things YOU – whatever your party style might be.

30th birthday party planning checklist

Your 30th birthday party checklist in a nutshell:

  • Decide what your event vibe will be
  • Decide on your budget
  • Decide on the guest list
  • Think about drinks
  • Think about food
  • Contact venues
  • Check out your ideal venue
  • Remember the little things
  • After party?

Decide what your vibe will be

The first decision you need to make, a decision that’ll influence everything from what venue to book or what friends to invite, is: what do you want from your birthday celebration?

Decide on your party theme. Casual drinks with mates within a section of a bar? Sit-down dinner for your nearest and dearest? Lavish celebration, with exclusive use of a venue? Your event style and which friends you want to invite will determine your budget, the venue, entertainment options, and your overall event.

30th birthday party planning checklist

Lock in your budget, know your must-haves

Next, realistically hone in on your budget – how much you are willing to spend for your adult birthday party.

Will you be providing party favors? Food and drinks? Be realistic with your budget, but don’t be afraid to splurge on the must-haves for some party fun!

Will you be paying for everything, or will your mates be paying their own way? If it’s the latter, casual venues will take into account how much your friends spend when it comes to meeting the ‘minimum spend’ to use a space exclusively. More about that later!

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How much does a 30th cost?

Calculate your event cost in under 5 minutes

At VenueNow, we find that when it comes to 30th birthdays, the lower end of the budget scale is about $500 to $800. On the higher end – those who hire a function space exclusively, purchase a food and beverage package, and go all out with decorations – you’ll see budgets of about $2,000 to $3,000. It all comes down to how much YOU want to spend.

Deciding on your budget will go hand in hand with deciding what your must-haves are. Basically, it’ll confirm in your mind what should come top of the list when you’re thinking about a venue or food/booze that fits your budget.

How many are on your guest list? Can they fit in your venue? Is it a venue near public transport? Maybe it’s a space that’s big enough for all your mates but small enough to be intimate. Perhaps it’s a type of cuisine that you NEED to enjoy on your birthday (because it’s your day, after all).

Decide on the guest list

I’m sure you have more than a few amazing friends, so before you commit to any of the fun stuff like the venue or food choices, it’s time to decide on your guest list.

If you're planning your own party, decide on your guest list. How many people are you inviting? How much space do they need? Will it be an intimate gathering and exclusive use of space?

If you're throwing a party for someone else, however, check with the person to find out who they want to celebrate with them. Throwing a surprise party makes things a little trickier, so consider coordinating with another friend or family member to create the guest list.

Think about drinks

This one’s easy – bar tab, beverage package, or cash bar?

If it’s anything other than a cash bar (woo!), consider how much of your budget you’ll be spending on booze versus food.

Beverage packages are great value for money – as they're an unlimited supply of a list of drinks for a specified duration – but are a little pricy. You'll need to pay a set price per person, which can end up completely blowing the budget. In our experience, the most popular drinks plan is to put a bar tab down, then allow friends to buy their own drinks once it runs out. Check out your venues' drinks menus to see how far your bar tab will go.

30th birthday party planning checklist

Think about food

First up: Are you planning a dinner party? Will you be providing food for your friends? If the answer’s no, that makes things easier! No wading through menus for you.

That said if you are planning a ‘let’s just meet here and drink!’ celebration, we do recommend choosing a venue that offers easy snacks for your friends to order. Lining your pals’ stomachs will ensure there aren’t any 21st-birthday party-style messy moments.

Venuemob 30th birthday part planning checklist

If you are going to organise food? Here are our recommendations for adult birthday parties.

Most venues will have a set menu, priced per person, for events. You’ll generally get to choose a couple of dishes from the menu, to make up the dinner for your event. Beware though, these are pricey!

Canapé packages are good value if you’re organising a bit more of a formal cocktail-style event. Six canapés per person is ‘entry-level’, and about eight to 12 (sometimes with a ‘substantial’ canapé) is a ‘meal’ equivalent. Don't forget about your birthday cake though!

30th birthday party planning checklist

Canapé Platters are cheaper than canapé packages. It can be a little overwhelming trying to figure out how many platters you’ll need, so it’s a good idea to use the canapé equation above and apply it to your platter order.

Note: many venues will require you to pre-purchase food.

Contact venues

Now it’s time to find and book an amazing venue with confidence, certainty and speed. If you have a few in mind, get in touch straight away!

And if you don’t, or if you want to find a venue that’s a little surprising, unique, hidden or new? Use a service like VenueNow – a booking platform literally filled with venues that are ideal for specific event types. Reduce the stress that comes with the planning process with VenueNow. With VeneuNow, it will make your party planning experience much smoother!

Check out your ideal venue

When chatting with clients – corporate or social – the team at VenueNow ALWAYS recommends checking out your venue in person. There’s only so much you can truly garner from photos, and you’ll want to know whether the venue you have in mind is really the perfect space.

If possible tee up a site inspection with the team at the venue, especially if you’ll be enjoying exclusive use of the venue. This will also allow you to get to know the team and ask vital questions about your event.

30th birthday party planning checklist

Remember the little things!

While checking out your venue, ask about all of the following event details that might apply to your party:

  • Parking Situation
  • Cakeage (bringing in your own cake)
  • An aux cord for music
  • Dress code
  • Dance floor
  • Decorations. Will you be able to decorate your space?
  • AV options
  • How the venue organises payment for food/drinks
  • If you have a bar tab, how they’ll ensure only your mates use it
  • Security guard requirements (and if that’ll be an extra cost for you)

30th birthday party planning checklist
Planning a glitter extravaganza? Double check that you're able to decorate the space!

What about an after-party?

Some of you will approach your 30th birthday party planning completely aware that you’ll be hitting the hay by midnight and revelling in a hangover-free morning.

30th birthday party planning checklist

For some, an after-party venue is an absolute must. Take it from us – nothing kills a night’s momentum quite like trying to find a spot nearby that’s ideal for a dance (without a line), while also herding 10 of your mates.

Know where you’re planning on going, find out whether there’s a cover charge, and – if you’re extra keen – book a section for your posse.!

Are you ready to plan and book your own 30th birthday party?

Check out VenueNow's list of top 30th birthday venues to kick off your party planning >>

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