How to Throw a Hot 17th Birthday Party

by Don Kress
Teen birthday parties don't always have to be expensive to be fun.

Teen birthday parties don't always have to be expensive to be fun.

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A hot 17th birthday party can have some of the traditional decorations and adornments of a birthday party, but truly making a 17th birthday party "hot" means providing good food, friends and an atmosphere that is trendy and engaging and that might include dancing and age-appropriate party games. While you might be a bit confused as to what is popular at any given moment in your teen's life, there is an indispensable asset that you should use to navigate your way through what's hot and what's not. That asset is your teen's friends.

Items you will need

  • Party decorations
  • Cake
  • Food
  • DJ
  • List of friends or attendants
Step 1

Contact the best friend of the teen who is having a birthday to determine not only who should be invited to the party, but also the theme of the party. What you think your teen likes may not necessarily be the case.

Step 2

Purchase decorations based on the theme of the party, using the suggestions put forth by the friend you contacted. At 17, you can count on all of your ideas being "terrible" and "completely ruining their life," so using the suggestions given to you by the teen's friend will help change those ideas into a rousing chorus of "not bad." Solid color balloons and tablecloths that coordinate with a color scheme for the party are good starting points. Avoid using bright, neon colors where possible as these sorts of colors may be seen as "childish." Instead, focus on the kinds of colors that you might choose to decorate for a celebrity's birthday party.

Step 3

Prepare the meal plan for the party, incorporating several of the teen's favorite foods as well as a birthday cake, if appropriate. Plan to either prepare the food yourself or have the event catered, if necessary. Making the food trendy is easy. You can serve the meal in a Tapas where several courses of small foods are served rather than a single paper plate stuffed with food or other popular restaurant style. For an extra-trendy touch, crumble the baked cake into martini glasses for the guests and decorate each one individually with icing that matches the color theme of the party. Prepare the food for the party ahead of time. Position yourself nearby when the party is happening, but allow your teen's friend to host the festivity. Clearly let them the guests what time you expect the party to end, as well as the rules you expect to be followed. Situate yourself in an inconspicuous place where you can watch over the party as a chaperone but still avoid being seen as a vulture hovering over the party.

Step 4

Send out simple invitations to the recommended guest list obtained from your teen's friend. This will ensure that the "right people" show up and the "wrong people" don't. The invitations should be mailed out no less than one month prior to the party and no more than three months prior. This will prevent forgetfulness as well as loose lips if the party is to be a surprise party. To pique the interest of the attendants, make the invitations a single color with simple, elegant wording. Keeping it elegant will add the sophistication that will contribute to making it a hot party.

Step 5

Arrange for music at the party based again on the suggestions put forth by your teen's friend. It may be helpful to ask another friend to act as the DJ of the party, giving them freedom to choose the most popular music at the time. This will ensure that the music being played weaves into the theme of the party and really gets the crowd going.

Tips & Warnings

  • Lock the doors of rooms that you don't want your teen's guests to have access to, such as bedrooms or your office. This will help prevent unwanted "encounters" during the party.
  • Do not serve alcohol to the minors at your teen's party. This could result in your being charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor, as well as other charges. If you find that alcohol is being consumed at the party, immediately contact the parents of the teen who has broken the alcohol rule and have them come to pick them up. Do not allow any teen who has consumed alcohol to drive home by themselves.


  • "Parties that Wow: Setting the Stage for Creative Entertaining"; Johathan Fong; 2007
  • "Party Like a Rock Star: A Celebrity Party Planner's Tips and Tricks for Throwing an Unforgettable Bash"; Jes Gordon; 2009
  • "The Party Planner"; David Tutera; 2005

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images