I personally love parties and would use travel money I've saved to host a party. So there were no regrets having a 21st last year with delicious food, and create memories for later on in life. I am generally the oldest one around my friends, so didn't have any inspiration for ideas and how to host a party. I've been wanting to do this post for a while, and here are some 21st I attended last year, along with ideas, locations, what to do and most importantly-cake!
Location: Haven Tailoring Coffee Joyously
Cake: Unbirthday Bakery, 2nd cake from the cafe (not pictured here)
Full blog post here on food. Since I wanted a sit down event (because too lazy to stand), I didn't invite heaps of people so everyone could have a seat without crowding up the place. I ended up having a fun little '21 things about me' trivia, and I've always been a fan of photobooths, so got some props online, borrowed some decorations from friends, and set up a photobooth in a corner of the cafe. Stuck some baby pics up around the cafe (but they were the old style film print, so were pretty small). Also, guests couldn't leave without a party bag! Childhood memories from primary school days (: Ceebs connecting projectors, mics etc since I wanted to keep it low key, but still have fun and delicious food. Had a wooden '21' for people to sign.
Location: Four Seasons Hotel
Cake: Unbirthday Bakery (chocolate inside)
That dessert table was the centre piece for the whole room-everyone was drawn to it from the moment they walked in. So many fancy canapés and delicious desserts (can't go wrong with macarons). There were unlimited drinks at the bar and still plenty of space to stand up to eat or seats around the edge of the room. Also a Photo Booth with some fun probs. A jar for people to place messages in, or peg it to a photo frame with strings hanging across it. I think the hotel provided the decorations/balloon/jars etc which really made everything so fancy and elegant but fun.
Location: Crane Bar
Cake: La Renaissance Patisserie and Cafe
You know you've had one too many cakes when you can recognise where the cake is from, and the flavour. We went to the 'Lawn' part for the Crane Bar, which was pretty cute with Japanese inspired cherry blossom tree paintings on the wall. Some seats scattered around, and also a mini photo booth with some props. Don't really go to Kings Cross/Potts Point much, but it's cool to see a different side of Sydney. Quite a few deep fried canapés and skewers of meat. There was also a bar tab for drinks. Polaroid with the birthday girl, plus message in a guest book. She had super cute stickers as well to decorate your page.
Location: Village Green
Cake: didn't stay for the cake, but from photos, it was quite a big and pretty homemade cake
Yay for Malay friends so I can have authentic Malay food (still wanting more of those curry puffs). There were some pretty funny ice breakers finding other people and asking questions. We were also split into teams (but I missed this part), and there was a GAMSAT paper/creative writing questions about the birthday girl. Looked really fun. Happy Apple is super generous, and we all brought in canned foods to be donated to the local church.
Location: Epping Hotel
Cake: Zest Patisserie (I used to always get my cakes here back in high school from this local patisserie)
Came late for the food, but it was typical bar stuff/finger food like chicken, pizzas etc. Bar tab also available, but this place was quite dim, so photos with the balloons were a bit hard. Polaroid with the bday girl, plus pre-cut coloured cards which you write your message, and slip it into a biggish photo album.
Location: Epping Club
Cake: Cheesecake shop (one on left is from the venue)
The Epping Club is actually pretty luxurious, greeted by a big chandelier as you walk up the stairs. There's also balcony, so it's good for just chilling and photos during sunset. Food here was pretty good as well, most interesting thing was probably the oyster shot-first time having oyster in a shot glass. Heaps to go around, and quite a lot of variety with even individual noodle boxes. Small notebook to write your well wishes. There was a dj there and also a dance floor + lights to 'Shake It Off.'
Location: Bar Coluzzi, Circular Quay
Cake: Susan (from Operation Bake)
Photos in front of the super cool balloon letters. Typical bar food here, but it was also quite substantial/large at the same time. Cake was super pretty with cute bunting-loved that colour scheme. Flowers weren't edible though (I knew because I tried one and it tasted what inedible flowers tasted like lol). Layers of vanilla and raspberry buttercream throughout. The icing was quite sweet, but you really need it to hold it's form and just make an aesthetically good looking cake. Polaroid with the bday girl to stick into a guestbook + message. This party really got started when the shots came out after the cake...
In terms of booking venues, I booked roughly 5/6 weeks ahead. I know of others who had to book at least 2 months in advance, and some were just 3 days before, but it all worked out in the end. Really depends if you're born in a popular birthday season, and what type of venue you're after-something chic, fun or simple.
For food, at least 6 decently sized canapés, plus slice of cake and 1 drink (for girls) would be needed for dinner. Decently sized imo would be a slider filled with many toppings. Most people had around 8 (I think including dessert I had 8 with 2 drinks). Some people had over 10 canapés, whilst others had 4 types, but there was enough for seconds (or thirds). You can also ask beforehand to see if the place allows you to bring in some party food/snacks before the actual food comes out/whilst you're waiting. Drinks do fill people up, so if you're worried about not enough food, just make sure there's some drinks to go around.
Hope this inspires you with ideas for your 21st! I think it's worthwhile to spend the money, since creating memories with friends is truly once in a life time experience (: