This birthday party was two years in the making. Actually, it was more like two years of good intentions followed by a week of making it happen. My best friend is probably the only person who loves Harry Potter as much as I do. So, when it came time to celebrate her 28th birthday, I already knew what I was going to do because I had initially planned to do it on her 27th birthday.
Considering that the first Harry Potter novel was published way back in 1997 and the first movie was released in 2001, hosting a Harry Potter-themed birthday party for a 28-year-old is not weird at all. We GREW UP with Harry and the crew. We knew what house we wanted to be in before we knew what our first jobs would be.
When you search “Harry Potter party” on the Internet, however, most results are strictly targeted toward kids and are SOOOO over-the-top/time- and money-consuming. Oh, you got custom wands and sewed new robes for all the kids? That’s cool, but I’m not about make robes that might end up with throw-up on them at the end of the night.
Nope, planning a theme party for twenty-somethings is not the same as planning a theme party for kids.
When it comes to planning a themed-party for twenty-somethings you want it to be themed enough for guests to get into it but not so in-depth that your time or money is wasted.
On that note however, unlike kids, your friends know when something looks like shit. So how do you find the right balance? I mean, you don’t want it to feel half-assed, but you also don’t want to be weeping over construction paper or your bank account at 2am. Here’s how I generally do it:
- Commit to a budget. Whether it’s $20 or $100 or whatever, the budget determines just how much you can DO in general but also how much you can DIY vs. just buy outright. A budget also encourages you to get creative. With the HP party I got VERY lucky in the decor department, but my budget also forced me to not buy/do too much. Which gets me to the next point:
- Devote ONE night (or 3-4 hours total) to DIY shit. DIY is all fine and dandy until you find yourself knee-deep in hot glue at 11pm with not a completed thing in sight. By putting a time limit on the DIY stuff you not only stay motivated to get it done, but you also limit the amount of DIY you commit to.
- Buy with future parties in mind (if you want more parties.) I am ANTI buying-specific-themed-items mainly because their ability to be reused is v. low. AND due to trademark shit, officially themed stuff can be stupid-expensive. Using things like remove-able labels, kraft paper, and household items not only saves money (in the short and long run) it can also make the party more charming.
With those three things in mind, check out a few pics from Lauren’s Harry Potter Birthday:
Okay, so the above picture is from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. But below is the cake I made for the party:
Some people change out Harry for the actual birthday boy/girl’s name, but nah, we have integrity at PTY!
Ok, so I can’t take credit for this insane Platform 9 3/4 backdrop. A coworker made it for her kids (bless her) BUT I did ask to borrow it, and there’s a lesson right there: stalk coworkers’ Instagrams to see what theme parties they’ve thrown for their kids and BOOM swoop in and seize it.
Guys, these things were a hit. I was honestly surprised but apparently my friends are secret superfans of Ferrero Rochiers and/or thought this was super clever. Either way, I’ll take it. I wish I took more pictures, because there were a lot of fun things like:
- A fat lady on the front door
- Moaning Myrtle in the bathroom
- Floating candles made from battery-operated tea lights, paper, and fishing line
- A “potions” box full of shots
- And a cauldron for the Butterbeer
- For the birthday girl, I created a special invitation, direct from Hogwarts:
Also, dafont.com has a pretty sweet font called Lumos that is perfect for anything Harry Potter related. It’s what I used for the invites as well as labels for other party items.
And there you have it, a twenty-something theme party in the books. We had enough booze, no robes, no throw-up, but enough Harry Potter to make everyone–but especially the birthday girl–happy.
See ya later, party animals.