Big birthday milestones deserve big birthday parties. Here are the best ideas for your next major birthday event

In our lives, we celebrate a lot of birthdays. While every birthday is an opportunity to gather loved ones and celebrate, some deserve a bit more flair than others. 

We’re talking milestone birthdays – you know, the big ones. The kind of birthdays that you just know you need to do something really special for. And if you’re the party planning type, you’ll probably want to plan a milestone birthday party, for yourself or someone else. 

From double-digit birthdays to 21st bashes to 40th celebrations and beyond (and everything in between), there are quite a few milestones that deserve way more than a slice of grocery store cake and a tone-deaf rendition of the birthday song.

If you’re in the midst of planning a special milestone birthday party, these ideas can help transform a regular gathering into a celebration for the ages (literally).

  • Double-digit birthday

For kids, turning 10 is a big deal. Something about seeing two numbers instead of one is really exciting! So make it all about the number, 10. Set out 10 cupcakes, 10 balloons, make pancakes in the shape of the number 10, or incorporate the number in as many different languages as possible into the décor. 

  • 13th birthday

Your baby is finally a teenager! This is a special birthday because 13-year-olds are very much still kids, but they also want to feel like grown-ups. Do something that celebrates both sides of that – maybe a hotel night stay where you decorate the room and watch movies. Maybe a pool party that they help you plan. Or perhaps, a camping night right in the backyard complete with a fire and s’mores. 

  • 16th birthday

Put the sweet in sweet sixteen by hosting the most sugary birthday party ever. Set out bowls of candy as place settings. Have an ice cream social or a cookie decorating party. If the guest of honor will soon be getting his/her driver’s license, have car-themed decorations. You always knew you’d repurpose that old Barbie/Hot Wheels car.

  • 18th birthday

Adulthood is a big milestone birthday. Go with the theme of adulthood when you plan this one. That could mean lottery tickets (or at least pretend ones) as party favors or going to register to vote and then celebrating afterward. Have mocktails and set out a guestbook where partygoers can leave advice on being a grown-up.

  • 21st birthday 

To those eager to hit the bars, 21 is a big, big age. And guess what? Even if you’re a parent throwing a 21st birthday for your son or daughter, the event can be surprisingly family-friendly. Go for booze-themed decorations (we love these beer pong cupcakes). Set up a photo booth with balloons and a decorative bottle of champagne as a prop. Give out fun party favors, like novelty shot glasses. Decorate empty bottles of alcohol with rhinestones and paint and use them as vases for the center of the table. Your new 21-year-old will probably want to go to the bar with their friends, but there’s no reason you can’t have a fun party at home, too.

  • 30th birthday

So many people dread turning 30 (it’s the end of your twenties!), so make this party a return to childhood. We’re talking unicorn-themed pool floats, piñatas, face painting, candy – maybe even a bouncy castle or at least a trampoline. You could also acknowledge the end of an era with a going-out-of-your-twenties-in-style party. What better way to do just that than by hosting a 1920s- themed event complete with jazz, gold decorations, and a flapper-inspired dress code?

  • 40th birthday

The key here is to avoid any over-the-hill jokes. Make this party a tribute to the guest of honor’s life so far instead by setting aside plenty of time for toasts. Have a barbecue for this important milestone birthday if it’s summer, or if it’s cooler, consider an indoor event with live entertainment. 

  • 50th birthday

Nifty fifty! Make this milestone birthday a retro affair with an homage to the 1950s. Put on a playlist of Buddy Holly, decorate in the style of an old-fashioned soda shop, and have poodle skirts and leather jackets on hand for photos. Another option for this milestone birthday party is to have a Fabulous Fifty celebration. Think glamour for this one: gold, glitter, black-and-white photos, and “Old Hollywood” costumes.

  • 60th birthday (and beyond)

With each decade, the party should be more and more special. Focus these milestone birthdays on connecting with family and friends in order to celebrate the birthday boy or girl’s life. Look to personalized decorations – photos, letters, slideshows. These milestone birthdays can be as intimate as they are significant. 

Catering for milestone birthdays

TooJay’s Catering is here for you no matter what milestone birthday party is on the calendar next. We offer party platters for gatherings of all sizes, plus a wide range of desserts including chocolate cake, carrot cake, cookies, and eclairs. Contact our catering team to get started planning your milestone birthday party.