The Big One Eight!
Secure the date
Quite often function venues are booked well in advance, and in many instances are booked up a year before the date! There are many factors in the decision to book early and the most crucial is the Function Venue availability. Specialist 18th Birthday Function venues only have a limited amount of availability for bookings to begin with as there are only so many highly sought Friday & Saturday nights in a calender year. After taking Christmas periods, long weekends, public holidays and pre-booked special events into account the availability of a function room can be extremely limited.
Limiting factors can also be the set date of the upcoming birthday itself. This allows for only a brief window in which to book the 18th birthday. Remembering that you can’t book in the weeks leading up to the date either – the birthday boy or girl won’t yet be allowed to be on licensed premises! Too far after the date and the birthday may have been celebrated already, and the moment passed.
An important item to keep in mind is the likelihood of your son/daughters friends also having 18th birthday parties occurring on or around your preferred date. The last thing you want is your guests to be split between attending one party or the other, or only attending for a short time – worst case still, due to the location or timing of the 18th birthday function not being able to attend at all! By securing your date early, you can notify your guests quickly and with plenty of notice.
Remember – choose the date carefully, check the function venue availability and book early.
Finding the perfect size function venue can be difficult to plan for – after all, you are probably booking well in advance and have no idea how many people will RSVP for the special night. Function rooms can vary in size and scope from the smallest of private areas for intimate gatherings to the largest exclusive function venue for thousands of guests.
For booking an 18th birthday function venue you want to keep it as simple as possible. First of all, work out your budget and what you are comfortable in spending. This will give you an idea of amount of people you can afford to invite within your budget, and therefore the function space you will require.
Don’t be daunted by your Facebook friends list! Sure, you might know those people – but are they going to make the effort to come to the birthday function?! Most commonly, budgets will allow for function venues of between 50 and 200 invited guests.
Invite guests early, and confirm!
Get the word out, and get it out quickly! As previously mentioned, quite often friends and peers will also be looking at similar dates to your preferred day. By getting the invitations out early you can get confirmations early, beating your party competition to the punch! Event invitations can be as simple as creating a Facebook event (we recommend a closed group!) and inviting your friends and family. Follow this up with printed or physical invitations that can be easily display on a fridge or calendar. See here for some quirky invitation examples.
Location, location, location
The perfect location is the sum of many parts. The venue should be close to public transport, have plenty of available parking, and be in a city spot that lends itself to ongoing celebrations, as many 18th birthdays attendees will feel the need to ‘kick on’ at an after party or nightclub after the family-centric celebrations of the organised party. With transport options nearby, and a central inner city function venue location, an 18th birthday function room needs to tick all the boxes.
Catering for your guests
Food catering for 18th birthday functions is an important option to consider as the party will most likely occur during a dinner period. With guests of all ages (don’t forget Grandma), food is simply something you should not overlook. The huge production of a sit down dinners – set tables, candelabras, name cards – is probably overkill, but simple canapes or finger food platters will be appreciated by your guests.
Drink packages or Bar Tabs?
Bar Tabs and Beverage Packages each have their own positives and negatives.
On one hand Beverage packages, which are usually charged as a per head and by an hourly period, are a good way of ensuring that all guests have as many drinks as they would like, while remaining within the set dollar budget that you have prepaid. The downsides can be the sometimes limited product inclusions of cheaper packages (not everyone likes beer) and that quite often, some unscrupulous function venue operators will not refund money paid for guests that do not attend.
On the other hand, Bar tabs give you the flexibility of controlling your budget throughout the event, adding to your balance as the function progresses, and the ability to set the products that you would like offered on the bar tab. The downside can be the uneven distribution of the bar tab – some of the friends group may consume the majority of the bar tab while the slower drinking family members, and the birthday boy/girl for that matter, may miss out!
Music and Entertainment
The music and entertainment for your function can set the mood, improve the party, or ruin the night. For 18th Birthday function venues, you should ensure that the venue provides working AV facilities to suit your function, keeping in mind you may need a microphone for speeches, IPOD input for background music, a plasma screen TV for photos and a DJ for dance floor music later on in the night. Preparation is key and you should have all your ducks in a row before the start of the function.
IPOD is fully charged and loaded with playlists for 6-8 hours worth of playtime.
The Music on IPOD playlists has been equalised. Music tracks are mastered at different levels which affects the volume at which they will be played. Playlists that are not equalised will alternate between being far too quiet, to ear piercingly loud.
Microphone is fully charged with new batteries ready for speeches (PRO TIP: Getting guests attention by clinking a glass with a spoon is far more effective than yelling “everybody quiet!!” into a microphone.)
Make sure that the laptop / memory stick is compatible with the Plasma Screen you plan to use for photos.
DJs have been given a run sheet for the night, and have been given an overall idea of the music. Written playlists aren’t needed – DJs are professionals and are very good at reading a crowd, let them surprise you!
Bands are fun, and everyone wants the excitement of having one for their function. But, Bands are often more trouble than they are worth. They can be expensive, very loud, take up a lot of venue space, have complicated requirements and quite often venues won’t even allow them due to licensing regulations. Better to buy a ticket to their future show at a pub as an 18th birthday gift!
When looking for a function venue, keep in mind that a large number of your guests will be smokers and will need an appropriate area that they can be comfortable in. Smoking areas should be directly accessible from your function space and have plenty of cover in case of bad weather.
Can underage guests attend?
Avoid disappointment by confirming (in writing) with your function venue whether or not under 18 guests can attend. Liquor Licensing is very strict on function venues, and they will not risk hefty fines if under 18’s are not allowed.
Decorations are a nice touch, but can be a hassle during a hectic time. If decorating the function room yourself, allow 4-6 hours minimum for balloons, streamers, and photos. Many venues can decorate the venue for you for a small fee, or you can have professional services help if you have a specific theme or outlandish setup in mind. Why not replace classic decorations by having a dress up theme?! After all, the photos will be of your function guests!