Image Source: Amelia Klein
By Amelia Klein | @Amelia_Klein
As someone who really loves a party—especially if it requires me to dress up, drink, and dance—it should not be a surprise that I think 21st birthday parties deserve more appreciation.
Having turned 21 last year, even I have to admit it has been a struggle to get through the marathon of parties that is better known as ‘21st season’.
With an event on every weekend—sometimes even two or three—it is easy to see why the season can be overwhelming, especially as it comes at a stressful time for people in their third or fourth year of university.
Angelica, a University of Adelaide student, turned 21 in May this year but decided to postpone her birthday party until November.
Angelica said “it can be quite hard” to balance her university workload and social commitments “especially while also working part-time”.
“However, I used it as an anti-procrastination tool. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do uni work in that time when 21sts were on, so I would force myself to get it done beforehand.”
Angelica made the decision to have a party because “you are able to celebrate reaching an exciting milestone in life with family and friends, and I love planning events”.
As an identical twin, I am more aware than most of the stress involved with making decisions about a birthday party, especially since I have to share mine with my sister.
But it can be really important to take a step back and remember that it is just a party; it is supposed to be a celebration of a great time in your life.
You don’t want to look back on the experience negatively because of the stress of planning the party.
Angelica said that planning “is a stressful process, but by having family and friends help you plan, it definitely relieves some of the pressure”.
“Just reminding yourself of how amazing the night’s going to be will get you through.”
While the thought of planning your own event is exhausting for some, even as an attendee you have things you need to think about.
These include outfits, presents, transport to and from the event, and the exhausting task of having to socialise.
One of the biggest stresses of attending so many 21st birthdays is the number of outfits necessary to get you through the season, especially for girls.
Fast fashion is becoming a major global issue, so buying a new outfit for every event is not sustainable for the environment or your budget.
Thankfully, girls can now hire outfits for major events throughout the party season.
Twenty-two-year-old Hannah Robson-Thoo is the owner of the popular clothes-hiring site Raid My Rack, which gives girls around Australia access to new season designs for a fraction of the price.
“Designer dresses these days are becoming increasingly expensive as years go by. Everybody wants to wear the newest and latest so hiring gives girls the opportunity to wear these items they couldn’t afford otherwise.” Hannah said,
Speeches are another problem altogether; you have to think very carefully about who to bestow the honour of giving a speech upon. Every aspect of the night could have been fantastic, including the food, drinks and venue, but if the speeches are too personal, too vulgar or too boring, it can really sour the mood.
No doubt you love your best friend, but if they’re not going to entertain the crowd, are they even worth inviting?
Hopefully, your 10+ years of friendship together is enough for them to find something amusing—if not embarrassing.
Everyone remembers being at 21sts where you had to awkwardly watch the host’s grandparents cringe while a few eventful nights out were described in full detail.
Honestly, no one wants to be there for that.
Despite its flaws, the 21st season needs to be truly embraced and celebrated to the full.
Soon you could be like me, months away from turning 22 with no milestone party in sight.
The next event on the horizon—if not the ‘Dirty Thirty’—could be a wedding or, God forbid, your friend’s baby shower.
And honestly, no one wants to be there for that either.