The 21st Birthday Bible: your guide to planning the perfect party

Everything from choosing a venue to picking your designated chaperone for when you’re unable to stand

Everyone looks forward to the day they turn 21, but planning the party is always more work than expected. This checklist has everything you need to ring in real adulthood with the best 21st birthday party yet!

First thing's first, choose a date and time

There are only a lucky few who find themselves turning 21 on a Friday or Saturday, so the rest of us have to get a little creative. You have to decide if you want to plan your celebration on the Monday of your birthday, or would you rather wait until that weekend?

Pick a venue that works for you

Once you know when you want to throw your party, next is deciding where you want it to be! Would you rather go out to dinner, pack a bar, rent a party bus or just throw a party at your house?

Dolly's Party Bus, Union and Airliner are just a few options in Iowa City that regularly rent out their rooms and services for birthday celebrations at an affordable price. If you would rather just crawl around to a few bars to take advantage of their birthday deals, Fieldhouse and SpoCo both offer twenty-one pitcher deals during the week of your birthday!

Theme or no theme?

Simply turning 21 is a theme in itself, but it might be a fun option for you to choose an extra theme! You could have a Hawaiian luau, costume party, bachelorette party, pajama party or anything else your heart desires. The cost of extra decorations need to be taken into account, but whatever you decide, don't forget to spread the word!

Start sending out those invites

Once you make a mental note of who you want to invite, the best way to keep your friends in the loop is with a group message or a Facebook Event. Whether you invite 20 people or 200, they all will probably forget the details if you don't stay on top of them!

You want to make sure that you notify people far enough in advance that they can make time to help you celebrate, but don't forget to post reminders that the big day is coming up.

Got any games?

Everyone loves a party that is fully stocked with cups and ping pong balls for drinking games. However, there are lots of ways you can change it up from the classic Beer Pong and Boom Cup and be a little creative!

If you can find a pizza box, a sharpie and a quarter, you can make your own board game! Got a deck of cards? Card games like King's Cup and Irish Poker are sure to be the new go-to games if you've never played them before!

But what will you wear?

Not only do you need to pick out an outfit just for your special day, but you need a few other essentials as well. You can't turn 21 without a sash or a crown that screams "PLEASE ID ME NOW, ICPD!"

Spencer's at the Coralville Mall has everything you need and more. They offer all the best birthday accessories, like party favors, games and hilarious nametags for your friends, in multiple color schemes!

You only get to turn 21 once, so take advantage of your inner shopaholic and stock up for the long night ahead of you!

Surround yourself with friends you can count on to get you home safe

Everyone is going to want to buy you a birthday shot, and after a landmine or two you'll probably need some help getting home. Your squad already knows that they are key players in your safety, but double check before the night starts so you can celebrate while still being smart and safe.


Your party is in full swing and all the work you've put in is finally put to action. Enjoy your night, be safe and thank all the friends who helped you pull it off!

University of Iowa 21st birthday Iowa City University of Iowa