A girl's 18th birthday trumps even her "Sweet 16" as it truly marks her entry into adulthood. Many 18-year-old girls plan to leave for college or jobs soon after their milestone birthdays, so it may also represent the last time to get together with all of her friends at once. Parents should provide a budget and have some input in the celebration, although the teen can plan the details herself (unless it's a surprise party).
Host a spa party at a local spa, or turn your home into a spa for an overnight gathering. Activities can include manicures, pedicures, massages, facials, eye brow waxing and services by make-up and hair stylists. If your budget allows, consider personalised robes and slippers as party favours, or at least for the birthday girl.
A girls' hotel night can include booking a suite for a sleepover at a nice hotel. Eat dinner at a fancy restaurant before checking in, order room service or have a pizza delivered. Watch your favourite chick flicks or rent some new ones. Many hotels have pools or spas that you can take advantage of as well.
Plan a huge bash for a co-ed party. Organise the party around a theme, such as Hollywood night or a black-and-white theme. Ask your guests to dress up, unroll a red carpet, hire photographers to act as the paparazzi and have a DJ spinning records as the entertainment. The birthday girl should arrive after everyone else has, in a limousine or fancy convertible, wearing a tiara or bright dress to stand out from the crowd. Offer "mocktails" for guests to drink (mixed fruity drinks such as popular cocktails, but without the alcohol).
Parties at the beach or lake are other co-ed ideas that can cost much less, since decorations are not a factor.
A Night Out
Gather your closest girlfriends for dinner at a nice restaurant before a limo ushers you to the hottest 18-and-up dance club in your city. If most of your friends aren't 18 yet, consider going to see your favourite performer in concert. Other outings might include a day at your favourite theme park, bowling alley or skating rink.
A small weekend getaway or vacation away from home with you and a couple of close friends can be the ultimate way to enter into adulthood. If your budget allows, consider a weekend trip to New York City or Hollywood, a short three-day Mexican or Caribbean cruise or a week (or longer) in Europe. Your mom and one of her friends can tag along to chaperon if necessary.
If you're planning on leaving soon for college, consider a family weekend camping trip or some other family tradition that you'll miss when you're away.