Is your loved one about to celebrity a 40th birthday and you've been put in charge of the party? Here are some 40th birthday party ideas to make sure this milestone day is a memorable one.
GIVE SUFFICIENT NOTICE
Send out 40th birthday invites a minimum 1 month in advance so friends and relatives can put it into their diary. At least one week before the actual party date, send out a reminder and chase up all the outstanding RSVPs.
WHAT'S THE BEST 40th BIRTHDAY PARTY INVITATION?
You want both email (email, not evite, not facebook...make it email) and an actual 40th birthday party invitation card. It does not have to be fancy, but make it handwritten inside so people understand the value and importance of this date for both you and the soon-to-be forty year old.
HOW MANY PEOPLE SHOULD I INVITE TO THE PARTY?
Don't feel you need to invite everyone they have ever met in their lives. In fact, a smaller gathering can be a lot more memorable and enjoyable for all. About 40-60 people is a good number. If you are having a dinner party, then around 20 is intimate enough for everyone to take part in a single conversation but also split out into smaller groups of conversations as well. If you feel guilty about leaving someone out, you can have separate smaller celebrations. For example, a casual lunch for colleagues or drinks after work, and dinner party for the closest friends and a drinks party for the larger crowd.
Invite people you think would have a good time and who mixed pretty well. And, of course, the guest of honor should actually enjoy the company of these people. It's the conversations, people and stories you have at a party that really makes the difference, more so than the food, drink, theme, presents..you name it.
THEME OR NO THEME?
Think about the 40th year old and want he or she would want. Are they the type who would enjoy a dress up? A theme does add a talking point, humor and sense of anticipation.
40th BIRTHDAY PARTY THEME IDEAS
- The year of their birth
- Hawaiian / Luau
- Costumes of the world
- Superheroes and supervillains
- Color e.g. silver and black, black, red and gold, white, loud and proud
- Popstars and pop princesses
- Oscars night
- The Godfather
- Arabian nights
- Ancient Rome / Ancient Greece
- Formal attire: black tie
- Knights and Damsels in Distress
- Country and western
- Even some weird mixes such as Madonna, Gaga and Britney
Obviously, it would be great if you could tie in a theme that has meaning for your guest of honor. Did they honeymoon in any particular place? Is there a dream job they have always wanted? Were they born in a different country?
Or if you don't want to go the whole way, you can have a loose theme throughout the evening:
- All the food and wine is from South America
- Italian food
- Texas BBQ
But avoid being too gimmicky with the food. I once went to a party on a Medievel theme with roasted suckling pig, pheasant etc, but the chef clearly did not know how to prepare this kind of food and it was, quite frankly, pretty disgusting.
KEEP THE 40th BIRTHDAY THEME IDEA RUNNING THROUGHOUT
- If you do pick a theme, try to maintain it throughout the evening in the details from the initial 40th birthday party invitation, to the outfit of the wait staff and greeters, to the decorations all around including the dishes and tables themselves. You might even mix up a themed cocktail
40th BIRTHDAY PARTY TIPS
- Have greeters at the door to put a refreshing drink the hand of people the moment they enter (well, after taking their coats). If you can't think of a suitable cocktail, chilled champagne and a non-alcoholic option such as fruit punch is always a safe choice. Do NOT overdo the alcohol content at the beginning. You want the evening to last a decent length of time...without drunken relatives stumbling around and making fools of themselves within the first 30 minutes!
YOU DON'T HAVE TO MAKE BIRTHDAY BOY/GIRL THE CENTER OF ATTENTION ALL NIGHT
- Let the birthday boy / girl relax and enjoy themselves. Don't feel they have to be the center of attention all through the evening.
GET A CATERER
- Don't stress out in the kitchen, get a party caterer instead and hire wait staff to assist.
GET THE NUMBER OF A LOCAL TAXI COMPANY
Make sure you have the number of a local cab company so that everyone can get home safely.
DON'T TELL ANYONE IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG
If they are any problems e.g. a special dish was burnt, or you ran out of red wine, don't mention it to anyone. Act as if every thing is going to plan and you have hosting the perfect 40th birthday party just the way it was meant to be! No one likes a stressed-out, apologetic party host.