Perfecting Party Formalities

Have you ever forgotten any formalities at your parties?

Have you ever forgotten to sing happy birthday at your birthday party? Have you ever forgotten to cut the cake? Organising formalities is a vital part of ensuring your event runs smoothly.

If the formalities are not planned, there are several things that could go wrong. The worst thing that could happen at your birthday is everyone coming together to celebrate you birthday and they forget to sing happy birthday to you! Or if time isn’t set aside for the cake, it spends the night looking amazing but doesn’t get to be eaten on the night. Without these key formality moments, you miss out on important moments and memories from your birthday, as well as the great photo opportunities from it.

From decades of doing these kind of events, we know what it takes to make formalities run efficiently and fit in best with your event. We’ve also experienced several different scenarios that aren’t ideal and can derail the flow of your event.

Forgotten Formalities

One of the scenarios that we’ve experienced before is formalities being forgotten.

At this event, the birthday girl Mackenzie didn’t want to have any formalities such as singing happy birthday or speeches. However this hadn’t been communicated to her parents, so when they realised that these hadn’t been done yet, they interrupted the party to do so. Because they hadn’t been planned, they forgot to sing happy birthday and cut the cake.

They remembered these later, and pulled the party to a stop again to do these formalities. The photographer had also nearly wrapped everything up by this point, and was about to leave before being pulled back in to capture these moments. Unfortunately this meant the flow of the party was halted, as the dance floor had already been pumping and everyone was in party mode.

This can all avoided by having a discussion with everyone involved in the planning of the party about the nature of the formalities you want, and when they should occur to best fit in with the party.

Never Ending Cake

Another story is about the time the clients forgot about the cake!

These sort of birthday cakes look incredible, and have the price tag to match. They’re more than just for show, who doesn’t want to eat cake at their birthday party?

In this scenario the formalities hadn’t been planned out, and the cake was completely forgotten about. They had to take home the cake and eat it for days on end!

This can be avoided by having a pre-organised time to do all the formalities, with all the necessary equipment ready to go.

Now That’s a Knife!

At a wedding that Diesel worked in 2020, Shanae and Lochie’s, there was a situation where everyone was ready to cut the cake and ready to go when the clients realised they had forgotten about the knife to cut the cake!

Wanting to avoid scooping their wedding cake with their hands, Diesel and the groom ran into the kitchen in search of a knife. Luckily they managed to find a HUGE bread knife to use, and were able to cut the cake with that.

“Now that’s a knife!”

This takes up time, and at an event, this means less time on the dance floor and less time enjoying yourself.

This also means that you have to spend more money making sure all the vendors stay for the extended time.

This can be prevented by making sure you have the knife, candle, lighter and microphone on hand when you announce the formalities are taking place. That way everything can continue to run smoothly and you can get on with your awesome party.

Messy Speeches

We have seen this many times, particularly at 18ths and 21st birthday parties, when the speeches go on for too long. This is mainly because they were either planned to start too late, or because they were forgotten about until later in the night.

This doesn’t work because they will always go on for too long, and usually by this point the people doing the speeches are too drunk to speak coherently and briefly. Everyone has also spent so much time being hyped up on the dance floor, so they can interrupt and make the speeches go on longer than they need to.

For example, at Leroy’s 18th birthday party the cake and speeches were done at 10:30pm. The party had already been going on for hours by this stage, and everyone was drunk and hyper from dancing. Everyone wanted to get on the mic and have a speech, yet they were all slurring and saying the wrong line because they were having too much of a good time. This ended up just interrupting the flow of the party, and took away from people having a great time on the dance floor.

This can be solved by planning to have formalities earlier, when everyone can still put together a valuable speech.

So what should happen?

So when do you think the best time to have these formalities are?

It depends on the type of event and which formalities you want to have.

It’s all about the timeline of your event. At a standard 21st (and up), the event normally starts at 7pm, which is when the birthday person and their close family and best friends will arrive. By 7:30pm most of the family members will arrive, as well as some close friends. By 8pm most of the friends have arrived, and by 8:30pm most of the latecomers have arrived.

This brings us to 9pm as the most suitable time to have formalities.

This usually includes speeches, singing happy birthday and cutting this cake. This is the perfect time because everyone should have arrived, but no one has partied too hard yet and can still participate in and enjoy these formalities.

For 18th Birthday’s and younger, while there usually aren’t as many formalities, we still recommend them take place at 9pm. This still works as a great time for brief speeches and to sing happy birthday.

As well as having the formalities commence at 9pm, the other key element to this running smoothly is having everything prepared for the formalities you are having. If you are cutting the cake, make sure you are prepared with the cake knife, lighter and candles. If you are having speeches, organise with the DJ to use their microphone. They can assist you with where to stand so that you’re not getting feedback from the speakers, and where will look best for photo opportunities.

Once formalities are done, our DJs will play your favourite party song. What better way to get everyone back on the dance floor?


We’ve seen it all before; from forgotten cakes and knives from being too drunk for speeches. Through planning and communicating the formalities for your party before hand, you can ensure your event runs smoothly. With 9pm being the best time for formalities, this ensures that everyone is present and that there is still plenty of time to get on the dance floor.

We want to pass on this information to anyone planning a party. This is because we’re party people, and we want to contribute, in any way we can, to making your party a success.

You can take the stress away from running the night by booking with Diesel Productions. We can make sure that the night runs smoothly and professionally.

You can trust us to not only provide awesome entertainment for your event, but give you the expert knowledge on how to create an event that runs smoothly. This will make sure you have an incredible night to remember forever.

Book now to reserve your date with us!

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