What Do You Need For a Birthday Party? 7 Important Essentials

Last Updated on April 9, 2024

Whether you are planning a birthday party for yourself, a friend, or a family member, planning is vital. So, what do you need for a birthday party? It is important to get all the essentials in order to have the best birthday celebration.

There are several things you need to take into consideration, such as dessert, decorations, activities, and seating. In addition, many parties will have a theme. You can keep it simple or do something more unique like an under-the-sea birthday party.

What Do You Need For a Birthday Party? The Essentials

Planning a birthday party may seem overwhelming. However, by creating a checklist with the essentials you can make your job much easier. You want to make sure the party will not only be enjoyable for the person celebrating their birthday but also for all the other guests as well.

This will answer the essentials of the question, what do you need for a birthday party?

1. Food and drinks

Providing food and drinks is essential to a good party. Depending on the time of the party, you will either provide a meal or appetizers.

For a meal, keep it to something that will not overwhelm you to prepare. Good options include burgers and hotdogs, a taco bar, or pizzas. You can also save time by having the meal catered by a restaurant.

For appetizers, it is best to have a variety of choices. Good options include a vegetable tray, fruit salad, chips and dip, trail mix, chicken wings, pigs in a blanket, cheese and crackers, pretzels, and popcorn.

You will want at least three or four options to choose from or more if you are having a larger party. Be sire to also make sure none of your guests have any food allergies.

Drinks are another important component of a party. Ideally, you want a few options such as lemonade, water, juice, soda, and tea. If it is an adult party, having a few alcoholic options is not a bad idea.

2. Dessert

Dessert is perhaps one of the most important aspects of any birthday party. A cake is a traditional birthday dessert, however, you don’t have to limit yourself to a cake. For easier serving, cupcakes can be a great option and you can also serve different flavors of cupcakes as well.

There are also plenty of other fun and tasty dessert options such as cookies, brownies, and ice cream. You can also do something more special like an ice cream sundae bar or a s’mores station, where people can customize their desserts.

3. Entertainment

No party is complete without some form of entertainment. For children, this could be games, activities, or hiring an entertainer. Popular children’s games and activities include pin the tail on the donkey, scavenger hunts, relay races, water balloon fights, charades, crafts, and obstacle courses.

For adults, having music will help liven up the party. You can also do activities such as backyard games, board games, charades, and drinking games.

4. Decorations and supplies

To make the party complete, you will need decorations and supplies. Common party supplies you will need include balloons, table clothes, birthday candles, streamers, and centerpieces. If you choose a theme for your birthday party then you can choose decorations to go with the theme.

Don’t forget to buy plates, utensils, cups, and napkins to make clean-up easier. It is also a good idea to buy signs to place outside the venue so guests know they are at the right location when you arrive.

5. Venue

Choosing a venue is very important when it comes to planning a birthday party. You want to choose a location that is a large enough space for all of your guests and will also be an atmosphere your partygoers will enjoy.

Having a birthday party at your home is a great option as you don’t have to pay for it and you don’t have to worry about the party going late or not being able to do all the decorations and activities you want.

Besides your home, other great venues include parks, restaurants, banquet halls, and children’s play centers. If you plan your party outdoors, be sure to have a backup plan in case of bad weather.

6. Seating and tables

Whether at your home or not, be sure there is enough seating to accommodate your guests. You also want to make sure you have enough tables for food, presents, and activities. You may need to rent chairs and tables to ensure your guests have a fun and comfortable experience at the birthday party.

7. Invitations

Invitations are important to ensure your guests know all the information. Your invitations should include the time, date, and address of the party. Be sure to also include a phone number or email so people can RSVP to your party.

You can send your party invitations out by mail, email, text, or via social media. If your party is having a theme you can incorporate it into the design of the invitation.

Party Planning Tips

You don’t want to wait until the last minute to plan out a birthday party you are hosting. Ideally, you want to begin planning two to three months in advance to make sure everything is ready in time.

Tip #1: Make a budget

The first thing you should do when planning a birthday party is to make a budget. This can help you determine how many guests you can invite and what type of venue you can host it at.

Tip #2: Create a guest list

Make a guest list of everyone you want to invite. You can keep it small, with close friends or family, or plan for a large party with a lot of people. It is important to keep in mind that at most likely only 60% of the people you invite will come to the party.

Tip #3: Book venue two to three months ahead

If you are hosting the birthday party at a location that is not your home, you should book it at least two to three months in advance. This will give you a better chance of getting the date you want and allowing the venue to prepare.

Tip #4: Send out invitations a month ahead

Send out your invitations at least a month ahead of time. This will give your guests enough time to make plans to attend the party and RSVP so you can plan accordingly.

Tip #5: Buy decorations in advance

Buy decorations in advance so they are all ready for when it is time to decorate for the party. Buy the food the week of the party. If you are ordering a cake, be sure to do so at least two weeks in advance.

Choosing a Theme

When it comes to a birthday party, choosing a theme can be a great way to make the party extra special. While it is not necessary to have a theme for a birthday party, it can be a fun way to celebrate.

When choosing a theme for a kid’s birthday party. It should be something that the kids can enjoy and you can make decorations around. Here is an example of how to make a themed birthday party for an under-the-sea theme.

Things You Will Need for an Under the Sea Birthday Party

When it comes to an under-the-sea theme, you can let your imagination run wild. There are many great elements you can include, from mermaids to sharks. Not only do you need some great decorations, but you also need some amazing desserts that fit the theme, as well as a fitting color palette and activities. 

Color Palette

For your silverware, tablecloths, napkins, plates, and backgrounds, you want to stick with a color palette. The right color palette can really tie the theme together. When choosing colors for your under-the-sea party, stick with shades of blue, green, and coral, then add some pops of yellow, red, and orange.

Under the Sea Party - Color Palette

Under the Sea Decorations

When it comes to an under-the-sea party, you can have a lot of fun with decorations. You’ll be sure to want to include lots of fish decorations, like balloons, wall decorations, and centerpieces.

For DIY decorations, you can tape green swirled party streamers to the wall to make it look like seaweed. To make an octopus, attach pieces of ribbon to paper lanterns. Fill some empty vases, or even fish bowls, with sand and seashells for easy and cute centerpieces.

Activities for an Under the Sea Birthday Party

No birthday party is complete without some fun activities. There are many great games and crafts you can do at an under-the-sea party.

1. Instead of playing pin the tail on the donkey, you can play pin the tail on the whale. 

2. Fill up a kiddie pool with sand outside and allow the kids to search for hidden treasures with sand shovels. 

3. Let the kids decorate picture frames with fish foam stickers and seashells, so they can then put their favorite photo from the party in it.


Dessert is one of the most important aspects of any party. From cake to cookies, and everything in between, there are many desserts you can make to fit this theme.


For making a birthday cake, a cake decorated in seafoam frosting will fit beautifully into the theme. Baking cookies shaped like fish is an adorable way to recreate a school of fish. Homemade rice crispy treats can easily be shaped to make different sea creatures like starfish and mermaid tails.

What Do You Need For a Birthday Party? Everything You Should Know

To host a great birthday party you need to plan ahead. Most importantly, be sure to get the essentials which include food and drinks, dessert, a venue, invitations, decorations and supplies, seating and tables, and entertainment. Be sure to make a budget, create a guest list, and book any catering, venues, or entertainers ahead of time.

Do you have any questions regarding what you need for a birthday party? If so, ask any party planning questions in the comments.

Read more about 2 Easy Recipes For Edible Paint For Adults And Kids

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