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5 Tips for Planning a 50th Birthday Party

Birthday parties aren’t just for kids! Celebrate an adult’s milestone birthday with a great party where family and friends can come together to wish the guest of honor health and happiness. When planning a 50th birthday party, keep these five tips in mind for a fun event.

Guest List

The guest list may dictate the party’s theme, venue and overall style. If it’s a surprise party, work with the birthday person’s spouse or significant other in order to include everyone that he or she would want to invite for the special day. For a party that is not a surprise, have the birthday person help with the guest list.

Questions to think about regarding the guest list include:

  • Small and intimate with a few close friends?
  • Adults only?
  • Ladies or gents only?
  • Just family?
  • Coworkers, friends, neighbors, family and pretty much everyone the guest of honor knows?

If hosting a large 50th birthday party, be sure to set a budget and consider co-hosting with a friend or family member.

Funny, Causal, or Elegant

While some people enjoy the idea of celebrating a milestone birthday, they don’t like the over-the-hill or old fogey themed parties. Know what the guest of honor prefers before selecting a theme: funny, casual or elegant. For those who love to laugh at themselves and their age, a fun-filled Ole Fogey theme may be just the ticket.

A casual 50th birthday party may be as simple as a backyard barbecue, Sunday brunch at a favorite restaurant or an adults only game night. Elegant options include a formal dinner at an upscale restaurant, a Wine & Dessert party and a cocktail party with mini-bites buffet.

Theme and Décor

The guest list, budget and style of party will influence your choice of theme and décor. For an Ole Fogey theme, consider a party pack that features a classic wood grain pattern accented with a fun moonshine-style label on the plates and napkins. The party pack has everything you need, from tableware to streamers, balloons and a personalized banner. Fun themes for a 50th birthday party also include:

  • Casino night
  • Carnival
  • Mardi Gras
  • One Night in Paris
  • Western
  • Hollywood Style
  • Luau
  • Retro
  • 1950s (for a new 50 year old)

Coordinate all décor to match the theme. For a One Night in Paris party feature a Parisian standee as a photo prop for the guests to help create pictures for an album of memories. Have flower leis for each of your guests for a luau party, or bandanas for a western theme.

Food and Drink

Coordinate the food and drink with the theme. Great food ideas for a luau include grilled shrimp and pineapple kabobs and any drinks served in festive coconut cups. An elegant cocktail party to celebrate a 50th birthday must have a signature drink for the guest of honor. It doesn’t have to be a new drink, it can be an exotic recipe that she’s never ordered but contains her favorite alcohol and flavors. Another option is to personalize the bar with customized wine bottle labels designed just for the 50th birthday bash.

Invitation Etiquette

People have busy schedules, so it’s essential to send out the party invitations early. On average, it’s best to send invites four to six weeks before the party date. Request an R.S.V.P. date of two weeks before the party and give guests more than one way to respond: by phone, email or even social media. If the guest of honor has requested no gifts, include this on the invitation.