Friday, April 5, 2013

Birthday Party Celebrating the Decades



Photo via 123Greetings.com
What better cause for celebration than a girlfriend’s birthday? Many of you have written that you are hosting a birthday party for a special friend, and you’re seeking ideas that help you honor the unique and cherished person that she is. Well, go ahead and plan that party, because I am here to help you commemorate the occasion–whether she’s turning 30, 40, 50, 60 or 70 and beyond. If you need ideas and inspiration, this girlfriend decade party will help you create a “friendulous” birthday filled with fabulous memories.


Setting and setup:

Sometimes the simplest location can create an atmosphere for the best party. If you live in a warm area, plan to have the party outdoors on a deck or patio. Decorate with tabletop candles, strings of mini lanterns or lights, and pretty tablecloths. Tie a few balloons around the area for a little festivity. Do make sure lighting is adequate: if not, you may want to move the party indoors. It is always more charming to actually see the person you are talking to (and the food you are eating). Stick to the basics–a clean area and great lighting–and a wonderful party will follow. Your friends won’t remember if your tablecloth was from Bloomingdales or T.J Maxx, but the memory of having a good time is what will stay in their hearts and minds.

Cute decorating ideas: 
Here are a few ideas for unique tabletop decorations.

  • Try a photo sculpture of your girlfriend (from zazzle.com). You can easily try this knock-off version from home if you are pinching pennies. Take a favorite photo to the photo copier/printer store, one such as OfficeMax or FedEx Office. A photo that shows the entire length of the person from head to feet works best. Ask them to enlarge the photo on a color copier to the size you are looking for. Cut out the photo so that just the person is showing, no background images. Glue person to cardboard and trim. Add a small triangular piece of cardboard to the back with glue to create a stand. Voila! You have the perfect decoration, the guest of honor.
  • For a really big statement, you can purchase life size cut-outs. These are a little expensive, but make for great photo ops. Snap a polaroid picture of each guest with the real birthday girl and the fake birthday girl at the same time. Leave the polaroids on a small decorative tray as a conversation starter. You may also want to snap the same pose with your digital camera, and give the pictures to the guest of honor after the party. She can use them to enclose in thank-you cards, or as remembrances of her birthday bash.
  • If you are looking for a more nostalgic touch, try having some decade-relevant toys on hand to spark memories and lots of conversation. Some relatively inexpensive, popular toys by decade are: 1930s-comic books and jacks, 1940s-dominos and marbles, 1950s-silly putty and hula hoops, 1960s-slinkys and yoyos, and 1970s-Uno and Rubiks cube. You get the idea! Your guests will undeniably want to play with these treasures, leading to lots of laughs.

Invitations:

Nowadays it’s pretty simple to find a cute, girly birthday invitation at your local party store. Evite is a great backup source if life gets in the way of your good intentions. If you are looking to be a little more creative, try helium balloons as invitations. Use your friend’s favorite color for the balloons, or, if she’s having a 50th birthday try gold to signify her golden years. Silver for a 60th birthday to signify the silver years.Balloons are a great way to set the tone for such a festive occasion. You can do this one of two ways: Using a permanent marker, write on one side, “Let’s celebrate Julia’s 40th!” On the other side, write details like, “Join us Sat., Aug. 4th, 7p.m., 229 Plum St., r.s.v.p. 615-123-4567.”  If you are having a surprise party, don’t forget to include that in the invitation. Or, instead of writing on the balloon itself, simply attach an invitation to the string of the balloon.Tie each balloon with a long string or ribbon and deliver in person to the invitees. Or, deliver in large, girly hatboxes from the local craft store and let them float up when the box is opened. If the invitee is not home, don’t forget to secure the balloon well by tying it around a door handle or chair. Just make sure there are no sharp objects around it!


Photo via Mollie Cochrane (Family member)
Food & Drink:

Since your party is all about your girlfriend, serve only her favorite appetizers, desserts and drinks. Consider adding popular foods from the specific decade in which she was born. Here is a food timeline that has popular menus and food ideas from the 1910s to the 1980s. A fun, reminiscent touch would be to have a candy buffet full of candy from the decade of her birth or childhood–this is sure to spark some memories. Here is a list of popular candies from the 1950s to 1980s.



Don't forget the cake! Make sure it represents the guest of honor. Weather by the decade or something special to her! (i.e. if born in the 80's try a Rubik's Cube Cake.)  Candles can create a waxy mess on the beautiful cake and a lot of smoke after they’ve been blown out. Try one of these fun singing birthday candles! If you’re in a pinch for time or don't have a budget for a custom cake, ask a guest to bake a favorite cake or brownie to bring to the party.



A non-fat alternative to the birthday cake is a beautifully arranged flower cake. For a whimsical touch, try the birthday hat bouquet. This is a great idea if the birthday girl wants to blow out the candles without the extra calories. Not only will it make a gorgeous centerpiece but it will be a nice gift for the birthday girl to take home.



A short toast to the guest of honor is definitely a must. Make your toast simple and from the heart. If you’re at a loss for words, you might try something like this:



“Let’s raise our glasses today

to celebrate

in a very special way

one of the very best things

that happened in 19__,

[your friends name].”



Connecting Activities:

Decade Trivia – You can easily make up trivia questions or a list of decade -relevant fun facts. Use thepeoplehistory.com or wikipedia to gather your facts. It’s fun to see which guest can get the most trivia questions correct. Just talking about the trivia and fun facts can lead your guests into sentimental discussions of the way things used to be.



About Her Trivia -  Give the guest of honor a list of personal interview questions to complete, and hide the answers from the other guests. Ask the party guests to answer the questions on their own sheets of paper. Then, have the birthday girl read her answers. The person with the most correct answers wins the game. It’s fun for your guests to learn things about their girlfriend that they never knew. Interview questions might include: What color are her eyes?, What was her first job?, What is the most unlikely job she’s held?, Where is the favorite place she’s lived or traveled?, What was the first car she drove?, What was the first job she held?, When did she first kiss a boy? What color was her prom dress?, What is her favorite snack food?, What is her favorite color?, She was voted “most” what in high school?, What is one thing she hopes to accomplish in the future?, What famous person would she most like to meet?, or What did she want to be when she grew up?



She Takes the Cake Stand – Ask your guests to write some words of wisdom on a glass cake stand. Make it interesting by asking for words of advice that the birthday girl has given to them, or by asking them to share their wishes for the future for her. Using different-colored, permanent, non-toxic glass markers from the local craft store (here is an example), you can give your girlfriend a unique serving piece by which to remember her special day from years to come.

Rockin' Guest Book- Find an album from the decade and have guest sign the cover with birthday wishes for the guest of honor



Gifts and Favors:

Want a meaningful birthday gift that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? Prior to the party, ask each guest to choose a song that reminds them about the birthday girl, or a song that they’d like to dedicate to her, or just a fun song they can share together. Burn a CD containing the selected songs. If the guest list is small, add a song for every decade of her life on the disc. You can play this at the party, give to each of your guests as a party favor, and give this to your girlfriend as a way to invoke memories of a fun-filled day with those who mean the most to her. Another gift idea is this wooden keepsake box from VoiceQuilt.com filled with sound of special friends to touch the heart. If you are in search of a group gift idea, look no further. This beautiful box can be filled with the voices of everyone’s heartfelt greetings, memories and tributes. She will savor the memories each time she listens to this one-of-a-kind gift.



Gathering with your friends to celebrate an important birthday is a great way to make a special girlfriend feel supported and cared for. Even if it’s last-minute, with no elaborate planning involved, it will help her feel appreciated. 

This party idea will work for both your male friends and girlfriends alike! So “cheers” to your very special birthday party! 
Angee

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