Hosting a birthday party doesn’t mean you need to hire an expensive caterer or rent a lavish banquet hall. Instead, create an intimate atmosphere that gives your guests a chance to mingle. Proper planning will prevent a lot of stress on the day of the party. A well-planned yet simple birthday party allows you to focus on enjoying yourself and making the guest of honor feel special. If you’re relaxed, your guests will follow suit.
Choose a Party Theme
Pick an overall theme for the party that extends from the invitations to the decorations. The guest of honor’s age often makes a simple theme for the party. Subtly include the theme throughout various aspects of the party. For example, offer hors d’oeuvres with toothpicks that contain flags with the person’s age on them. Other simple themes include a monogram of the guest of honor’s initials or favorite leisure time activity.
Serve Elegant Food
The food often sets the tone for the entire party. Instead of serving a full dinner, offer finger foods that your guests can snack on throughout the party. Make the food part of the decorative atmosphere. Focus on the presentation of the food and offer simple foods served in an elegant manner. For example, instead of using plastic cups, provide soda in glass bottles. Serve miniature salads in martini glasses or Chinese chicken salad in mini takeout boxes. Even miniature hamburgers look elegant when you serve them from modern white platters with toothpicks.
Skip the balloons or streamers and stick to simple decorations. Choose a color theme and reflect those colors in the food, cake and decorations. Decorate with fresh flowers in clear vases. Choose lighting that highlights your room or outdoor area. Candles, lanterns or white Christmas lights add a touch of class. For a personalized touch, rent a projector and display the guest of honor’s initials on the floor or wall. Black and white photos of the guest of honor also add to the party.
Make the Cake a Centerpiece
Keep the birthday cake in line with your theme and decorations. A simple cake that reflects the birthday guest’s personality provides a warm sentiment. If you want to skip the cake cutting, serve gourmet cupcakes as an alternative to a traditional birthday cake. You can also serve individually sized mini cakes made in mason jars. Offer several different flavors with different types of frosting so that you’ll be sure to have something that pleases everyone.
References & Resources
Emily Post: Party Etiquette Tips for Hosts and Guests
Punchbowl: Birthday Gifts That Give Back
Hostess With the Mostess: Adult Birthday Party
Martha Stewart: Party Themes and Ideas
Food Network: Dressing Up Your Food: Cake in a Jar
100 Layer Cake: 40th Birthday Party in New York