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GUIDE: How to plan your 21st Birthday on a budget

21st Birthdays are tedious to plan but at the same time, a rewarding experience. You will need to spend quite a bit but your friends or families will help you recoup back your “losses” with gifts off your wish-lists. No one ever goes to a 21st birthday party with a skimpy gift.



Most people host their 21st birthdays in hotels now. There are a lot more things to consider in a hotel – how to sneak your friends in, how to get them to stay in the hotel for the night without getting into trouble, how to keep your noise level down after alcohol… The list goes on. Hotels are also expensive for a night, so it is in your onus to decide if you want a grand but small hotel space, or a large but not-so-prestigious hotel. Trade-offs are necessary in life I suppose.

Getting your venue settled is the first part. Here, we give you 5 pointers for some of the other things that you should consider before throwing your 21st birthday party.

1) Balloons

Have helium balloons at your party if you have the budget to spare because they can be rather expensive. The market rate for one helium balloon costs you ~S$1, maybe some cheaper ones at S$0.80. Alternatively, you can look into rentals for helium tanks which allows you to reap more economies of scale (think Economics), although they usually start at S$100.

If you are tight on budget, go for a simple alphabets/numbers balloon with colors that go well with your theme. It is simple, cheaper and still gives the same grandiose.

A little tip: don’t get mad when people start abusing your balloons and annoy you with the helium-induced chipmunk voice though, it’s all in the name of fun!

2) Photo booth

Photo booth is considered the defining crux of your party, especially if you are going to create a hashtag for your birthday moments. You can look for tutorials on YouTube on how to set up your own photo booths and props, but most importantly, your photo booth should align with your birthday theme.

3) Ice

Large quantity of ice is optional if you are having water dispensers or cambros for drinks, but if you are looking for a bathtub full of ice, you are going to need a lot, a lot, a lot of ice. Go online and search for cheap ice suppliers, perhaps work out some sort of delivery. You don’t want your ice to melt and wet your car.

4) Food

Budget food ideas to consider: stacks of pizza, sushi, finger food, simple canapes. Finger food should be easy to prepare on the spot if you have an air-fryer which is also a good investment to begin with. Get a few of those sushi platters for ~S$30 or if you are anywhere near; hop into a Sushi Express outlet and get some of those S$1.50 goodness, sometimes they are cheaper. Learn to make some simple canapes online if you are confident in honing your culinary skills. Plate them nicely on those S$2 Daiso trays with toothpicks and some parsley and viola!

5) Cakes


Expect to pay a lot more if you are looking for customization. A little note as well: fondant cakes are really pretty but they may not taste as well as they look. Go for something that suits your theme, or you.

Lastly, you can head over here for some inspirations of 21st birthday parties and themes from some of the local bloggers in Singapore.

Writer: Leong Chee Sheng Photo credits as linked

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