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7 things you need to know about throwing an important birthday party
Shiny golden balloons.
Celebrating another trip around the sun should always be a memorable occasion. But as the years go by, people tend to treat their birthday like any other day. However, when it comes to important birthdays, there is no excuse. No dream a little bigger and be surrounded by family, friends and loved ones.
Important birthdays are what you do them. There is no right or wrong way to celebrate, and no celebration is too small. Important birthdays usually include when you turn 1, 15 or 16, 18, 21, 30, 40, 50, etc. They also vary by culture. Countries like Mexico celebrate when someone turns 3 years old, it is called “presentación de tres años” or “presentación de tres años”. Turning 15 in many Latin American countries is also an important year marked with a “quinceañera”. Birthdays 1, 10, 60, 70 and 80 are special in China. Turning 60, in particular, is considered a milestone. At that moment, the celebrant has completed the full 60-year cycle based on Chinese astrology (composed of 12 signs, each with five natural elements) and embark on a new one.
Wherever you find yourself, and however you choose to celebrate, one thing is for sure: Important birthdays are a special occasion, marking a shift to the next stage of your life. According to a 2022 YouGov poll that polled 1,000 Americans asking how they felt about their birthdays and how they spent them, half of those surveyed spent time with their family almost every year. Four out of 10 had a special meal. One in 5 organized a party or gathering. And 1 in 10 celebrates it with a trip.
Big birthdays can come with pressure and planning (and money), but it doesn’t have to be a hassle. giggster compiled seven tips for throwing the most memorable birthday celebration, using tips and tricks from around the web.
set an intention
The friends gathered around a birthday cake with lit candles.
Before you send out invitations, set an intention for your special day. According to the YouGov survey, almost every year, 54% of people spend their birthday thanking God for being alive, and 38% spend the day reflecting on life. When asked how they usually feel on their birthday, 48% said they felt happy, while 24% said they felt excited. Those feelings can influence and translate into your big celebration.
If you’re turning 21, you’re probably reflecting on coming of age. Facing his 30th birthday, he may be mourning the loss of his roaring 20 years ago but looking forward to a new decade. Let those feelings guide the type of celebration you plan.
Once you set your intention, you can let that influence your theme. If you’re leaving a tumultuous 20s behind you, perhaps celebrating turning 30 is a more low-key celebration to welcome in a new era. Movies can provide some inspiration. For example, turning 30 might mean celebrating “13 Going on 30” style, or a 40th birthday party might feel like a blast from the past and party like it’s the ’80s all over again.
Ultimately, your intention and theme will be your lodestar, helping you get some railings into place.
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Budget and cross off large items first
Friends drinking champagne on a boat.
It all starts with a budget. Amanda Hudes, a creative wedding and event planner, shared with AARP that once you figure out how much you’re comfortable spending:you should start with the expensive items and work your way down to the smaller, lower-priority items.
If you’re thinking of hosting something more intimate with a close group of friends (think 6-12 people), you may have more money to spend on things like food, travel, or party favors. But if you’re looking to host a lavish party that requires booking a venue, then it would be wise to spend less on more to accommodate the larger guest list.
Ultimately, remember how much you want to spend on invitations, food (including a cake or dessert), party favors, a DJ, or outsourcing any extra help if you’re considering hosting a big soiree.
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Get an idea of your VIP guests
A man blowing out the candles on his 80th birthday cake with a child by his side.
Everyone leads busy lives, whether they are parents, work, or have other personal commitments; it will be almost impossible to pick a date and place that works for everyone. To simplify that process, identify the guests who matter most to you and use their input to help shape the details of your event.
This smaller guest list can help in two ways. First of all, it will help to set the dates. Limit your birthday celebration to two or three dates that work for you. Then, before sending out your invitation, send important invitees date options to choose from, and based on their responses, figure out an ideal date. Second, if you’re out of ideas, perhaps coming up with two or three preliminary ideas for the celebration with these VIP guests can help you narrow down your options.
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Be personal, creative and detailed with the invitation
A woman holding a stamped mail card.
You have your date and location. Now is the time to send out the invitations. Send them out as soon as you know what you’re going to do, when you’re going to do it, and who you’re going to do it with. Don’t fall asleep sending out those invitations; remember, it’s a happy occasion and you want your guests to have plenty of time to plan.
Send any type of invitation you prefer, whether it’s an electronic invitation or a physical one sent by mail. Be as detailed as possible in your invitation. If you’re traveling to a different city, state, or country for your important birthday, remind guests to purchase their flight, pack their passports, and make sure they have the necessary identification and documentation.
If you plan to be outdoors at the beach or in the woods, remind your guests of the proper dress code or extra items to pack. For example, do they need to pack sunscreen? Need to pack extra shoes or a change of clothes? If you are going camping, will you need to provide your own tent or sleeping bag? Get your frequently asked questions verbatim. And most importantly, be sure to highlight the date and time in big, bold letters!
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Buy it or (even better) do it yourself: food, music and decoration
A table of buffet food with a party in the background.
If you’re hosting a party, it’s time to figure out what kind of food you’ll be serving, what music you’ll be playing, and what ambiance you’ll be looking for in terms of decor. Often a DIY approach can add that personal touch that makes celebrations memorable.
When it comes to food, if you’re hosting a party with dozens of people, you can get the most bang for your buck with a caterer that can make tacos for a couple of hours, or you can order snacks like sandwiches, sliders, mini wraps. and so on to keep the atmosphere informal.
According to Roaming Hunger, the catering service you hire will it depends on the type of event you are throwing. For small events (10 to 40 people), delivery catering can cost an average of $12 to $20 per person; buffet-style catering will run you on average $25-50 per person; catering with food or mobile catering will cost around $20-40 per person; and private chefs or custom caterers will be on the more expensive end at around $120 or more per person.
For those with guests who are more handy in the kitchen, consider a potluck and ask your guests to bring an entrée, side or dessert. Even better, your plate can have a theme based on the party, or it can be something that reminds them of you. These plates could double as conversation starters.
Hiring a DJ may be your best bet if you’re booking a venue or hosting a backyard party, but it can also use up a significant chunk of your budget. According to The Knot, the average cost of a DJ starts at $1,500. If you’re trying to save money, investing in a party speaker, either by buying it online or renting it, might be a good option.
Decorating is where you can get creative. Buy flowers in bulk, for example, and make your flower arrangements, or go to a thrift store and find unique vases or glasses to use for your birthday celebration. For even more memories, invite your guests to help you create birthday decorations like photo booth backdrops or balloon arches.
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Designate your personal paparazzi
A hand holding a disposable Kodak camera.
Save money on a professional photographer (which can cost an average of $100 to $250 per houraccording to Fash) or a videographer (which could cost $75 to $350 per hour or $700 to $2,000+ per day), and let your friends capture the best moments of the day unattended.
Provide Polaroid cameras, extra packs of film, or disposable cameras that people can use to take photos during the celebration. Or set up a shared folder where everyone can put their cell phone photos at the end of the party. Be sure to let your guests know ahead of time where to upload their photos or contribute their snaps. Looking at their photos at the end of the party is sure to give you a new perspective on your big day for years to come.
This story originally appeared on Giggster and was produced and
distributed in association with Stacker Studio.