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Ideas for Celebrating a Milestone Birthday

Updated on August 21, 2013

Planning and Throwing a Milestone Birthday Party

Life should be celebrated every chance we get! And what better opportunity than with a milestone birthday? You know.... when you turn 21, 30, 40, 50 and beyond?

If you have a friend or loved one that is coming up on a big number this year, time to start planning the birthday party festivities!

When its time to plan a birthday party, here's some great ideas to make the big one really special. From birthday party theme ideas to party planning tips, we'll walk you through a milestone birthday celebration from planning to successful finish!

You'll need to consider date, location, theme, food and drink and whether the birthday boy or girl will be showered with gifts!

Let's get out that calendar and start planning to celebrate a milestone birthday!

Planning a milestone birthday party?
Planning a milestone birthday party?

What Type of Birthday Party Are You Planning?

First, you have to decide whether it will be a surprise, or not. Surprise parties are very popular, but sometimes they do not go over well. Think about the person celebrating their birthday, and whether they will truly appreciate walking into a room full of people unexpectedly. The party event should be planned with the guest of honor and his or her tastes in mind, not what you personally think would be really hilarious! There is always room for some light teasing, but you do want the birthday boy or girl to enjoy themselves!

Once you decide whether it will be a surprise affair, you need to pick a date. This is because, with a surprise party, you may not want to have it directly on the birth date (that would be too obvious). With a non-surprise party, you can celebrate on, or closer to the actual birthday. Look at the calendar and think about potential conflicts (i.e., holidays, high vacation times, etc.). You may even want to call a few of the most important guests that you'll want to have at the party before firming up the date.

Memorable Milestone Birthdays

Where Will the Milestone Birthday Party Be?

Now comes the fun part! The location!! Actually, this is kind of a chicken and egg question that goes hand-in-hand with the decision on the theme of the party. Let's say you want to have a luau. Maybe it would be great to see if your cousin would be willing to host the party on the pool side deck in her backyard!

On the other hand, maybe everyone is going to come dressed in black, as if going to a funeral. Pull the shades, drape dark tablecloths, light some candles, and get some great Halloween decorations. You can have the party inside, either at your house, or perhaps at a rented hall (VFW Hall, etc.)

One of my friend's parents celebrated turning 60 in style in the middle of football season at a souped up tailgate party. Everyone wore the team colors and the RV was decked out in purple and gold! It was a riot!

Big Numbers for Big Birthdays!
Big Numbers for Big Birthdays!

Invitations and Food for a Milestone Birthday Party

Invitations? A lot of people like to do the baby photo thing, especially as the years pass! It can be quite cute for ages 40, 50 and 60. Probably gets a little old after that, though. Handmade invitations with cardstock and stamps are a nice touch. You can get craft supplies at major stores such as Michaels, or at boutique craft stores, or independent suppliers.

Let them eat cake... and drink wine.... and consume plenty of hors d'oeurves! When you're hosting a party, this will likely be the biggest part of your budget. Definitely ask your guests to RSVP in plenty of time for you to do your shopping (or to let your caterer know how many to expect).

Food and drink should match the theme of your birthday party - if you have one. Consider the age and lifestyle of the guests that will be attending, and try to overshop. Its always better to have leftovers than not enough! Another thing to keep in mind if you are serving alcohol is potential host liability. Be sure to have non-alcoholic beverages, as well, and call a cab if a guest seems too impaired to drive.

Gifts and Other Ways to Celebrate a Milestone Birthday

Gifts or not? Generally, it is best to instruct your guests on the invitation that gifts are not expected. This can be done with a simple asterisk and "no gifts" at the bottom of the invite. After all, the fun is in the getting together. For my husband's 40th birthday, I wrote, "No gifts, unless they are very funny."

How else will you make the day special? There are a number of ideas that you can incorporate into a milestone birthday party. One is to make a photograph collage of pictures spanning the person's entire lifetime and put it up on display.

Another concept that I heard from a friend was that her husband looked up old phone numbers of people that she had not seen since elementary school and surprised her by having them come to her party! One of my male colleagues shared with me about how his wife bought him a very expensive golf driver (that they really could not afford at all) and presented it to him at the party in front of his friends - he started crying!!

Perhaps my favorite story of all is when my best friend's mom celebrated her 60th birthday and, at the end of the party, a limo pulled up to take her and her husband to the airport..... they were going to Europe!! My friend and her sister had snuck into the bedrooom and secretly packed her bags! How cool is that?!

Oh, and p.s. A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age. ~Robert Frost


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    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Hi Michelle, excellent point! I love the age I am (and the "wisdom" that comes with it). LOL :) Hope you have a wonderful year!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      I think I'm running behind you Steph. I just turned 37 this year LOL well life is beautiful in its different stages, let's focus on that. LOL

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Thanks Angela.... I have a milestone birthday coming up this year. And its not 29... or 30. *sigh*

    • Angela Harris profile image

      Angela Harris 

      10 years ago from Around the USA

      Steph, I can relate to so many of the "You know you are getting old whens", unfortunately. This was a real fun Hub and you left no stone unturned. I think I want to skip my next milestone birthday, though. I tried to be 29 for a few years, but that just could not last forever, and was many, many years ago.

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Marlo! LOL .... this is one that I've had an idea about for some time! Thanks for reading :-)

    • MarloByDesign profile image


      10 years ago from United States

      Wow, you are still publishing hubs after the HubLove contest! I guess there is no rest for you, lol...

    • stephhicks68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Stephanie Hicks 

      10 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Black, huh? Well, I hope you get a great party when its time! :-)

    • monitor profile image


      10 years ago from The world.

      I still have a way to go but I hope my family reads this. My hair was black.

      Thanks. Mon.


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