The Ultimate Guide to Planning Your Milestone Birthday Celebration (even if it's a year late!)
Updated: May 26, 2022
After two long years of spoiled birthday plans, people are keener than ever to share their special birthdays surrounded their loved ones, creating memories we've been denied for too long.
Whether you are planning a 1st Birthday, an 18th or 21st, or celebrating the big 30th, 40th, 50th or 60th (or more!) this guide gives you the top things to consider ensuring your party will be a huge success.
31 is the new 30!
Just because COVID happened to hit the year of your big birthday, doesn't mean you have to miss out on your special day.
Don't feel silly inviting people to a 32nd or 41st birthday party. Embrace the fact you missed out and use it as an excuse to get all your favourite people together. People want to help you celebrate, now more than ever.
Do you want an intimate dinner party at home or a big blow out party at a venue? It's important to know what you want and who you want there before you get bogged down in the detail.
Venues are exceptionally busy this year with people catching up on celebrations so if you are thinking of booking somewhere make sure you check availability and get it booked in as early as possible.
The size and style of your celebration will obviously dictate what decor you will need. If you are choosing a smaller dinner party or afternoon tea setting you may want to focus on the smaller details such as place cards, menu cards, maybe a small gift for each place setting etc.
For larger parties, note the number of tables in the room and consider what centre pieces you would like; flowers/balloons/something relating to your theme (if you're having one). For large rooms something with height adds great impact, this is why the 3-balloon cluster is always a popular choice. Also consider if you want to make a feature of the entrance or create a photo wall etc. Ask your venue what other people have done in the space. They may give you ideas that you would never have considered.
Make sure you clearly set your guests expectations up front. Don't feel like you must serve food, but if you decide not to, make sure that is clear on your invitations.
If you are planning to serve a sit-down meal, make sure you ask for any dietary requirements ahead of time so you can share with a caterer (if you're having one), or plan out your menu if you are doing it yourself.
Don't forget the cake! I'm fairly certain there is no better excuse for cake than a birthday. Whether you are having a large party or at-home celebration, an incredibly designed cake can make the best focal piece. Ask around your friends and family for local suppliers they have used, have a look on their websites and speak to someone who's style speaks to you. Most cake designers have an amazing way of creating the perfect piece specifically to suit your special day.
And don't forget it can double up as dessert. It saves the hassle of planning another course. If you don't want to serve it for dessert, don't forget to hand it out as guests leave so you don't end up with 40 servings of cake to eat. (But make sure you save at least two for you!)
If you're planning your own party this bit might not be totally relevant to you. Although, there is nothing wrong with (in fact I'd actively encourage) a little nudge to loved one of thing that have caught your eye. I'm sure they'd be grateful for the guidance too.
For me, I think for a milestone birthday it's always nice to have something personal to the birthday boy or girl. Whether this is something sentimental to them, a keepsake or a thoughtful memory, these gifts are often the ones they will treasure for years to come.
The Added Extras
Think about what adds your personality into your special day.
How about having your favourite band or creating a playlist for background music?
Have fun with a photo booth to capture some of the memories of the night.
Do you want to add in a sweet/cocktail station? Guests love added interactive elements like these.
A games area or activity cards on the tables.
Whatever you choose, make sure it is something that makes you smile.
Still wanting some more inspiration? I've put together our Pinterest board for more ideas:
Top tips when planning a party
1. Do it your way! You're not there to please your guests. While it's important to be considerate of their needs, ultimately, they are there to celebrate you. They will love to see your personality running through the party and make it even more special and memorable. 2. Allow enough time. This will both save your sanity in the planning process and also allow you to get the date in your guests' diary before they book up with other plans.
What are you planning?
Is it something you'd add to your wedding day or like to see more at others? Let us know your thoughts and any other themes/tips you'd like us to cover in the future.