Birthdays, in general, are a perfect reason for a party. Milestone parties are extra special because they mark a pivotal age in your life, which is certainly something to celebrate!

A baby’s first birthday is the perfect occasion for a smash cake party. The only entertainment you’ll need is the introduction of cake to your baby. The reaction is always memorable and adorable. Plus, you’ve got to have those epic photos for the baby book.

The year 15 is a huge milestone in many Latino households, celebrated with a quinceañera. A quinceañera is very significant as it marks the passage from girlhood to womanhood. It’s tradition for many Mexican families to go big for a daughter’s 15th birthday celebration. Complete with a fancy dress, an escort, and a special ceremony. Quiceañeras are fun to plan and even more fun to attend.

In many American homes, the sweet 16 party takes the cake. We’ve been a part of some pretty epic sweet 16 parties.

The 18th birthday is also party-worthy given that it marks the entrance to adulthood (and the right to vote), and then there’s 21 when you can drink legally and rent a car. Here’s to independence! Beyond that, every decade from 30 on is a significant milestone.

Do you want to throw a milestone party but don’t know where to start? As birthday event planners, we’re here to help get your creative juices flowing with these seven ideas:

1. Pick a Theme

For a sweet 16 celebration for a young woman, you might stick with tradition and deck your venue with pink and black and lots of candy. Sweet 16 parties are the perfect excuse to wear boas and rent out a photo booth. A 21st birthday might be booze-themed. You might take a humorous approach with a 40th or 50th birthday party by throwing an “over the hill” party complete with walking sticks, geriatric attire, and gag gifts. Choosing a theme and planning around it is often the most fun part of planning a milestone birthday party.

2. Plan Around Hobbies

If your honoree is a die-hard Harry Potter fan, the theme and entertainment may be obvious. Perhaps the guest of honor loves card games, making a game night perfect for their milestone party. If they’re known for gardening and prefer a low-key and quiet gathering, then a gardening party might be right up their alley. A spa day may be perfect for a young adult entering adulthood. A murder mystery dinner may be a creative way to fete your author friend who is turning 40.

3. Make it “Them” themed.

Many milestone birthdays, especially those of older adults, are a way to celebrate someone’s life so far. What better way to do that than make a banner filled with pictures of the birthday girl or boy? Order a cake with an edible photo image. Create a slideshow with memories from their life. Write a “this is your life” quiz about the guest of honor and see which guests can answer the most questions correctly. Provide all their favorite things, and feel free to be humorous with it if that suits their personality.

4. Throw a Progressive Dinner Party

A particular episode of Desperate Housewives comes to mind. A progressive dinner party includes stops at different homes for several meal courses. It’s a fun twist on the classic dinner party and works well if you can recruit multiple hosts who live close together. Assign each host a food course and walk from home to home to enjoy each unique dish. You’ll enjoy different meals prepared by various hands in different environments. To add an extra flair, decorate each home with a different theme.

5. Get Your Friends Involved

Make the birthday girl/boy feel extra special by doing prep work ahead. If it’s a 40th birthday party, gather a list of 40 attributes from your attendees that they love about the guest of honor share them at the party. Another idea is to have 40 balloons, each with a paper inside with one of the attributes written down. The honoree must pop each balloon to retrieve the sweet note. The balloons can double as decoration and entertainment.

6. Unlock Your inner Child

Often milestone birthdays make us feel old. A perfect way to counteract that feeling is by bringing back childhood. Make your inner child jump for joy with bounce houses, face painting, and kid games. You’ll be surprised at how well pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, cake walks, and piñatas age! If you’re entertaining both kids and adults, this type of party will please everyone. It could even offer some friendly competition. Who’s better at the kids’ games? Kids or adults?

7. Make a Dream Come True

Everyone’s got a bucket list. Maybe you could help your family or friend check one of theirs off the list before age starts to get in the way. Do they want to go sky diving? Ride a hot air balloon? Visit a new place? Instead of a local party, you might consider planning a destination party to make a travel dream of theirs come true.

Milestone parties can be a lot of fun, and they are the perfect way to honor someone you love on their landmark days. The most important thing to remember is to uniquely cater to your guest of honor. If you’re looking for a professional birthday event planner, we’d love to be your teammate in creating something magnificent.


Celebrate Milestone Birthdays in Style