Milestone Birthday Celebrations
(30th, 40th, 50th and more)
Milestone Birthdays are cause for special "create memories" parties -- they only happen once in each person's life, whether it is their 30th or 90th birthday. A few easy ideas can turn this special birthday party into a memorable celebration for both the honoree and the guests!
30, 40, 50, and beyond... A birthday celebration at any of these milestone ages is essential. The celebrant may not feel as young as he/she used to and will welcome a celebration. A great theme for any adult birthday party is "Good Old Days" celebration, where memorabilia from childhood through adulthood is incorporated throughout the entire party. Surprise parties are always an option, as they may not be expected at this age and bring the most fun to everyone. Whatever you decide upon, it's bound to turn an age-old event into a celebration of a lifetime.
Quick Tips - Party Time
The time set for the party tells the guests what to expect, for example: 5:00pm - indicates food will be served, it's dinner time and 2:00pm - is in between lunch and dinner, so food is not expected.
State clearly what guests should expect, for example:
Open House - "Please drop by between the hours of 2:00pm to 4:00pm"
Cocktail Party - "Join us for drinks and snacks from 5:00pm to 7:00pm"
Potluck - "Please bring your favorite dish for dinner at 6:00pm"
Surprise Party - "Park your car a block away and help surprise Marty with a buffet celebration"
Contact old high school friends, college roommates, co-workers, friends from old neighborhoods, etc., and let them in on the celebration (or surprise).
Party Theme Ideas
(details of each theme can be found later in this article)
- Medieval Celebration
- Golden Oldies
- Let The Countdown Begin
- Memories of the Way We Were
- Food For Thought
- Other Tips & Ideas
- Secret Mission Impossible (surprise party)
Camera - Have a camera ready for those "spur of the moment" shots that will not only create lasting memories but can later be used at upcoming milestone birthday parties in scrapbooks, photo albums, or even invitations. Consider handing out disposable cameras as party favors and let the guests do their own picture taking. Ask a couple of people to help take photos… this is an event to remember!
Invitations - Make your own or purchase ready-made invitations that match your theme - add a photo of the birthday person when they were a baby. Your guests will enjoy the personal touch!
Use old childhood pictures or newspaper headlines, photocopied in color, saying "Look who's turning...". For example, "Nifty, Nifty, Look whose Fifty". Inform guests of the attire, special dress or costumes needed (if applicable) and what kind of gifts, if any, would be welcome.
Gifts - To Bring or Not To Bring, that is the question to be decided and added to the invitations.
Ask everyone bring at least one small gag gift - will create enjoyment/entertainment for the guests and even some embarrassment to the guest of honor. (Keep this in mind when deciding on whether or not to invite children.)
Ask guests to bring gifts in quantities such as thirty coins, fifty pens, etc.
Ask everyone to chip in a certain amount for one big present
Donate money to the celebrant's favorite charity.
Wrap gifts for the celebrant more than once - they'll think they're losing their mind.
Decorations - General decorating ideas -- 30 balloons, 40 streamers, 50 candles, etc.
This theme is great for people that were teenagers in the 1950's… or wished they had been - it is not only simple, but easy to arrange, decorate and organize. Send invitations out shaped in the old black 45 record styles, with "Side One" listing the information and "Side 2" listing the directions to the party. Decorate with jukebox style decorations, 45 records, photos of poodle skirts, hula hoops, hot rods. Games can include Bazooka Bubble Blowing Contest, Hula Hoop and Limbo contests, dancing to the Twist and doing the Stroll.
Let the Countdown Begin
Let's pretend we are planning a "50 days until 50" party (these ideas can be adapted to a "30 Days Until 30" party, any milestone birthday). Set up a calendar for the birthday person reminding them how many days are left before the Big 5-0. Mark certain days with sarcastic sayings, funny quotes about aging, or words of wisdom. Mail the invitations/announcements out 50 days ahead of time and use a calendar as the invitation (easy to make on computers). Let the guests know who's turning 50 (or any other milestone age) and the date. Be sure to follow up with a "25 days left" announcement so the guests won't forget. Ask everyone to mail in an idea when they RSVP.
Create a list of the 50 signs you know the celebrant is getting older, such as:
"Age is a number, old is in your head"
"Age isn't important unless you are cheese"
"Age does not determine who's right, it only determines who's left"
"You're still on the right side of the grass"
"You've seen it all, heard it all, done it all, you just can't remember it all"
"At your age, you've got achy, breaky everything"
"You know you are getting old when you remember when Queen Elizabeth was a Princess"
My personal favorites:
"Forty is the old age of youth; fifty is the youth of old age" - Victor Hugo
"Growing old is mandatory… growing up is optional!"
The day of the party, hang the 50 days calendar up for everyone to see. Use a variety of colors of balloons and streamers for simple decorations, decorate according to the season or the celebrants' hobbies. Create a festive atmosphere rather than the 'Over the Hill' theme that is, in my opinion, a depressing reminder.
Computer-generated invitations are easy and inexpensive. There are lots of graphics are available on the Internet for designs, such as -- a castle, a moat, knight in armor, ladies in waiting, etc. Ask the guests to come in costume. Ask the male guest of honor to dress as the Knight in Shining Armor or the female guest of honor to dress as a Lady In Waiting for the party. Decorate the area with paper swords, shields, castle backgrounds, gold, and black tableware, streamers and balloons. No silverware… wasn't invented we are told until the 17th Century in France -- serve finger foods. Set the table with plastic goblets for serving drinks and serve red wine (or cranberry juice) for the toast. Lace doilies, elaborate settings, and plenty of candles will give the room the dramatic effect you're looking for. A very creative and attention-getting cake for this party is a three-dimension pig.
Created by Belinda Motley
To Learn More About Belinda!
Memories of the Way We Were
…lasting mementos from the partyPin a sheet on a wall and ask all the guests to sign their names and add comments (use permanent marking pens - available at yardage shops). When the party is over, it can be used as a tablecover year after year on every birthday!
Ask each of the guests to bring photos of themselves with the birthday person from years ago. For instance, if the person is celebrating their 60th Birthday, ask guests bring a photo of themselves when they were together in college, or were co-workers, etc. Makes for great memories and lots of talking over of old times.
A "Gentle" Roast and/or Memory Book -- ask everyone to write down something about the birthday person. Sample questions can include:
The most embarrassing moment with Jane was _________.
What I remember most about Bob is ______________.
A wonderful Jackie did for me is ___________________________.
The funniest moment
The most romantic moment
Something the birthday celebrant did to change my life
Etc. etc. etc.
"Through the Years" Video or Collage - Collect old pictures from family and guests to and either create a collage or have the pictures transferred onto a video tape (easily done at local video/camera shops). Don't forget the music - a perfect addition to the clips, or play favorite "oldies" at the party while watching the video. (Tip: Transferring pictures to video takes a few weeks - make sure you allow enough time.)
Memory Scrapbook -- Use pictures to create a memorable scrapbook as a gift to the birthday person. If possible, ask guests to mail in their favorite picture of the guest of honor when they R.S.V.P. (Leftover pictures can be used to decorate the party room).
If you're having the party in your home or at a restaurant, buffet style is the easiest way to serve food. If you are catering the meal, buffets are often less expensive than a formal sit-down affair. Serve large trays of food that can be prepared ahead of time for at home parties (Italian dishes, prepared meats, salads, etc). If a very informal party, have pizza delivered!
Snacks are important to provide for guests to munch on until dinner is served. Suggestions are Chips and Dips/Salsa, cheese and fruit platters, cold cut platters, buffalo wings, vegetables and dip. Even if you've never thrown a surprise or adult birthday party for someone before, ask around for suggestions and ideas.
Think back to parties you enjoyed and remember what foods were served. Check out the menu and recipe ideas below.
Menu & Recipe Ideas
Recipes and Photos courtesy of NESTLÈ® USA and www.VeryBestBaking.com
Pasta with Spinach, Beans and Cheese recipe
Chef Salad Italiano recipe
Marinated Mushroom Caps recipe
Easy Cheesy Fondue recipe
Grilled Mixed Vegetables recipe
Spinach Orange Roughy recipe
Beverage Idea - Strawberry Lemon Spritzer recipe
Recipe courtesy of NESTLÈ® USA and www.VeryBestBaking.com
A cake is a must and can be made a day ahead of time or ordered from your favorite bakery.
Recipe and Photos courtesy of NESTLÈ® USA and www.VeryBestBaking.com
Chocolate Angel Food Cake recipe
Pumpkin Orange Poppy Seed Cake recipe
Chocolate Raspberry Trifle recipe
GAMES and ACTIVITIES
Usually guests are happy circulating, talking, eating and drinking. Simple games are the most fun, try these:
Guest of Honor Bingo -- Create blank Bingo Cards and personalizes the spaces. Examples can include date of birth, name of spouse, name of each of his/her children, college attended, where he/she worked, hobbies, sports, favorites, etc.
Ice Breaker Games Click Here
Special birthdays need a little reminding
every now and again,
and believe it or not,
most people love when others remember their birthday.