This doesn't explicitly limit itself to the 21st birthday party. You can theatrically use these same principals for just about any type of party you will ever need to host.
Getting The Ball Rolling
Getting people together for your child's party can be more challenging than you might imagine. The usual suspects, relatives from both sides of the family are easy, but what do you do when you don't know either. You should just have them invite them informally.
However, it is better if they do send invitations.
Send your kid to school with a notepad and ask the classmates she wants to invite for their home address and phone number and mail the invites. If they don't know their address, they almost certainly know their phone number so you can call the parent and get the information yourself.
Or use the phone book to get the phone numbers and addresses you can from there. I understand that lots of people don't have landlines, so you might not get a ton of addresses this way.
Get A Good RSVP
Add a fun question: "What song would you like us to play to get you on the dance floor?". This is a neat idea and it might encourage people to RSVP in order to get their song played.
Also, can generate some buzz, you will have everyone calling and asking the other what he/she put down, because they want/don't want to repeat what others are putting down.
I just thought this was a neat RSVP idea that I had never seen before and though you might be interested.
Food And Drinks
Much easier and neater than hard-shell tacos. Get a couple packs of tostadas, they should only be two or three bucks for a pack of like, twenty. Cook up some chicken breast with chipotle peppers, onions, and (canned) tomatoes and let it simmer in some chicken broth til it's nice and stew-y, and set it out with some refried beans, Monterey Jack, chopped lettuce, tomato, and sour cream. It's a great way to stretch a package of chicken breast and get quite a few people nice and full.
Other ingredient ideas: salsas, guacamole/avocado slices, jalapenos, onions, olives, cilantro, fresh lime.
It's an Indonesian dish. You have a bed of spinach and put turmeric rice on top (looks pretty!), and then guests can pile on steamed veggies, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, fried tofu, fried garlic, fried ginger, fried onions, chopped eggs, tomato slices, and shrimp crackers, and whatever else you can think of. You make a peanut sauce to put on top. Very filling, fun and adventurous, and super tasty.
- Brie (Bella)
- Choc Lesnar, could be anything chocolate related
- Damien Sandwiches
- Dean Ambrosia
- El Doritos
- Emmamite sandwich
- Heath Sliders
There must be more, but I'm running out of ideas and it really comes down to the type of people who will be attending the party.
Music Is A Spectrum
There's no linear spectrum of music where a single start and end point could encompass anything meaningful.
From Rock to Country could encompass Reggae but probably not... How do you give one artist and another or one genre and another that actually provides any meaningful information about what's in the middle? There are plenty of parents there who enjoyed this part and nobody doesn't like Don't Stop Believing.
Unless of course you pull an A-Z out of your ass like Ambient to Zimbabwean Tribal implying you play literally everything... which I don't.
The overall point is, you should be able to mix it up and cover a wide variety so that everyone in attendance enjoy the music.