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19 Small Birthday Party Ideas For Adults

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No matter what age you are, you deserve to have a special birthday. If you don’t want to do anything big or fancy this year, and just want to hang out with your friends, we’ve put a list of a few small birthday party ideas for adults with you in mind.

Planning any birthday can be a stressful time, and that’s especially true when it comes to larger events. You’ve got keep your guests happy, and make sure everything’s going according to plan, as well as have fun.

It’s also a lot harder to come up with original ideas the older we get and the more birthdays we have. Intimate birthday party ideas can go a long way to alleviating all of that, if you knew what was out there.

Contrary to what many still believe, celebrating your birthday doesn’t have to be lavish or expensive. It’s the memories that count and that’s the belief we hold to in this list of small birthday party ideas for adults. Let’s get you started!

Small Birthday Party Ideas For Adults At Home

Simply Cake

As much as we love monster-sized birthday cakes, downsizing to a small bite is just as lovely. Smaller cakes often pack more punch when it comes to flavor and texture. Unlike bigger cakes, they will be easier to make, don’t take long to bake, and there’s always plenty available for guests.

Which kind of cake do we think is the best for any type of intimate birthday party ideas? We’d go with the humble cupcake. Cupcakes are considered bite-sized versions of larger cakes and are perfect if you’d still love a mega birthday cake.

They’re also easy on the budget, and you can decorate each one to your heart’s content.

Time Travel Party

The funny thing about turning older is how nostalgic we often get for the year we’ve had. It’s easy to get sad about the adventures been and gone, the amazing times, the real unbelievable times you wish you could have again.

But instead of getting down about it, you can theme your next birthday around the adventures and achievements from the last 12 months. Dig out your photo albums and rummage through your closets for ticket stubs and other treasures that have marked your year. Invite your friends to do the same, then piece together your experiences over drink, food and laughs.

Maybe an event slipped your mind that your friends don’t yet know about. Maybe you did something spectacular you still haven’t shared to the world. Now’s the time to let those memories shine before you start making new ones.

Can Do Fondue

Birthday dinners, in theory, are a lovely way to get your friends together. We say “in theory,” because they can also a complete nightmare to plan! You’ve got a lot of things to consider when trying to organize one of these, e.g. Dietary requirements, seating plan, whether to offer a 3-course meal, and the dreaded cleaning-up.

It’s your birthday! Planning headaches need to seriously be avoided, small birthday party ideas for adults included.

And that’s why you should opt for a fondue party instead. Fondue is a form of communal dining, where everyone gets to share in the cooking experience. Fondue will save you time with food preparation, shopping and cleaning up. Fondue comes in 3 delicious options: meat fondues, cheese, or chocolate.

Got Game

If you don’t want to sit around talking all night, you and your guests will need to add some birthday games to the mix. Here are a couple of quick ones to dive into:

Never Have I Ever: Have everyone hold up their right hand and ask them “Never have I ever” followed by a statement of something they’ve never done. Some examples: ridden a motorbike, been to Egypt, used a typewriter. Whoever has done this activity lowers a finger; keep going until a friend has reached all 5.

Birthday Funny Business: Ask everyone to write down a few funny memories or trivia onto strips of paper. Jumble these in a hat. The first person takes a strip and performs what they read for everyone else to guess. This game definitely brings in the laughs after a couple of drinks!

Artistic Birthday

If you’re artistic or enjoy decorating and painting, then you can enjoy a paint party on your next birthday. Known as “paint and sip,” these types of events combine painting with conversation, snacks and drinks.

Each person will be sat in front of their own easel – or with a sheet of canvas paper – and get to paint whatever comes to mind. Seeing as this is your birthday, you can ask them to paint something celebratory or related to your friendship.

You will need to provide painting supplies to pull this idea off, which is why we recommend roping in a few friends to help you out. Some of the equipment you will need to consider include canvas paper, paint brushes and pots, and type of paint (Watercolor? Oil paint?)

Dinner Challenge

Who doesn’t appreciate a home cooked meal every now and then? For your next birthday, make sure to invite your friends over to create that food for you.

You can also ramp up the dinner-making excitement by turning it into fun and games. You could ask your friends to cook a recipe they’ve never done before, for example. You could ask them to recreate a favorite birthday meal from their childhood.

You could also challenge them to create a meal using only the existing ingredients in your home plus 3 to 4 of their own items. Whatever’s sitting in your cupboards – e.g. Canned foods, cereals, frozen veggies, spices, herbs, etc – is fair game. Your friends will definitely be forced to think creatively!

Related posts:

How To Throw A Private Paint Party At Home

Fondue Party Ideas That Are Perfect For Any Birthday

6 Delicious Cupcake Party Ideas For Adults

Mixing Drinks

Why settle for wine and beer, when you can throw a cocktail party for your next birthday! Making cocktails with your friends is both a creative and unusual experience, it’s not every day we get the chance to down a Mai Tai or Harvey Wallbanger.

If you’ve got creative friends, then cocktail-making will go down a treat. Making cocktails can require a lot of attention and concentration, after all nobody wants to end up creating something undrinkable!

Here are some items you will need for a cocktail night: cocktail shaker, alcohol and fruit juice, a decoration station (for umbrellas, toppings, etc). If you’re concerned about costings, then you don’t be afraid to ask your friends to donate some $$$, they won’t mind. Make sure you also raid their drinks cupboards for anything underused or unopened that could make for a great drink.

Unsure how to make cocktails at home or what drinks you can create? Check out this beginner’s cocktail guide.

Outdoor Viewing

Love films, but don’t fancy going out to the movie theater? Then your  best bet is to turn your home in your own private auditorium.

If you’ve got a backyard or garden, you can create a screen by hanging a large white cloth between a pair of trees or high fence posts, or rent a white screen. You will need to rent/borrow a laptop projector for sharper visual quality.

If you don’t have an outdoor space, it’s not a problem, you can still create the above, this time hanging your screen along a clothesline.

The movie program can be anything you want it to be. Since it’s your birthday, perhaps you could screen favorite films from your childhood or binge-watch a selection of your favorite genre. Food-wise, you can eat a home cooked meal beforehand, or munch through a variety of snacks. Here are some suggestions for food ideas for small parties.

Go Chocolate

This is definitely the yummiest of all the intimate birthday party ideas here: having a chocolate birthday party.

Chocolate cake, chocolate cookies, dark chocolate, chocolate box, you seriously can’t go wrong with chocolate. None of you will be lacking for inspiration or goodies. The only problem you will have is deciding which type of chocolate to go for – which is a nice problem to have!

There are 2 things to keep in mind when thinking about chocolate party ideas: whether it’s the center of your party or a side dessert to a main meal. If it’s the central theme, then this will make it a dessert party. If it’s a side dish, then friends can enjoy savory food as well as something sweet.

Small Birthday Party Ideas For Adults Outdoors

Sing It Out

Wanna go loud with your intimate birthday party ideas? A karaoke party will be right up your alley. 

Make sure to look for karaoke bars that provide private rooms and are okay with you bring along a birthday cake. If you want to eat more than just cake, look for bars that provide food; make sure your friends are happy to dine there by getting a copy of their menu.

Mystery Skills

If you want to try something new this birthday, then joining a workshop could be just the thing, particularly if it’s in a topic area you don’t know. 

If you love vintage furniture, for example, but don’t have a clue about basic carpentry skills, ta-dah, that could be a class for you. Found yourself looking in on pilates classes while on your way out of your gym? Hello, sign up. Make sure to check your local community center or college for what’s available.

You’re not signing up alone, your friends of course would be attending too, if only for some moral support (or giggles). You also don’t have to sign up for a long course (unless you want to); taking an evening class is all you need. Who knows, it might spark regular attendance in future learning!

Treasure Hunt

A scavenger hunt is a fun way to get your friends out of the house and into your local digs. Scavenger hunts are all about photos and usually involve teams of people running around the streets trying to fulfil a sheet of items. When it comes to intimate birthday party ideas, we’re ditching all that.

Treasure hunts are about you, because, let’s face it, you are the treasure for today’s party! That might sound corny, but it’s true, let’s not feel embarrassed about it.

In a treasure hunt, your friends will be asked to run around your local area to find items they feel would resonate with you. Your friends can either work individually or together as a group. Give each person or the group a list of hints they can drum up ideas with, e.g. Something yellow, something unusual, something cute, something that can’t be broken, something edible none of you have tasted before, etc. Have everyone share their photos afterwards; make sure to collect these up, so you can create a birthday photo album to share post-event.

Get Relaxed

If you’d love someone to cater to your needs for a change, then enjoying a spa day should go on your list of intimate birthday party ideas. There are 5 different types of massage therapies to choose from, each one will definitely give your body a full workout. You can also enjoy a facial, pedicure, manicure and more as well.

Make sure to book ahead as early as you can to get the best deals. You should look into whether there are any hotels in your town/city that offer wellness centers or spas.

New Tastes

Always wanted to go to that new sushi place, but never found the time? Tried to eat at that upmarket burger restaurant, but could never book a table? Now is the perfect time to ditch those excuses and get yourself in front of this food.

Make sure this time you do book ahead for that table. If you can give the waiting staff a rough count, that would also help. You can also ask them if they have a special menu for birthdays or would consider customizing one for yours.

To anticipate a friend bringing along a birthday cake – because it can happen – check in with the venue to find out if they will allow it. Not every venue will allow it, so it’s better to ask now than everyone getting mad on the night.

Camping In Style

If you want to spend your day outdoors, but don’t fancy camping, then going glamping is the option for you. Glamping is a luxury form of camping which does away with the hassle of camping, i.e. Putting up a tent, sleeping in the cold, getting dirty.

Instead, a glamping tent has everything you need for a good time: a mattress, bedding, tables and chairs, a wood burner, even underfloor heating in some cases. Yes, you’ll be warm outside!

Glamping is still like camping, in that you’re outside, under the stars and away from the big city.

Luxury Bed

When we’re thinking small birthday party ideas for adults, often times we think we have to celebrate them in our own homes. Not so. For something a bit more luxurious, why not book your party in a hotel?

Hotels are often overlooked spaces when we think of birthdays. Many hotels host rooms for private occasions. You can also have your birthday party in the bar or restaurant. If your friends are coming from out of town, and you don’t have the space to put them up, then a hotel kills 2 birds with one stone.

For something more local or in a town you’ve not visited before, you can book into an Airbnb.

Private Showcase

If you do fancy going out to the movies, then why not book out a few seats at your local theater or organize a private screening? You can ask the theater to show your favorite film or catch the latest blockbuster.

Instant Atmosphere

If you enjoy a night of music and action, then you should look into having your birthday party in a sports bar. You don’t have to be a sports fan to go; sports bars can provide you with drinks, food and an unforgettable atmosphere.

Many bars will also have widescreen TVs, so you won’t miss a second of anything being shown. If your birthday coincides with a World Cup or home team match, why not give this idea a go?

A Kind Of Potluck

If you love food and lying around outdoors, then you should think about hosting a picnic. The nice thing about picnics is that they’re easy to organize and friends can drop in and out as they wish. You can also schedule for any time during the afternoon or evening.

If you have the energy to shop for ingredients, then hold a potluck instead. Ask your friends to bring a dish each that would consider as top-notch birthday food. You can theme the food as well, e.g. Pink food, mini cakes, cakes n’ pies. Make sure you bring plenty of cutlery and crockery with you, and an icebox cooler for any drinks.

Start Lighting The Candles

The most important thing about birthdays is that you get the special day you deserve. It’s not always necessary to go wild, as these small birthday party ideas for adults show. There’s a lot of original fun to be had when dreaming up intimate birthday party ideas, we hope you found something great for your next special day.

Some posts you might like…

How To Throw A Hotel Birthday Party (The Right Way)

30 Fantastic Birthday Party Games For Adults