So, your friend or family member has a big birthday coming up — one of those milestone birthdays that ushers in a new decade and maybe even a new attitude. Milestone birthdays call for a little extra celebration; they’re often a time to reflect, but that doesn’t mean they’re not a time to party. Here are 10 tips for planning a milestone birthday party the guest of honor won’t soon forget (even if they’re over the hill now).
1. Mix Up a Signature Drink
Most milestone birthdays are after age 21, so your guest of honor will be able to throw back a signature cocktail. For a big 30th birthday, a drink celebrating the Roaring ’20s is a clever addition to the menu. Turning 50? Blend together something using 50-proof alcohol.
2. Invite Special Guests
Since life milestones often inspire gratitude and the chance to look back on past decades’ accomplishments, your guest list deserves special attention. Invite people from different stages of the guest of honor’s life. High school friends, college friends and colleagues from their former job are just a few people who might be welcome!
3. Organize a Birthday Memory Book
What’s better than a game of “This Is Your Life”? Instead of trotting people out from behind a curtain, have loved ones work together to assemble a meaningful group scrapbook. Birthday memory books filled with photos, funny stories and sentimental memories from a large group of friends and family will be cherished forever.
4. Put Your Appreciation in Writing
A milestone birthday is the perfect time to shower your loved one with affection. Put up a poster board, and let guests list things they appreciate about the birthday king or queen. Better yet, create a poster that is milestone themed. If you’re celebrating a 50th birthday for your friend Jane, create a “50 Things We Love About Jane” poster.
5. Create a Custom Playlist
Can you remember which songs were popular 40, 50 or 60 years ago? Time to refresh your memory by putting together an epic playlist for the party. You can pass out CDs of the playlist as party favors or create and share a Spotify playlist if your guests are streaming savvy.
6. Personalize the Stemware
A 30th or 75th birthday (or any milestone age, really) is the perfect time to splurge on some personalized glassware. Or, if you prefer, plastic cups. Get the name of the birthday celebrant printed on the side, along with the number of the milestone birthday, to personalize the soiree.
7. Put Their Name in the Headlines
Hey, your loved one is turning 40 — he deserves some recognition! Print up a faux newspaper with his name and birthday as the headline. You can fill the rest of the front page news with details about his life’s accomplishments thus far, or what was happening back on the day they were born.
8. Bottle Something Special
What’s that? Personalized wine glasses or drinking cups aren’t elaborate enough for your birthday party? You can also order wine bottles with a personalized sticker to commemorate your loved one’s big milestone.
9. Bring Photo Props
Everyone will be snapping away with their iPhone or Galaxy, so you may as well give them some fun ways to capture their experience at the party! Silly themed props such as mustaches, giant glasses and cutouts of the milestone year (like a big 5-0) give guests a way to unwind and take photos with the guest of honor.
10. Create a Hashtag
Want to send your party viral? Give guests a unique hashtag — such as #JulieTurns30 — and encourage your guests to use it when posting to social media. Want to go all out? Create a special Snapchat filter to use on all photos posted on the social platform from your milestone party.