Interview with Jasmine Sparreboom, the Functions Manager at The Normanby Hotel. With over 5 years of experience coordinating events at The Normanby and other pubs, she knows plenty about organising birthday parties, including 21sts. Here are some tips to make your event one to remember.
If you’d like more information about holding a 21st birthday party at The Normanby Hotel, email us or call (07) 3831 3353 and our events team will help you out. Or send us an enquiry using our event form (scroll to bottom).
For more information on Functions at The Normanby, download our Functions Package and Menu.
What’s your experience at organising 21st birthday parties?
I’ve been working as an event coordinator at The Normanby and other pubs in Brisbane, for over 5 years. I think I’ve organised about 1000 events so far, many of them being 21st birthday parties.
What do you think someone should do to make their 21st birthday party special?
A good event to me is one where the space has been decorated nicely. Our spaces are really easy to decorate. They have a historical feel with heritage touches that lend themselves to colourful decorations.
Which space at The Normanby Hotel is the best for a 21st birthday party?
For a 21st birthday party the Public Bar and Lounge bar are our most popular. They are our biggest spaces. The Public Bar can accommodate up to 120 guests. The Lounge Bar can have up to 100 guests comfortably. If you want a smaller space, I recommend the Valentine Room (50 guests) or the Cabana deck if you want it outside (60 guests). And we also have the Garden Bar for a smaller outdoor space (40 guests).
For information about all our spaces, download our functions package.
What are some ideas to make a 21st birthday party more fun and memorable?
- Photo booths – we recommend Steve from Photo Illustrated
- Powerpoint slide show of past photos playing in the background. We have plenty of TV’s to use for displaying your photos.
- Decorations – balloons, fairy lights, candles (yes we allow candles), big light up numbers (hire these), balloon garlands. We don’t really like glitter for the obvious clean up reason….
What can The Normanby Hotel help organise?
We organise your food and beverage of course. But can also organise photo booth. Just ask us and we’ll try help out where we can.
What food is the best for a 21st birthday party?
Nibbles like sliders (our #1 choice!), pizzas, mini meat pies and sausage rolls, mini quiches, chicken skewers work really well. Small bite sized pieces that are easy to handle with a drink in your hand. We do have vegetarian options too like our deep fried delight – samosas, vegetarian spring rolls.
Check out our platters menu for all the delicious choices.
When should I schedule for the food to arrive?
You can choose when you want the food to arrive and how much. From experience, people tend to order it in two stages. Bring in the starters or entrees half an hour from the start, and the more substantial items, like pizza, an hour from the start.
What items on your menu are your recommendations?
For starters I recommend the Bread & Dips, Antipasto or cheese platters.
For heartier food, I recommend sliders, pizzas, chicken skewers and the Asian and vegetarian platters.
An inside tip, everyone loves a mini burger so definitely have a bunch of sliders. We have these options – cheeseburger, pulled pork, chicken and slaw and vegetarian.
Do you have gf and vegetarian options?
We have gf pizza bases and gf slider buns. And we have a full vegetarian platter with Arancini Balls, Samosas, Spring Rolls and Wontons.
We list our gf and vegetarian options on our menu.
How much food should I order per person?
Each platter feeds 6-8 people which is roughly 2-3 pieces each.
Should I do a bar tab or drinks package?
For a 21st, I recommend a drinks package. That way you have a set amount of time and you know how much you are spending. And with a cut off on drinks, it tends to keep things more controlled in that more chaotic drinking environment….
How does the music work for my party?
You can create your own spotify playlist. We have the sound system to easily hook that up. Make it at least 4 hours long. We can also shuffle a party playlist for you if you don’t want to create your own. From my experience, make your playlist a mix of old and new. The Downunder Remix is always a party pleaser. Celebrate always goes down well, and is in tune with the evening. And end the night on Daryl Braithwaite’s, The Horses. Yes it still gets everyone on the dance floor that one last time.
You are welcome to book your own DJ but they would need to bring their own equipment.
What about dancing? Can I have a dance floor?
We don’t have a physical dance floor but any piece of floor can become a dance floor…
If you want something closer to a dance floor, then reserve the Public Bar because its the biggest space to show off your dance moves.
What time should it start and end? How long is the typical 21st birthday party function?
Start time from 6pm is always best. And we close at midnight, but happy to keep things going longer if there is a want to do so… Most 21st’s wrap up at midnight though.
Can I order a cake from you? Or bring in my own cake?
We don’t supply the cake but we can provide the napkins, plates, utensils. We can store it in our industrial sized fridges until ready to serve which is normally about 3 hours into the party.
Can I decorate the room?
Absolutely but depends on which room you book.
The Public bar is open to the public when it’s not booked out. You are welcome to come in and decorate as long as you are considerate of the guests.
For all other rooms, you can come in any time of the day to decorate and prepare.
What information do you need from me to help plan the party?
- Timing especially arrival time
- Number of guests
- Bar tab or drinks package
- Which food platters
- What time you want to come and decorate
And let me know who the birthday is for so we can put up signage around the venue to help direct people.
When should I book?
If your birthday is in the first 6 months of the year, book at least 2 months out.
If it’s the second 6 months, especially closer to the end of the year, book at least 4 months out to secure your date. We get very busy with functions as the end of the year approaches…
What is the set up for speeches?
We have a wireless microphone and AV system for speeches. Let us know and we will set it up and show you how to use them.
Should I have it on a Friday or Saturday night?
Saturday’s are more popular because it’s not a work day for many. For a 21st most people like to get a bit more dressed up so having more time on a Saturday works better.
Do you have any seating for guests?
We have lower couches scattered around our function spaces so there is always somewhere people can sit and relax.
What is your security?
To keep everyone safe and having a good time, we have a house policy that requires security for every 21st birthday. We’ll talk about this when you are booking your fun and safe event.
I have some more questions.
Please email us or call (07) 3831 3353. Or send us an enquiry with our event form below.
We love holding milestone events at The Normanby Hotel. A 21st birthday is definitely ones of these moments. We will do everything we can to make your event a fun and memorable one.